Few things drain your energy or steal your joy like refusing to
forgive someone who has done you wrong. Whether it is a backstabbing
co-worker, an irresponsible family member or the rude driver who cut
you off in traffic this morning, it is critical to your well-being that
you not hold on to grudges and anger. When you do, it drains your
energy, increases your stress level, and diminishes the quality of your
everyday life. You can hold on to a grudge and the other person has no
idea that you're upset with them. Don't allow space in your mind for
grudges. You have too many other important things in your life and you
need your positive energy!
You might not have even noticed some of the grudges you are
holding, but this week, I challenge you to make a list. Write down all
of things you are holding a grudge against others for and a list of the
people you need to forgive. Then one by one, make a decision to
forgive. Make a phone call, write a letter, send an email or have a
conversation if you need to. But make a choice to cleanse your mind and
spirit of the poison that springs from an unforgiving heart. How?
Consider these four principles to help you let go of grudges and
1. RECOGNIZE THAT "HURTING PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE".
Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, I wrote a chapter titled "Seek to understand
rather than judge." Essentially, it means that everyone does things for
a reason. They may not be good reasons, but nonetheless they behave
(whether negatively or positively) based on their experiences.
Insecurity, anger, frustration, and jealousy are just a few of the
negative emotions that can be the root cause of people's negative
actions and words. It isn't an excuse for bad behavior, but it can help
you to not take people's offensive words or actions personally. Hurting
people hurt people. That rude boss, neighbor, relative or co-worker may
act as though nothing bothers them, but their hurt is obvious by how
they treat you and others.
2. HAVE MERCY.
People make mistakes. Some are
just plain ignorant. Others have never learned how to treat people
well. Have mercy on them. Pray for them. We have all done things that
hurt others or offended them, and God has mercy on us. We must do our
best to have that same kind of mercy on others.3. PRAY.
are times when you simply will not feel like forgiving someone. They
may have crossed the line in a major way. Perhaps they not only hurt
you, but those you love. I know from experience that it is possible to
forgive people who seem unforgivable. All things are possible with God.
The larger the offense, the more important it is to pray for your
ability to forgive.
You can pray a simple prayer such as this:
"Lord, I don't know how to forgive this person so I need your help.
Change my heart so that I can forgive. I can only do this through your
power and not in my own strength." Simply praying such a prayer will
begin to soften your heart and lift the weight of an unforgiving
attitude from your shoulders. When you are able to forgive after
praying, you will know that it was the power of the Holy Spirit making
an inward change in you.
4. LEARN THE LESSON.
Often, we go through
adversities and challenges to learn important lessons. If you find
yourself regularly being treated in a way that warrants forgiveness,
you must ask yourself, "Do I need to end this relationship or change
these circumstances?" Forgiving someone doesn't mean you allow them to
do the same thing over and over. It is possible to forgive someone, and
yet, move on from the relationship. It's all about the boundaries you
choose to set. Protect yourself from people and situations that are not
supportive, healthy or reciprocal. My challenge to you this week:
Forgive and let go of grudges! Then watch your energy level rise.