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Cutting Yourself with Unforgiveness

The man’s anger burned against his sister. He could feel it all throughout his body. Every time he saw her enjoying herself his chest would tighten at her good fortune. His face would scrunch up ever so subtly. Sometimes there’d be a less subtle eye roll. Whenever he heard her voice, he’d feel the anger flow up his neck causing the hairs on the back of his head to prick and his face to flush. All of his friends thought her voice was beautiful, but to him it was like the squeal on a chalkboard or the annoyance of a child’s whine. He found nothing good in it. And he couldn’t stop thinking about what she had done. He had every right to be angry. She had harmed him and his reputation with her lack of consideration. “How can I get her back, how can I harm her,” he thought to himself. In a stroke of what he thought was genius, he decided to cut himself with a jagged knife everyday. “She’ll feel horrible,” he thought to himself. But she never did. In fact, she never even noticed. He had taken great efforts to avoid the sight of her so she never even knew. In the one moment that she had suspected his self-inflicted harm, she felt pity for him and prayed. The only effect his daily behavior had was to cause him more pain, and to remind him of how he had been harmed. Even in moments when he wasn’t consciously thinking about his sister, he now felt pain.

This is what unforgiveness is like. When a person chooses the path of unforgiveness, he or she chooses self-harm, mental anguish, and a lack of peace. For a human being there is very little good that comes from unforgiveness. Forgiveness, however, is liberating. It may not rid you of the pain of the original offense, but it will rid you of the ongoing pain and mental anguish that results from obsession with another person’s wrongs. Here are some ways that forgiveness is better for you than unforgiveness:

It May Cause a Change in the Other Person: Romans 12:20-21 tells us to overcome evil with good, and that being kind to our enemies will heap burning coals on their heads. Perhaps, they’ll be motivated to change.

It Is Glorious: Proverbs 19:11 says that forgiveness is good sense, and a kind of glory.

It Puts us In a Better Standing with God: Matthew 6:14-15 tells us that God rewards those who forgive, and denies those who don’t.

It Makes us More like Jesus: 1 John 2:6 says that if we are Christian, we are to walk like Jesus. And Romans 5:8 says that while we were still harming God’s honor, that he died to make a way for us to be forgiven.

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