The act of forgiveness is always difficult. Forgiveness is difficult not only for us, Christians but also for those who belong to other religious sects. Forgiveness is difficult for us not only because of our religion or culture. The difficulty of forgiveness is our inheritance as human beings. Everybody finds it hard to forgive.
The difficulty in forgiving involves not merely the moral question but the psychological aspect as well. Forgiveness is actually a decision of the will, of the mind. It says, “I will not allow the hurts, the pains, or the actions of other people to color my relationship in the future.” It is a decision of the will. It is an act of the intellect to decide, “I will forgive.”
Unfortunately, emotions cannot catch up with the intellect. Herein lies the difficulty. We may have forgiven in our minds, but our feelings may not have done likewise. Our feelings can not forgive. Although our intellect says, “I have forgiven,” the heart says, “No, I have not yet forgiven.'” Therein lies the difficulty. We have forgiven with our head but our heart acts up and says, “Not yet.”
It is the nature of emotions to be very slow. We can decide instantly but our feelings take time to be conquered. Faced with the fact that it is difficult to forgive because our emotions cannot catch up with our decisions, the only thing we have to keep in mind is this: When we refuse to forgive, the first victim of unforgiveness is not the one seeking forgiveness, but we who deny forgiveness.
We are the first victims of unforgiveness because one consequence of unforgiveness is high blood pressure. Unforgiveness results in the development of ulcers, or in ill health Who would like to have ulcers? Who would like to have a stroke? Who would like to suffer from high blood pressure? No one likes all these, yet no one is always ready to forgive. The first victim of a hard heart is yourself. When you refuse to forgive, you punish yourself more than the other person.
Let us ask the Lord to make our head and our heart one. Our minds forgave a thousand times in the past, but, unfortunately, our hearts did not catch up. Our minds make the decision, yet the emotions and the feelings are still there. Hurt feelings persist. Let us ask the Lord not only for the grace to forgive but for the grace to have a heart that truly forgives. May our head and our heart be one in forgiveness.
IT IS HARD TO FORGIVE
Only Jesus, Always Jesus