I have spent too many years of my life holding grudges against people for things they did “to me” or things they didn’t do that I thought they should. The deeper the grudge, the more difficult the relationship was for me to deal with. This baggage piled high on my shoulders and weighed me down. I carried a deep, internal anger that formed a wall around my heart to protect me from further hurt. But all that did was hurt myself and further strain my relationships with these people.
Sometimes forgiveness comes easy - if the transgression was not that big, we might quickly forgive and move on. But if, in our eyes, the transgression was a big one, it becomes more difficult to let go and look beyond the hurt. For these situations, I call on God to help me release the anger and let go of the grudge. I ask Him to help me see what I need to learn from the situation and from the other person. I ask Him to help me see what they are reflecting back to me - which part of my shadow has been triggered? Often what irritates us most about other people is a reflection of something about our self. I ask Him to help me see the good in the situation and in the other person. I ask Him to help me forgive.
I too have done things to hurt other people, we all have. And I have been forgiven. I start anew with God everyday. He does not hold grudges against me. As we want to be forgiven for our transgressions, we choose to forgive others for theirs. When we forgive, we don’t fixate on that one instance, or on their behavior. We look beyond the behavior and choose to see the whole person as they really are. We realize that we don’t know anything about their circumstances or what they are dealing with in that moment. We extend compassion for the human spirit that they are and we understand that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Not a single one of us is perfect. We extend them grace for the error. We understand that God loves them and forgives them, just as He loves and forgives us.
Each time we choose forgiveness, we are choosing love over fear and anger, which creates space for a miracle to occur. We can transform our relationships in an instant when we choose to see the person not through our clouded eyes, but through God’s loving eyes instead.