Opening Your Eyes to Unconditional Love
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Often, the pain in our relationships with others come from the compounding effect of grievances we are unable to forgive and forget.
Our loved ones, whether friends or family members, will hurt our feelings, because only those we allow to get close to us ever find themselves inside our emotional defenses, where they can hurt us. Everyone else is outside our emotional boundaries, and cannot really deeply hurt our feelings.
Having close relationships necessarily entails some degree of emotional risk. Therefore, we reasonably should expect those close to us to hurt our feelings from time to time.
When this happens, whether or not the other person apologizes and makes amends (which they absolutely should do, every time), we owe a duty to ourselves to forgive the other person and forget the offense. If we do not forgive and forget, we will continue to ruminate on the emotional injury, prolonging and deepening the pain. This makes an injury worse — like picking a scab, never letting it heal, and causing scarring.
Additionally, when one fails to forgive and forget, the next time the same person hurts their feelings — especially if they repeat past patterns of hurtful speech or behavior — they will feel even more hurt than they would have if they had forgiven and forgotten the first offense. Unhealed injuries have a compounding effect.
Of course, our loved ones should not hurt our feelings. Rarely do people intentionally hurt those they love. When one fails to forgive and forget, however, they hurt themselves and they damage their relationships with others.
Forgiveness is an act of self-love as much as it is an act of love for others. Forgiveness heals us, repairs our relationships with others, and is even required to protect our relationship with God. (See Matthew 6:14–15)
Remember the forgiveness God has shown you, and heed His call to forgive others as He has forgiven and forgotten your sins.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
© 2021 Noel Bagwell. All Right Reserved.