The Power of Forgiveness and The Cancer of Holding a Grudge
By Guest Blogger Marala Scott
“Forgiveness is powerful and hate is too, but one heals and the other destroys. Determine what end you want to be on because they both affect your life and that of others. Lessen the burden on your spirit by carrying less anger and more love instead. Don’t hold yourself hostage to what impedes your growth. –Marala Scott
You may think that it’s easier to walk through life and blame others for your inability to forgive, because it allows you to have a constant source for your mistrust, anger, and hatred. On the contrary– what you’re doing is allowing the source of your pain to keep unhealthy turmoil churning inside of you that will only impede your healthy progression through life. It will keep every negative emotion ready to ignite or cause you to crumble and retreat passively at the thought of what occurred in your past. I’m speaking to you from experience, having been there myself for many years.
I can’t say that I had a healthy childhood or one even close to being normal, but what I can tell you is that all of the horrific and unimaginable things I had to endure, did nothing more than cultivate anger. My soul had so much pain taking root inside of me that it began growing stronger as the abuse in our house cut through me with the incessant grip of hatred.
I recall the day my mother believed she finally had support. Three women from a church promised to help stop my father’s abusive episodes if my mother gave them what they wanted. They only ensnared my broken and battered mother into their deceptive clutches. I watched my mother meet a deadly fate at their hands that no human being should ever face.
After hearing my horrific journey, no one would deny that my feelings weren’t completely justified. No one ever has. But I made a choice to remain a victim for a very long time. I carried around an unwillingness to forgive the people that caused my pain, because I thought if I forgave them, it meant I was letting them off the hook. So I spent years unwilling to let go. My mother experienced a life that was more tragic than anyone could imagine, and I allowed her suffering to blend into my life. The agonizing residue followed me into adulthood, almost like a natural progression. Pain has the tendency to do that because if you allow it to live within you, it grows, and becomes transmittable to every other aspect of your life before you realize it.
One day I looked at my life, and actually saw the pattern of my unhappiness. I saw that the pain I was so determined to carry, was fueling my unhappiness. The problem was that my anger had infiltrated my emotions so deeply. The negative energy moved comfortably in and out of every aspect of my life. I didn’t trust people. I doubted everyone’s sincerity. I grew angry at any direct or even indirect conversation about my mother or childhood. I didn’t believe there was any such thing as a healthy relationship, because I’d never seen evidence of one. In essence, I wasn’t managing my life well. My anger was in control and it caused me to miss out on a lot of healthy and positive experiences that most likely would have helped me progress to a better pace.
Holding onto the anger with the tightest grip I had, it kept me from conceding to the notion of forgiveness and cleansing my spirit. Like many of you, I knew the cause of my anger, but I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t try.
It wasn’t until many wasted years later and a thirty-day supply of blood pressure medication each month, that I realized my unwillingness to forgive was destroying me. The people I was emotionally at war with had moved on with their life, and had probably asked God for forgiveness for what they did. Honestly, their actions had nothing to do with me, but my forgiving them had everything to do with my emotional welfare, progress, and health.
What I want you to understand is that you can’t progress if you’re holding onto fear or anger. You won’t be happy if you insist on holding onto hate. And you’re not embracing faith if you don’t trust that forgiveness will remove layers of pain. Don’t allow yourself to be held hostage to negative, destructive emotions or you are using your history to further disrupt your life. Seek peace by letting go. It’s history. It isn’t worth holding onto the inability to forgive and destroying your life over it.
Instead, invest in making your future beautiful. I did and it was worth it.
About Marala Scott
Marala Scott is a Multi Award-winning Author, Inspirational Speaker and Leadership Advocate who spends her time Teaching to Forgive, Inspiring to Live. Her efforts earned her the unique honor of being named an Oprah Winfrey’s Ambassador of Hope recipient, in addition to The Sunny’s 20 Outstanding Women You Should Know. Marala speaks from unimaginable experiences. She shares them with considerable passion, which translates into heartfelt truth. Her life-altering memoir, In Our House: Perception vs. Reality tells of her horrific childhood. Surrounded by Inspiration, Marala shares her journey of healing through faith, personal growth and understanding relationships. Her passionate and honest words will challenge you to become a better, stronger, more passionate version of you.
Are you one to hold a grudge, or do you forgive easily? Do you think forgiveness is necessary to move on with your life? Does your “forgivability” factor depend on the crime? I would love to know your stance on this. It can be a very tricky topic.