The question is, what can we do about it? How can we forgive these people and move on with our lives and be unaffected by them? I'm still a work in progress and I'm still trying to figure this out. Whenever I need inspiration or an answer lately, I've been less likely to look to friends for advice and more likely to look to the Bible. Let's face it, our friends love us and they are going to tell us we are perfect and it's always the other persons fault. If you want the absolute TRUTH though, you have got to get it from the WORD OF GOD. Period. So here is what God says about forgiveness:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
To me, that is very powerful. Think of all the things you have done in your life, you know, the things you wouldn't ever want anyone to find out about. The things that make you embarrassed to even think about. We've all been there. We've all made mistakes. When we hold on to the things others have done to us, we are giving them the power. The power to control our feelings and emotions. You think you're really getting them good by holding on to this resentment but you're really making yourself a prisoner. In the end, it's not really worth it. I have a hard time making the first move towards forgiveness but it is absolutely essential. I'm humbled every day as I have found myself praying for the people who have hurt me instead of praying that they would "get what they deserved"....It's not easy and I don't automatically get fuzzy feelings about these people when I encounter them, but it is important for my spiritual and mental health.
Here are some suggestions that may help you if you're struggling with this. First, seek God's WORD. Look up Bible verses that talk about forgiveness. You will be humbled. Trust me. I know this sounds kinda crazy but pray for them. Pray that they will be touched by God in a way that they are changed for the better. This is difficult to do and may seem impossible to you but it will help, promise. Another thing (and something I'm working on this week) is write a letter to someone who has really hurt you. Explain in detail what they did and why it hurt you. You'll probably get angry again, reliving the memories, and you may even find yourself crying. When you're done, tear it up, burn it, GET RID OF IT. I know it sounds weird but it actually does help. I've done it before and I'm going to keep doing it. The people in my life that are no longer in it were toxic for me so I see no need for reconciliation. I do want to move on with my life though and get rid of the bitterness I've clung to.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you allow yourself to be someone's door mat again. If anything, this will be the closure that you need FOR YOURSELF. It will also be a learning experience about being selective of the people that you want in your life. Remember, hurt people, hurt people. A lot of times it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own unhappiness. Be willing to admit your faults though and be humble enough to ask for forgiveness.
I'd love to hear your comments on how you have forgiven people who have hurt you. As I said, I'm a work in progress and I can always use some help along the way :)