The shadows of Hurt are the darkest of places. In them lurk revenge, anger, sadness, despair, torment, and hostility. The shadows creep around the darkness pulling at individuals, taunting them to stay within their shady cover. Hurt beckons them to stay within its confines, to nuzzle themselves to its bossom and seek nourishment from self-pity and regret. Hurt tempts them to seek solace in revenge and evil whispers. Hurt relishes and thrives in the unforgiveness of one individual. Hurt smiles at that person’s inability to overcome it and lures him to stay within its pitiless embrace.
Too often, I have watched as Hurt destroys relationships. Its shadows cast themselves deep and wide over the relationship rendering any hope of forgiveness or reparation. Recently, I had a friend tell me “I am not one to forgive and forget what people have done to me”. It struck me as one of the most desolate things I could have ever heard. How tragic. How indefinitely sad. To lack the ability to offer forgiveness reeks of an utter absence of compassion…. and incomprehensible selfishness. It created in me a sadness deeper than words can express.
Perhaps the ability to forgive comes with maturity… when enough time and life passes that a person realizes his own faults. That he realizes all of the wrongs he has bestowed upon others are just as great (if not greater) than those under which he has suffered. Perhaps it is when he compares his wrongs with the sufferings he has caused others, and comes to realize that he is just as imperfect as they. Perhaps it is when he desires forgiveness from them, but cannot receive it because he knows not how. Because his inability to forgive has become so strong that he has lost the ability to receive forgiveness. The inability to receive it produced from an inability to give it.
And in that place, Hurt has won. Because in that place, not even the grace which was suffered for so greatly by Jesus Christ is fathomable to that person. And if it is by that grace by which Man is saved, then he is no longer able to redeem himself to those sins because he has lost his sense of what Grace truly is. How tragically sad. To have purposefully removed oneself from the fulfillment of God’s grace by the decision to withhold forgiveness… my heart could break from it.
So to not forgive, ultimately, is to deny the grace and forgiveness of God the Father, to reject His sacrifice, to reject him entirely. Jesus himself said, “If you do not forgive others, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14)
The shadows of Hurt are the darkest of places… and they reek of sulphur, resound with bitter laughter. They beckon each of us. The desire to stay is strong… but the necessity to leave is undeniable.