PHOTO | TERESA QUEIRÓS HER WORK
Forgiveness always benefits you more than it benefits the person who hurt you. To forgive is to be free. If you don’t have it in you to be magnanimous, be selfish— forgive.
The day is perfect. The sun shines warmly, good things happen all around, yet in the midst of pure delight, you feel nothing but a sharp pain coming from a tiny splinter lodged in your finger. The dang splinter is nothing in the grand scheme of things, your friends are laughing, the sun is shining— what is a splinter in the light of life. But how can you enjoy life when the gnawing pain imbibes your focus?
Unforgiveness is a splinter in the soul. It doesn’t matter how insignificant the original offense was. Once the thing gets lodged inside of you, it produces a gnawing pain.
The pain from a splinter is not the issue. In fact, the pain is healthy. It alarms you that something is wrong. There is a foreign object stuck in your flesh, and you must drop everything to pull it out before it causes serious issues. The soul splinter is just the same. Offense gets lodged inside of your heart, and you must remove it before it causes further damage.
If you keep a serious splinter inside of your body long enough, the risk is gangrene; it becomes life-threatening. When unforgiveness is left inside of your heart, expect all sorts of havoc. It’s a deadlock that holds you to the past, you can’t move forward in the relationship with the person that caused the offense, and it takes a toll on other relationships as well. In your desire to seek revenge or to hold them hostage with your refusal to forgive, you destroy your present happiness to prove something to the past.
How do You Remove a Splinter?
It’s gonna hurt, baby. When removing a splinter, expect pain. But suck it up, deal with it, and as soon as the thing is out, you will forget it completely. The body has an astounding ability to forget even the severest of pain as soon as the issue is solved and healing sets into motion.
For sure, to forgive a person can hurt like hell, after all, the forces of hell are bent on keeping you in a state slavery to the past, to the pain. To attain and maintain freedom is a constant battle, never a resting place. You have to fight to free yourself from anything that gains mastery over you. The grudges hurts, and pains that you cling to, have direct mastery over you.
The only way to break the bond that ties you to the person who hurt you is to is to forgive them. You only need to do it one time, but at the moment you must forgive genuinely and completely. This action seems like benevolence towards another, but in reality, forgiveness benefits you more than it can ever benefit anyone else. When you forgive you free your own soul.
If you don’t have it in you to be magnanimous— be selfish! Drop everything and make things right for yourself. Call those who offended, write them, repent of your part, forgive them for their part, and feel the splinter no more.
As soon as the thing gets done, the healing process begins. Eventually, you will forget the pain. You will be able to laugh with your friends, and delight in the shining sun as if nothing ever happened.
Forgiveness Doesn’t Erase Responsibility
As a side note, forgiveness doesn’t wipe out consequences. Legal or financial responsibilities still lay on whoever wreaked havoc. But it’s so much more pleasant to take care of wretched business when you are emotionally free of pain, bitterness, and the maddening desire for revenge.