Forgive to Live
I can understand why people say that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
A few months ago, I made a conscious decision to forgive some people that caused me the most pain I have ever felt. Their negligence would lead to my many years of grief and unbearable sadness.
I hated these people. I wanted them to suffer as I suffered, and feel what it was like to lose those most important to them.
But God told me it was time to forgive. I called this person up, told them how much I had hated them and their loved ones. Strangely enough, I found myself not fully expressing the depth of my pain because I wanted to shield them from guilt. What this person did not know is I had lived the last several years in so much pain, I wanted to end my own life several times. I was depressed, traumatized, and anxious all of the time. I had panic attacks while at home and while driving. I had night terrors and couldn’t sleep. I felt empty inside. I was sad and angry. My relationships suffered as a result.
While I could not control the previously mentioned things, I could control the bitterness my heart began to experience. But I didn’t. And being bitter just made me angrier and angrier. The thing is, I was only hurting me. I would comfort eat or slam my head on things and punch myself. I went down a path of self-destruction and burned everything in my way.
But surprisingly, as I talked with this person, they were living their best life. Sure, they had normal struggles here and there, but nothing too bad. Even when I told them a little bit about how hard it was for me, they seemed unbothered and not able to fully grasp what my life was like. The laxer they seemed, the angrier it made me.
That was when I realized that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.
In certain circumstances, it is not safe (physically or emotionally) to reach out to a person who hurt you and forgive them. Sometimes it is just a letter that you write and don’t mail. Other times it is a prayer. Whatever medium, forgiveness will restore you. It truly is not about the other person. Chances are they are unfazed, even if they hurt you intentionally.