The bible tells us to forgive our enemies. Yet how do we do that? How does one forgive the unforgivable? It is easy to hold on to our hurt and anger when someone does us wrong. It becomes like an old friend that wraps us up in a robe of superiority. We are obviously better than the other. Never would we do, think or behave that way.
Yet we are commanded to forgive.
“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:31 ESV
And we are told how to forgive:
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. “
Romans 12:17-21 ESV
In sobriety, it is especially important to learn to forgive. We are a selfish lot and tend to hold on to things with justifiable zeal and anger. Before it was an excuse and a reason to indulge in our addictions. Some of us like to relish the wrong and find it garners attention. Yet, holding onto that wrong shuts us off from the sunlight of the spirit.
“When we forgive, we surrender the burden of hurts and resentment that so easily weigh us down and keep us from living a full and joyful life.” – Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Sometimes when we forgive the other person may not even know we have done so. It is not always verbal “I’m sorry” that we say to the other person. Nor do we always receive forgiveness from that party. Sometimes forgiveness is internal and silent, yet is still just as effective. When we let go of all that energy we become free.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St Francis of Assisi