Has anyone ever burned you so badly that you don’t even want to look at their face? Like, EVER again? For years, I’ve tried to fight my “unforgiving” nature. I truly want to learn to turn the other cheek. and to “forgive” my enemies. Then, I realized that forgiveness doesn’t mean that I forget what that person has done or give them the chance to do it again. I can learn to not hate that person, to not wish them ill and to move on without being best friends or having them in my life. As one of my pastors used to say, “You can forgive them and not want to go on vacation with them – ever.”
I Don’t Hate You, I Just Wish Your Next Period Would Happen in a Shark Tank
When someone hurts us, it is natural that we want to see poetic justice play out. There is a country music song by Jaron and the Long Road. The lyrics go:
Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn Let the good Lord do His job and you just pray for them I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls I pray all your dreams never come true Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you.
While these feelings of wanting to see evil people get their comeuppance are natural, there comes a point where we must move past them or the anger begins to eat at us. At that point, your anger is no longer justified and guess who it hurts the most? Yep – you.
There is something freeing about forgiving the other person. It frees the forgiver from the chains the other person has wrapped around them with words or actions. You don’t even have to speak to the other person to forgive, either. You just do it. Let it go. Move on. Live a happy life.
There is something almost eternal about hatred. When you are that angry with someone, the feelings rise from the dead quite easily. Someone mentions the person’s name, you hear something good happened to them (this is the opposite of what we really want, isn’t it?) or perhaps your own family members or friends seem to not even remember the horrible things they did.
Like a zombie, hate wants to chew on the flesh of the problem for a while. It wants to dredge back up that pain, that hurt and remember it in every vivid detail. It wants to devour every corner of your brain with the hatred. Fortunately, you can kill a zombie. You just have to know how to do it.
- Pray for the person – boy is this one hard to do. There have been times when I have said horrible prayers like “God, I know I am supposed to pray for my enemies, so I am going to pray for this person, but I want you to know that I don’t want to pray for this person and I really am trying to mean it, but I don’t.” C’mon. Don’t judge me. You know you’ve said the same prayer. However, as you continue to pray for them, you will feel an easing of your spirit and your prayers will become more sincere over time. You may never get to the point of asking for them to hit the lottery, but you will probably get to the point that you ask God to watch over them and work in their lives.
- Avoid the person – If you can’t control your hurt, then by all means avoid that person. If seeing that person is a trigger for you, stay away from the trigger. As I mentioned earlier, forgiveness doesn’t mean you suddenly have lunch every Friday with said pot stirrer.
- Do not talk bad about the person – It’s tempting isn’t it? I have a close friend who makes me laugh every time. I will say, “She is low.” My friend will say, “No, she’s worse than low, she is pond scum.” I’ll add that she is the creatures that feed on pond scum. We will go on until we get to the amoeba that feeds on whatever…. it’s funny to us anyway. But, it really isn’t the best use of my time and energy other than a one-time way to let off steam and feel better. After that, it is time to put it aside and focus on other things.
- Switch your thoughts – When you catch yourself thinking about this horrible, awful person, switch your thoughts. Think about someone kind. Someone who you’d like to emulate. Think about happy memories with GOOD friends and people who treat you right.
Ultimately, you may still want to punch that person in the face when you see him/her, but at least bitterness won’t eat you alive if you follow these tips.