Why Should I Forgive?
Q: Whether or not the person who hurt me deserves to be forgiven by me, or whether or not I really should forgive them, honestly, I don’t even think about those kinds of questions. I have moved on. I am able to be a successful person in life without forgiving this certain person. It hasn’t affected me. So, if not forgiving doesn’t seem to be an obstacle to me, why should I forgive?
A: Simple: your refusal to forgive is an obstacle and you don’t know it. You don’t know it because you haven’t yet experienced the difference between being released of the weight of resentment you are committed to carrying around, and what it feels like to be freed from that burden.
What I am conveying to you here is what I have read from multiple sources over the years, I have heard it directly from readers and people I personally know, and I have certainly experienced it for myself.
To refuse to forgive is equal to holding on to something; a refusal to let go of a heavy weight of negativity from something in the past; a choice to carry a burden from the past into the present and future. It is only when you forgive that you are truly leaving the past in the past.
Forgiving is more about releasing yourself of a burden of resentment than releasing the other person from anything. That’s a tremendous difference.
Is it easier to walk farther and faster with a heavy weight on your back, or with no weight at all? Will your car get better mileage with a thousand pounds of rocks in the trunk, or without? Will a plane fly further when it is weighed down with cargo and passengers, or when it has a lighter load?
So, why should you forgive? To forgive is to choose to no longer be weighed down by the negativity and pain and anxiety of that certain person and what they did, or failed to do, that caused you such pain and/or deep disappointment. To forgive (to no longer hold the offense against another) is to truly move on.
Here’s a fact almost everyone living in a state of unforgiveness toward another person refuses to admit: no one is as bad as the worst thing they have done (including the person you insist upon not forgiving). And no one is as good as the best thing they have done (and that includes you, too).
Whether we accept it or not, choosing not to forgive the other person is more of a hindrance to you than you think. And more likely than not, if they know what they did to hurt you, they deeply regret what they did. Perhaps they have even apologized and expressed hope that you might forgive them. In doing so, they’re saying they are moving on and they are hoping you choose to do the same. When you choose not to forgive, you are opting not to move on… and that’s an obstacle!