“Without forgiveness and love, you will live with resentment, bitterness, malice and strife which also brings pain. You can never love without forgiving. Forgiveness deepens your ability to love and frees you from pain.” Kemi Sogunle

Forgiveness is at the heart of our faith and is often an essential part of healing when there is brokenness. The centrality of forgiveness as a core practice of living a Christian life is made evident by Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Forgiveness has the power to create healing for both the person offering the forgiveness, as well as for the person who is being forgiven.

It has been said that holding on to resentment toward another is like swallowing poison and thinking it will somehow hurt the other person. Choosing not to forgive someone who has hurt us eventually poisons our own spiritual, emotional and even physical health.

It is particularly difficult when the person has never said that they are sorry, or have no idea of the pain they caused. Sometimes an apology or confession is never given. It is at these times that God hears the outpouring of our hearts. Sometimes we pray our way towards peace about a situation and God’s forgiveness heals us.

It is quite a burden to hold onto a hurt and resentment, and so when we are willing to offer forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, we are offering healing to both the other person and to ourselves, as well.

Is there someone in your life to whom you would like to offer forgiveness? Is there any hurt or resentment that you are holding on to that is negatively affecting your well-being? What step might you take to start the process of forgiveness and healing?

Linda Ashfield, minister at Knox Waterloo