The definition of a victim is someone that is harmed, deceived or injured by another. It is terrible to be victimized. It is worse, when we give them the power to hurt us over and over again. As long a we continue to dwell on the event, to feel those emotions long after the transgression, to spend precious moments or hours planning revenge, to let hate, bitterness or fear creep into our life and slowly infiltrate our mind – we give our power away. We give over control of our happiness (and our health by the way) to someone else. The only way we can take back our power and over come harmful victim mentality is through forgiveness. Not easy, I know.
Yes, Jesus forgave those that crucified Him, but He was divine you say. OK, a high example to live up too. But there are others we can look too – how about Joseph of the Old Testament? His family sold him into slavery, his employer accused him of rape and imprisoned him unjustly, even friends that he helped in prison forgot all about him and their promises to help. Yet there is no record of him holding a grudge against any of them. On the contrary, the story of the reunion with his family is nothing but joyful. All throughout his story in the book of Genesis, the scripture says, “and God blessed him.” We never see Joseph feeling sorry for himself, playing the victim, letting others control his destiny.
Forgiveness is not only important, it it essential. According to MayoClinic.com, letting go of grudges and bitterness makes way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
* Healthier relationships
* Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
* Less stress and hostility
* Lower blood pressure
* Fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain
* Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Forgiveness is the cornerstone of the Christian walk. God forgave the children of Israel again and again. Jesus taught to forgive “seventy times seven.” The apostle Stephen forgave as he was being stoned to death. We must forgive, not just to please God, but to live the life He intends for us. There is a reason for the old adage “forgive and forget.” We’ve got to let go – to forget the pain, the emotion, the results of the crime against us – so that forgiveness can overcome the memory. Memory is involuntary – forgiveness is deliberate.
Jesus includes forgiveness in His model prayer so that daily we renew our determination to let go of all those things that can stand between us and God, and the abundant, long and happy life He has planned for you and me.