Can You Forgive the Past?

We live in a very angry world. It seems like every day you will see something on the news about a group protesting some injustice or about a crime being committed with some past event as an excuse. Or, I'll be counseling someone and they'll spend all their time talking about all the wrongs they have suffered in their lives--how one person did this and another person did that.

People, if any of this sounds like part of your world, then I have one word for you: FORGIVENESS!

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, but very misunderstood.

Most people think of forgiveness as something you do for other people, but in reality, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself! The surest way to rob yourself of a bright future is to spend too much time dwelling in the past. Re-living past wrongs and letting them poison your present will eliminate any hope you may have for tomorrow.

You can tell me that this person is a villain and they did this. You can tell me those people did that. Guess what, it is done and it can never be changed. I'm not saying what happened was right. I'm not saying you didn't have a right to get upset.

What I am telling you is that the only person getting hurt when you hold a grudge is you. The only person losing anything from your hate is you.

Do you really believe they care that you are upset? Do really think anyone is losing sleep over your anger besides you? No, they're not. Odds are, they couldn't care less. They will just keep on shuffling through life like you never existed, while you will be wallowing in your own misery and struggling with a darkened heart.

That is why you have got to learn to forgive and move on with your life. When you do, you will lighten your own burden and leave yourself free to enjoy today.

Did you know that the concept of forgiveness mentioned in the Bible is "seventy times seven", or 490 times?

Did you know that a Harvard research study found ties between the capacity to forgive with better sleep, lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and reduced stress?

Those are two pretty impressive sources telling you how important a subject this is.

You want to see a brighter day? Learn to forgive. You want to feel healthier? Learn to forgive.

My challenge for you this week:

Engage in the process of forgiveness.

  • Ask yourself who are you allowing to darken your life and rob you of your joy?

  • List the names of these individuals.

  • What experience with them prompted your disappointment, anger, or fear toward them?

  • Write the word "forgiven" by each person's name.

  • Pledge to forgive them and be proud of your growth.

Yes, you can forgive the past! As a result, you will be able to look forward to a bright future!

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