Microsoft Word tells me “unforgiveness” is not a word, but if you’ve experienced it—and we probably all have—you know it’s real. It’s that feeling in your gut that you just can’t let something go, can’t let someone off the hook, or can’t see that someone without a knot in your stomach or a lump in your throat. The physical and emotional symptoms are so strong, how can this NOT be a word!
Acknowledged or not, there’s no doubt in my mind—unforgiveness can destroy your marriage. It might only manifest as light resentment at first, just a little feeling that you deserve better than what you have right now. But then it begins to permeate every thought and eventually effects your actions.
Or it might be the result of an unresolved topic/issue/disagreement/fight in your marriage—that one thing you just can’t agree on. Frustrated because you can’t wrap it up in a neat little package, you walk away wondering what you ever saw in him/her.
Or it’s the result of tremendous hurt from things your spouse has done or left undone. These are often the worst or at least the most painful.
But holding onto unforgiveness does not heal; it does not resolve; it generally doesn’t even make you feel better…at least not for the long term. I heard once that unforgiveness is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die. It is so true. Unforgiveness really only hurts you.
I wrote last week about reconciliation—and how we are forgiven through Christ—and truly that’s the only way I’ve been able to get over unforgiveness in my heart, to remember what’s already been done for me.
Forgiving is usually not easy. It doesn’t just happen. It’s a choice of the will. You choose to forgive. Even when it hurts. Choose to pour out the bottle of poison so you can be free of the bitterness that will otherwise destroy your heart. Choose to loosen your grip on the “right” to hold a grudge. Trust me, there’s freedom there.
Even when we forgive, we don’t always “forget” – but that’s not really the point. When memories of the pain and hurt return, it’s a choice to forgive all over again.
What do you think? Which is worse—forgiveness or unforgiveness?
Photo credit: © Adam Borkowski – Fotolia.com