Stephanie Salisbury: Resentment forms a trapPublished 8:18pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Being trapped is a fearful event. No matter which way you turn, you’re locked down, unable to break free. Your mind forces you to do desperate, panicky things in an effort to pull yourself to safety and, when you’re finally on the other side, a relief floods you like a rainstorm after a drought.
Resentment forms one of these traps. Our hearts are consumed with revenge, the desire to hurt someone the way they have hurt us physically or emotionally. Our minds revolve around what was done to us — betrayal, abuse, prejudice, theft, deceit — and we get locked down not by their act, but by what we continue to do to ourselves.
There is an impossible-to-lose key that each of us holds inside. Sometimes we cannot bring ourselves to use the very key that will free us from this trap, but all it takes is practice. We must learn to forgive. Though it’s much more easily said than done, it can be accomplished if we learn what true forgiveness is and is not. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we become best friends with our betrayer. It does not mean we must pretend nothing ever happened.
Jesus did not ignore the fact that he was being tortured and murdered when he said, “Forgive them, father, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Forgiveness is not to forget the crime, but to waive the penalty. It is to give grace to someone who might not have asked for it and probably doesn’t deserve it. It is precisely what God did for us when he sent his son.
Forgiveness releases us from a trap that threatens to dry up the love in our hearts, and rains of relief will follow.
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