It is an uncomfortable feeling. You are walking when you realize that you have something in the shoe you are wearing. In many cases, it may be a small rock or pebble that has found its way into your shoe. And while it may not be huge, it can cause you discomfort and affect your walk. Eventually, you have to sit down, take off your shoe, and remove whatever object is there. Otherwise, you will continue to be uncomfortable, and your walk will be affected.
There are times when something happens in our daily living, causing a relationship with another to be damaged. Something is said or not said, done or not done, that results in hurt feelings or anger. Someone has made us mad, and we cannot stop dwelling on it. Thus, like a small rock in our shoe, our inability to forgive and move on disrupts our lives, leaves us irritated and frustrated. Hence, each day we walk around miserable because of the past act, which has now turned into a grudge. A grudge is defined as “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” If you have ever carried a grudge around before, you know its impact on daily life.
The writer of the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament offers wise counsel with respect to grudges. In Proverbs 17: 9, we read, “One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.” As the writer suggests, we can easily dwell on actions in the past to the point that we grow more and more distant from our friends. Many individuals daily live with broken relationships because of an inability to forgive. And in many cases, this unforgiveness is a result of something relatively insignificant. Rather than letting go of the act, we allow it to fester in our lives to the point that we walk around angry and agitated. This can be a miserable way of living.
On the other hand, forgiveness can remove the power of an act to continue to agitate our living and, at the same time, strengthen our friendship with the person who has wronged us. It is impossible to live in relationships with others and not be hurt at different times. Even the best of us say and do things that bring hurt to others. Forgiveness is like removing that rock from our shoe and then moving forward to walk anew. It doesn’t mean we can completely forget what caused the hurt, but forgiveness allows us to let go so we do not continue to hurt. Likewise, forgiveness is rich soil for a friendship to grow again.
Life is too short to walk around limping in unforgiveness. Letting go and offering forgiveness to those who have wronged us sets us free to walk with a fresh new step and towards a brighter future for ourselves and our friend.