Choosing to forgive someone who has hurt you, is choosing to take care of yourself, writes author Tintswalo Christian Nkuna
There’s a television programme that I enjoy some times when I don’t have anything to do.
It is called The Untold Stories of the ER, and it showcases the daily life of medical doctors in real emergency medical rooms attending to desperate patients who are rushed in due to some serious pain or medical conditions.
One case that caught my eye was of a child who was rushed in after being bitten by a poisonous snake. The bite was just two tiny teeth holes just above the child’s left ankle. I did not understand the rush and the panic because it did not seem that bad. The doctors, after being informed of what had happened started running around to get the child in a bed so they could start treatment while someone called the animal department to go look for the snake at the place where the child was when he was bitten.
The most important thing for the doctors was not to find the snake, it was to treat this boy because if they delayed, the poison that had entered the boy’s body through those tiny holes would spread all over his body and he would die. Their priority was not to find the snake and kill it to avenge the boy. The priority was to get rid of the poison in the boy’s body so that he can live.
I’ve realised that at times people hurt us through lies, betrayal, cheating or any form of bad behaviour that results in us feeling pain, emotionally and physically. The feelings we then feel after they do these wrongs to us can be likened to the poison of a snake bite. When you are bitten by a snake and infected with the poison of bitterness, anger, resentment and all the feelings that come with being hurt, you have an option of running after the snake that caused you pain or working on getting rid of the poison in your body.
You can win and get hold of the snake or the person who hurt you to avenge yourself but if you do not work on healing your emotions and your heart, the poison of anger and bitterness will build up within you and affect you in ways that have a negative impact in your life and future relationships.
Most people don’t realise that unresolved anger and bitterness can fester into their souls causing untold damage if left undealt with. They view forgiving and letting go as letting the other person go free unpunished. Instead they decide to punish themselves by walking around with grudges and beating themselves up for other people’s mistakes.
Choosing to forgive someone who has hurt you, is choosing to take care of yourself. Running after them to hurt them back and punish them just makes the poison worse because the more you run the more your blood circulates and the poison spreads within your body.
Forgiveness is not a weakness or a sign of foolishness, it is choosing to deal with another person’s wrongs against you in a healthy way without hurting yourself more after what they have already done.
I’ve noticed that forgiveness is not a natural thing for us to do as human beings. It is not always our first option but we need some supernatural and divine intervention to help us work through the process. We need some spiritual assistance, so whatever it is you believe in is what you should call upon to help you forgive those that have hurt you. The quality of life is better when you carry no grudges, anger or bitterness.
At times people hurt us because they are ignorant, don’t know better or simply just because they are horrible people. You cannot afford to live your life holding yourself hostage because of someone’s bad actions.
Snakes bite and leave poison because it is in their nature, don’t go around hurting yourself more through unforgiveness because a snake behaved according to its nature towards you. I’ve never seen a snake going to apologize to anyone for being what it is, so at times people who have hurt you won’t come back to apologize.
Don’t wait around. Don’t give people who have hurt you control over your life and emotions because each time you think of them and get mad, they are actually controlling your mind and life. If there’s a person you think of and your mood changes from good to bad, you need to work on forgiving and releasing them.
Tintswalo Christian Nkuna is the author of the acclaimed book, Single Again. She is a transformational speaker with a mission to help those who are broken hearted and emotionally wounded to restore hope and reignite the spark for life and God.