Getting On Down the Road
Forgiveness Springs - Part 2

If you choose not to forgive, rest assured . . . there will be consequences.

There is never any question about whether or not others will hurt you in this life. They will, indeed. And initially that hurt usually comes from the ones who raise you; there are no perfect parents (articles and books on “The Myth of the Perfect Parent” abound).

Nevertheless, there comes a time when you must choose whether or not you want to live in anger and resentment (resentment is defined in 12 step groups as “drinking poison and watching for the other person to die”) the rest of your life, looking for ways to call the offender(s) “on the carpet,” and having them punished to the full extent that emotional law and order will allow.

Or . . . set aside your heavy load of pain, and “let go” of your right to personal retribution and justice.

Forgiveness is the way we get on down the road (so to speak). It is the key to being “happy, joyous, and free” in spite of your situation.

And if you choose not to exercise your ability to forgive, so as to punish the offending party, or you wait until an apology is forthcoming before you do, you will not only have to bear the pain you were dealt, you will also have to bear the pain that results from not releasing your vengeance.

It is a metastasizing cancer with no equal. It takes prisoners, and their prognosis is terminal. There are no survivors.

But let’s be truthful. It is a process.

If you were abused as a child you carry inside of you the effects of that trauma; nothing can erase what has happened to you. As they say in 12 Steps, “you must relinquish all hope of ever changing the past.” As you get better you can “reframe” your abuse, or see it with an adult mind rather than a child’s emotions. This takes lots of work.

But what were you planning on doing anyway? This is your life. You play with the cards you were dealt; we all do.

Whether you experienced a situation with criminal ramifications (e.g. sexual abuse), or a myriad of other dysfunctional family effects, you will still have to decide whether or not to forgive. As angry and irritated as it may make you feel, and as unjust and unfair as it may in fact be, the following appears to be a law of human nature:

  • No forgiveness = Perpetual and Lasting Misery
  • Forgiveness = The Opportunity for Freedom and Life

This is not a setup; you can actually make a choice.

Choosing to forgive is not a piece of cake. But neither is vengeance.

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