Growing up, I always thought that Aunt June was a very angry person. She never seemed to like Uncle Joe much. She constantly criticized him. They never seemed to spend any quality time together. My mom always said that Aunt June was going to leave Uncle Joe as soon as the kids were grown. I could never understand why, because I thought Uncle Joe was one of the nicest men that ever lived. He was indeed, my favorite Uncle.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood the anger and bitterness that Aunt June had. She was pregnant with a child the same time that Mom was expecting me. In the seventh month of pregnancy she started bleeding and was in pain. Aunt June claimed that Uncle Joe refused to take her to the hospital for three days. By that time, it was too late and her baby girl died. Aunt June blamed Uncle Joe for her death. She vowed revenge. She would NEVER forgive him. In her eyes, he committed the unforgivable sin.
Fast forward, twenty years later. Their youngest child graduated from college and Uncle Joe left. He gave Aunt June half of the marital assets. She was financially fit for life. All the split did was create more anger and rage towards Uncle Joe. She vowed:
“I’m going to make Joe pay till the day he dies!”
Aunt June was 55 years old at the time of her divorce. She died at the age of 93. That means she lived 38 years, remaining stuck in the anger stage. She was so full of hatred and rage that she lived every day thinking of ways she could make Uncle Joe pay.
Almost every conversation I had with Aunt June would eventually revolve around the wrongs she endured because of Uncle Joe. She blamed him for her child’s death. She blamed him for her unhappiness. She blamed him for her ailing relationships with her children. She blamed him for everything. Sadly, her hatred and bitterness left no room for a happy, peaceful and fulfilling life.
Did Aunt June move on?
The answer is Yes and No. Time moved on. People and things changed and she changed as well. Change is inevitable. Each of us change every second of ever day.
The question is, do we consciously make decisions for our lives to change for the better?
Aunt June met a very wealthy man that she was in a relationship with til he died. This man wanted to marry her. She refused, simply because she wanted to make Uncle Joe pay.
Due to the anger and hatred she had for Uncle Joe, her children always had to choose which parent to invite to an event, because the two of them could not be in the same room together.
Because Aunt June refused to forgive Uncle Joe – She paid the price.
- She paid the price of not having a complete loving relationship with the new man, because “making Joe pay” was always the elephant in the room.
- She paid by missing several major events of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives.
- She paid the price, because she actually robbed herself on the peace and happiness she desperately wanted, simply because she could not forgive.
You might think, my kids are on my side, or I never have to see him again, so there is no price to pay.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
~ Lewis B. Smedes
There is always a price to pay. When you do not forgive, you become bitter and angry about different things. It may add more stress to your life. It can create illnesses in your body.
The price of not forgiving is you not being able to be as happy and peaceful as you want to be, because this tiny bit of hatred, anger, hurt, revenge – unforgiveness, sits there in your heart waiting for a chance to attack other areas of your life.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.”
~ Bernard Meltzer
You have no idea what is in your future. Forgiving does not condone or change the behaviors of others. It does not mean that you are saying that the behaviors are acceptable. What it does mean is that you love yourself enough to not allow the behavior of others to interfere with your peace and happiness. It opens you up to love and to receive all the good that the world has to offer. It puts you in control of your life, whereas when you harbor unforgiveness the other wrongdoer has some control of every action and thought you have.
“I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why?
While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.”
~ Buddy Hackett
CHOOSE TO FORGIVE!
If you find yourself stuck in this area, sign up for a complimentary “Getting Unstuck” session with me, where we will identify the areas of your life that are stuck because of the unforgiveness and brainstorm some ways to forgive and move forward while being true to yourself.