Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
— Colossians 3:13
I found it easy to forgive those who injured me growing up — childhood enemies, all part of a long-forgotten past. Many of those people hurt me badly. I can’t remember names or specific incidents, but the pain… Oh, the pain! Like scars that mark my body years later, long after the events that created them. The pain of abandonment, rejection, betrayal, infidelity and abuse still bring about a tightening in my chest that time won’t release. However, for the sake of personal comfort, to feel good about myself, I like to think my inability to attach a name and face to those responsible for my enduring pain is evidence that I no longer hold a grudge or have ill will towards anyone. I act as if I have forgiven all, but it is not necessarily so.
The pain and discomfort that continues to nag at my soul is not due to injuries in the past, but unforgiveness in the present. My disquieted soul, longing for respite, peace and calm, has come to know there is but one road to restoration of soul. Often unfair, one-sided, and rarely returned is forgiveness. Along this road, I have learned that getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words rarely happens and isn’t the point of forgiveness anyway. Today, I think of forgiveness in terms of how it can change my attitude, my perspective, my life. By bringing peace and happiness, as well as emotional and spiritual healing, forgiveness takes away the power that the offender or offense wields over my life, bringing harmony and accord. It feels good.