Someone once described unforgiven hurts in my heart as festering sores oozing terrible things into the
rest of me. This may have been a little intense for a 9-year-old, but it definitely stuck with me.
I like thinking about emotional/mental wounds as actual physical hurts. They range in severity just like
physical hurts; the paper cut of a sharp word when you needed a soft one to the knife wound of
betrayal. I also like to think of them healing in the same way. My paper cut is going to feel better by the
end of the day, but that knife wound could take months to heal. Added layer of analogy: that knife
wound will not heal all by itself like the paper cut. It requires attention and care in order to fully heal
with as little scarring as possible.
Our emotional scars are part of the mosaic of who we are. But ask yourself how many of those hurts are
still open wounds? Are there still sores open and infected that haven’t been giving the care they require
to scab and heal?
Forgiveness is a crucial step to healing those wounds. Because the secondary infection that comes from
the initial hurt is called resentment, and it’s the hardest part of the injury to take care of. Resentment,
just like infection, spreads and mars other parts of you that were previously unharmed. It’s sneaky,
silent, and deadly, just like an infection in your body taking hold seemingly overnight from a cut you
thought was no big deal and decided to ignore.
Forgive the offender that created the wound (a person, an event, even yourself) because forgiveness is
the antibiotic that heals an infected wound and prevents the festering of a fresh cut. The process of
forgiving is a whole book and cannot be squished into this article, but I encourage you to start the
journey of learning about what forgiveness looks and feels like. No one has ever regretted forgiving.