We spend much of our lives in the prison house of our anger and resentment. It’s easy to feel wronged and hurt. It’s easy to begin to despise the one who hurt or wronged you, to obsess about the person, to fantasize about getting even. We really do have to ask ourselves where this comes from? Often, our anger and hurt come from our own insecurity. We are hurt by betrayal, which is a sort of very fundamental rejection. And this is a lonely world isn’t it? We feel alone so often that we want to be a part of things, of social networks. We want to feel valued. When someone wrongs us, or betrays us – we feel profoundly hurt: that person has so profoundly misunderstood us, our value, our humanity, that they’ve decided to act against us. That sort of rejection cuts deep. It is like a wound that won’t heal, a splinter in our hearts. Like a splinter, unless removed, it delves deeper and deeper into us, penetrating new, more personal layers of ourselves, and can even get infected. An infection of the heart is when we let ourselves be influenced by darkness, because our resentment and our anger has made us weak.
Sometimes, however, we are inspired to forgive. We may have run into a truly decent and virtuous person, who through his or her acts of kindness, openness and generosity, snaps us back into reality. Into the truth that human life is not only precious and beautiful, but that it is brief and easily extinguished. We see that we are spending moments of our life walking awkwardly, all twisted and taut by anger and resentment. We see that we look misshapen because of it. And then, sometimes, in a moment of grace – perhaps a moment of calm in a sunbeam and warm moist breeze that caresses our cheek; perhaps a moment when someone has done us a kindness in the office – we let go and forgive the person who has hurt us. Our shoulders loosen, our chest opens and the feels sweet in our lungs. We walk lightly and start to notice little things around us, in nature, in our colleagues, in the office, that our focused anger had made us oblivious to. Yes, we feel reborn. Forgiveness is a step to toward toward love, toward renewal, toward growth. We may even begin to see the broken-ness in the other person that caused us him or her to hurt us. Even if we don’t reach out to help, we start to understand why he or she hurt us. We feel like we are living our lives again, not just existing. We start to feel more human.