I don’t know why or how we came to think this way, but there are many people who just can’t seem to let go of an unforgiving spirit! For some strange, sick and demented reason, they think that not forgiving another person actually has a detrimental effect on that person. They think that, by not forgiving that person, they exercise some sort of power or control over them. But the truth of the matter is this: Forgiveness is not really for the other person; forgiveness is for you! Let me show you what I’m talking about:
There are some people who use unforgiveness as a weapon. They actually think that by not forgiving the other person, they are actually hurting the other person! (If the other person is indeed hurt, it really not because of the un-forgiver’s unforgiveness, but rather because of how the unforgiven processes the situation in their mind. The only real power the un-forgiver has over the unforgiven is the power the unforgiven gives the un-forgiver!) Some people use unforgiveness as a means to attempt to keep the other person locked in a certain position or mental location. But think about this for a minute: The only way for a guard to guard a prisoner is for the guard to be constantly vigilant and diligent in watching the prisoner. Now in order to do this, the guard has to be, to a certain extent, locked up himself! Think about it for a moment! The prisoner can’t come and go as he pleases, but neither can the guard! Now this comparison does not stand on all fours, simply because when we are unforgiving toward another person, we only “think” we have them locked up; they are actually really free! We are the only ones in prison! They are free because the only place they are really imprisoned is within our minds! Did you know that there are some people who have not forgiven another person, but that other person is not even bothered by that fact! In some cases, they don’t even know about it! This is a twisted scene: You may be angry with your spouse or whoever, because of something they may have done. They have asked for your forgiveness but you refuse to forgive them! But your anger and your unforgiveness really hurts you more than it hurts them! Un-forgiveness and holding a grudge is like holding hot coals! You may be holding them against someone else, but the truth is; you are the only one getting burnt!
So it really doesn’t make sense to hold grudges and to have an unforgiving spirit! It’s really a form of suicide! Holding grudges and having an unforgiving spirit causes mental stress in your mind, spiritual stress in your soul and physical stress in your body! The medical field has confirmed it with numerous studies! Doctors say that many ulcers come, not from what we are eating, but rather from what is eating us! Aside from the religious and spiritual fact that we are commanded to forgive in order to be forgiven, doctors now confirm that holding grudges and being unforgiving for a prolonged period of time often lead to such maladies as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer!
Therefore, you ought to forgive because forgiveness is really not for the other person; forgiveness is for you! The next time you are in a situation where you are tempted to hold a grudge and be unforgiving, ask yourself the question: Is it really worth it? Is not forgiving this person worth a heart attack or a stroke? It is really worth injuring my relationship and fellowship with the God who has forgiven me? I don’t care what they did; let it go! When you let it go, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it just means you are wise! It means you have come to understand that at the root of the matter having an unforgiving spirit is not really worth it because forgiveness is really not for the other person; forgiveness is for you!