The Freedom of Forgiveness

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” - Mark 11:25  
 
When you carry unforgiveness, you are saying that the past is more important than the present. You are saying that the person you refuse to forgive is more important to you than yourself. You are also saying that the prison of the old trauma is more comfortable than the new possibilities you can access by letting things go—that the pain is more important than the growth, the lessons, or the healing that it brings.  
 
The truth of the matter is that there’s some pain we had to experience in order to learn the lessons that came as a result. We all have experienced some form of hurt and betrayal, but we must realize the valuable lessons these hard times teach us about life and about ourselves. Unforgiveness will imprison you, trap you in the past, and prevent you from being set free. But Paul says forgiveness sets us free.  
 
Do not let something that happened to you four or forty years ago still hold power over you in the present. Why should another person deny you of the peace God wants you to experience today? Sometimes you can think you’re making the other person pay for what they did by not forgiving them, when in actuality you oftentimes end up hurting yourself.
 
One writer said that “the world’s worst prison is the prison of an unforgiving heart.” When you try to make them suffer, you really end up making yourself suffer. Forgiving others is a way to bring freedom to your life by removing the burden that you are carrying around. Forgiveness is good for your own soul.
 
Unforgiveness will not only imprison you, but it also poisons you. All of the emotions and responses in our nervous system affects our organs, and when our bodies are in a constant state of stress, stress becomes like a poison in our lives.  
 
So rather than thinking of forgiveness in terms of releasing the other person of what they did, think of it instead in terms of releasing yourself from the other person. You are saying that you love yourself so much that you are allowing yourself another chance in life, another chance at love, another chance at friendships, another chance at a new career, and trusting and believing in yourself again. Today, you need to find freedom in forgiveness—not for the one who wronged you, but for yourself.
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