As Charles Stanley continues his discussion of bitterness in Chapter 7 of Emotions, he gives three reasons why people choose not to forgive others.
1. Unforgiveness creates a sense of control in a specific situation. In an effort to ensure our offender’s punishment, we hold onto our resentment and bitterness in the mistaken belief that our unforgiveness will hold the offender accountable for his/her actions. This is God’s responsibility, not ours.
2. We blame ourselves for what happened- whether or not we were at fault. In addition to blaming ourselves, our anger may frighten us or we may feel that our anger is an inappropriate response. We may deny our anger exists, inadvertently turning it inward.
3. We assert our “right” to be bitter. As a way to validate how the offense profoundly devastated us, we may feel that it’s necessary to repeatedly bring up that offense in our conversations, making sure others are aware of who is to blame for our situation.
Dr. Stanley concludes:
“You can stop the wound that person has inflicted from hurting you. As a child of God, you have the freedom and the ability to walk away from such a hurtful situation through forgiveness. So give the situation to the Father. Release the offender to the Lord and step out of the bondage.”
Today’s question: How difficult has it been for you to forgive those involved in your vocation loss? Which of the three reasons for unforgiveness best describes your response? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Four steps to forgiveness- Part 1”