Excerpt from Craig Hill’s Blog “The Unforgiveness Virus” published on August 20, 2013.
It’s much easier to talk about forgiveness than to do it; especially when you’ve been deeply hurt. But before you can truly forgive anyone, you must first understand what forgiveness is and what it is not.
Forgiveness is not forgetting, excusing, tolerating, overlooking, condoning or justifying the behavior of another.
Forgiveness is releasing a person from accountability for his wrongdoing, sin, mistake, failure or betrayal. It is allowing Jesus Christ to pay for the offender’s sin, rather than holding the offender accountable to pay for his own sin.
As natural human beings we feel justified in expecting people to pay a price for their sins. And that usually goes double for the one person whose behavior has been extremely hurtful to us personally.
But as believers, we know what the Bible says about forgiveness. So, in an attempt to obey the Word of God, many times we verbally speak words of forgiveness, but in reality we bury the real hurt deep in our hearts where it becomes a well of bitterness.
When we do this, that hurt is like a virus hiding within the hard drive of a computer. When the right buttons are pushed it takes control and destroys everything around it.
I’m sure you may be able to relate to what I am saying. When you were offended you may have said the words, “I forgive him.” But the next time you have seen the offender prospering, anger fills your heart and you think, “He got away with what he did to me with no punishment and no consequence,” and anger fills your heart. You then remember, “Oh yeah, I forgave him.” But the forgiveness has not truly happened in your heart. Or it may be that you were so deeply hurt that you could not even say the words “I forgive him.”
In either case, it’s important for you to understand that the unforgiveness you retain in your heart is far more destructive to you than to the one who hurt you.
I’m not going to put a superficial band aid over these deep wounds by trying to convince you to forgive those who have hurt you. It wouldn’t work, and even if it did, it would be temporary at best.
However, we deal with this issue in depth in our Empowering Relationships, Overcoming Anger, and Ancient Paths seminars. There, we can walk you through a process that will result in actual healing of the wound and freedom from the anger and bitterness in your heart toward the offender. If you’ll take the time to attend, I guarantee it will change your life! You can find a seminar near you by clicking on the “Locate an Event” button on the website.
About the Author
Having a specific interest in ministering to marriages and families, Craig Hill pursued an internship and later a volunteer staff position at the New Life Counseling Center in Denver. He subsequently taught counseling and missions on the faculty of the Marilyn Hickey Bible College. In 1987, the Lord raised up Craig as Senior Pastor of a local church where he and Jan served for seven and a half years, until he was called by God to devote his full-time energy to the ministry of Family Foundations International.