Forgiveness is necessary so we don’t spill our anger onto others. Though we may think we can control it, anger affects every aspect of our lives. And the person holding the unforgiveness hurts the most.
Forgiveness or Anger?
I walked down the hall at high school chatting with a colleague about homecoming plans.
Kate (an assumed name) winced. “It seems there’s no time to teach. Then we’re judged by the results of state tests. I’m about fed up with the whole mess.”
We both turned as a student yelled across the crowded hallway. “Mrs. Baker, I need to talk to you.”
She stopped in front of us and bit her lip. “Mrs. Baker. I came to apologize. I’m won’t be able to get my project in on time. You know— with homecoming and all.”
Kate’s expression turned cold and her nostrils flared. Her clipped words rose above the noise surrounding us. “Hannah, what have you been doing for the past month. You’ve known about this assignment. I think you need to plan better.”
Hannah stepped back as color drained from her face. “I-I’m sorry. I…” Tears welled up in her eyes..
When Kate saw Hannah’s reaction, she began to cry and turned away.
I put my arm on Hannah’s shoulder. “Hannah, why don’t you come by Mrs. Baker’s room at the end of school?” I steered the sobbing teacher into my nearby office. Closing the door, I motioned toward a chair. “Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”
She talked about the anger she harbored toward an ex-friend who betrayed her by having an affair with her husband. “I’m so angry everytime I see her. She was my friend. How could she do this to me?”
As Kate cried, the pent-up anger spilled over until she ran out of tears.
Although not a requirement for forgiving someone, I asked, “Does she want your forgiveness?” “No. And that makes it even harder. It’s like she doesn’t care.”
“No. And that makes it even harder. It’s like she doesn’t care.”
We talked until she had to go back to class.
5 Facts about Forgiveness:
- The old adage “forgive and forget” is misleading. You don’t forget. You will always remember the incident and the associated pain. In time, it will not hurt as much.
- If you forgive someone, you’re not saying they didn’t wrong you. It only means you leave the judgment to God.
- Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. It’s the same thing as deciding to love someone when you don’t feel love. If you make the decision that you will forgive, God’s Spirit will change your feelings. It may take a little while, but it will happen. You’ll be freed from spilling your anger on others.
- Forgiving and letting go of the associated anger is like laying down a heavy burden.
- Forgiveness is healing for the person who forgives—far more than for the person who receives forgiveness.
Next week, I’ll share steps to take if you need to forgive someone. Perhaps you have a child or teen harboring unforgiveness who needs your help through the process.