CONFESSION: I have a tendency to hold grudges.
Not for everything, but there have been some pretty major painful experiences that have happened in my life. So I recently decided I needed to deal with once and for all. So here's a list of the top ten reasons why you need to bury the hatchet.
DISCLAIMER: Anyone who is in a toxic relationship that is characterized by abuse, addiction and the like, please pursue the necessary professional spiritual, therapeutic and legal support necessary to effectively deal with those issues. DO NOT perpetuate abusive and destructive patterns in the name of forgiveness. You can forgive someone from a distance. You can forgive someone and also disconnect yourself from them entirely. Get to a safe place. Get the help you need. And get on the path to growth and healing.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with the list.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons To Bury The Hatchet:
10. Nobody's perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. - At some point, everybody makes a misstep. Fact is, life is a constant cycle of moments when we win and others when we lose. Sometimes we fly and sometime we fall. We all lose. We all fall. Forgiveness acknowledges that everyone is on a journey of growth and we all need time to get things right. Expecting perfection always ends in disappointment.
9. The person who hurt you may not see/unable to see what they did wrong. - This one is a little tricky. Hurt people, hurt people. Many times people operate from the position of past hurts without even realizing it. Other times they may have developed a terrible habit of trying to self-medicate their own pain, by inflicting pain on others. Either way, they are operating out of a dysfunction that makes it nearly impossible for them to be considerate of and compassionate towards you.
8. Forgiveness helps the person who harmed you to grow. - It's quite possible that your unwillingness to treat them with the same inconsiderate/malicious disposition could grab their intention. It could possibly make them curious about what makes you tick. It's possible that they've treated people this way for so long that they're expectation is for everyone to operate the same way. Your gracious response might be the shock therapy they need to get them back on track.
7. You need to move on with your life. Time to pursue your purpose. - Life is short! We are only promised "threescore and ten (years), fourscore if we have the strength." (see Ps. 90:10) Life should not be consumed with strife. Our time is limited on this earth. We should seek to be at peace with everyone, and focus our energy pursuing the purpose that God has laid out for us. There is so much more that you are supposed to accomplish. There's so much more you were designed to do. Time is short. Get busy living the life that you were designed to live rather than wrapped up in past hurts.
6. You were made for more than mess. The drama is stealing essential focus & energy. - Often times the conflict and drama consumes our time to the point where we spend sleepless nights brooding over the issue. The anger is so intense that you might spend all day plotting your revenge, or at least a carefully crafted clapback. The people who have harmed you shouldn't consume your best energy and time. Bury the hatchet and focus your best self on your pressing assignments, dreams, goals and ambitions.
5. Never become what you hate. Don't stoop to the level of petty. Take the high road. - It was Michelle Obama that put this so beautifully in a recent speech. "When they go low, we go high." Misery loves company. Don't join the miserable with petty power-plays to match fire with fire. Determine to rise above the mess and kill them with kindness. The bible refers to it as heaping coals of fire on their heads (see Prov. 25:21-22). No matter how you interpret that text, if you're kind to your enemies, it blows their minds.
4. Revenge is tricky. You usually hurt yourself in the process. - Here is the heart of the challenge. We don't want to bury the hatchet because we are determined to make them pay for what they've done. The problem is, when I take revenge, now I'm the offender. And as the offender, the cycle continues with me as the new target. And now someone will want to take revenge against me. Whether I feel justified or not, in allowing the rage to overcome me to the point of violent/malicious action I have in essence become what I despise (see #5). Always remember, God is the righteous judge and he will one day right every wrong. We must believe that.
3. Strife=>Stress=>Sickness - It's a well-known fact that anger and stress cause disease. I recently attended a funeral of a 42 year old woman who died in her sleep. That's unheard of. Since when do young people with a clean bill of health die in their sleep? When I got the news I immediately started thinking about how valuable life is. Let me say this again, LIFE IS SHORT! Don't allow your life to be shortened or the quality of your life be diminished by harboring hate, hurt, bitterness and unforgiveness. Determine to be healthy and happy and move on with your life (see #7).
2. Forgiveness is an essential step on the road to healing. - WIthout forgiveness it's nearly impossible to truly move on. Psychologists say that forgetfulness or repression is a coping tool for people who have sustained traumatic experiences. However, this is not true healing. Healing takes place when we face the painful experiences and come to grips with the hurt and loss we endured. Forgiveness, as a part of this process helps us to process properly and move forward toward wholeness.
1. People who give forgiveness are the people who have received forgiveness. - Everyone at some point will need forgiveness. And if you've ever been forgiven you know how sweet it is to have the slate wiped clean. Besides, we all have been forgiven by God. He promises to forgive us if we confess, but he also warns that if we do not forgive we will not be forgiven either.
Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant. He owed the king several million dollars. He begged for the king's forgiveness and the king canceled the debt. As soon as he went outside he saw a friend of his who owed him a few bucks. He rushed the guy and started choking him and demanding that he pay up. Then, even though his friend begged for mercy he had the guy thrown into prison. Sad thing was, the king's had some secret agents that witnessed the whole thing when they went back and told the king, he not only reinstated the debt, but he had him thrown into jail and added torture to his sentence.
It's not likely that anyone owes you a million dollars, but whatever it is they did to you, it's not worth walking around for the rest of your life harboring the hurt and the hate. Determine that you'll be happy and healthy and bury the hatchet!