Unforgiveness eats you up! Unforgiveness creates hurts and wounds in the hearts of the offender and offended. More like a candy melting away in the mouth of its lover, so are you melting away in the mouth of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness, you might have known is the refusal to let go of an offence and the offender. It is a deliberate imprisonment of offence and offender with the aim of revenge and retaliation. Most times, when the case is adjudicated properly, both the offender and the offended are guilty about something. Why do I believe so? The answer is in the fact that there is no smoke without fire and there is no cause without effect. It is so pertinent then, that for forgiveness to be genuine and healing from its hurt total some steps need to be taken or some ingredients are necessary to be in place.
Let’s Have Some Quick Facts about Unforgiveness
• Unforgiveness breaks relationships apart and sometimes forever; best friends can become sworn enemies because of unforgiveness. When friendship is torn apart, take note that it is caused by a quarrel, a disagreement, a fight that couldn’t settle. The first sign you notice is communication dwindles, distance and silence become normal for either or both parties, irritation sets in, and animosity grows.
• Unforgiveness introduces bitterness and anger into your heart; check-up for those with an anger problem, you might realise that someone somewhere offended them and they still hold on to it; they flare up at the slightest provocation, destroy property around them or even commit murder in the process and unfortunately, most of them claim it is their personality. The continual presence of unforgiveness leads to bitterness of heart.
• Unforgiveness is a small fox jumping on your walls of defence; unforgiveness breaks down your walls of defence and makes you vulnerable to becoming victims of behavioural defects, psychological imbalance and becoming a blockhead (inability to think straight and loss of your intelligence savour). That inner awesomeness and beauty you possess are rubbed off you when you allow unforgiveness. You tend to look older because you are always frowning, goggling and yelling.
• Unforgiveness makes you suspicious; you start suspecting everybody is your enemy or everybody is like that boy or girl that broke your heart.
• You lose the peace of mind that initially flows like a river; you live like someone is after you to hurt you again.
• Not everyone will understand your story; sometimes we are told to talk to someone about our hurts and disappointments, yet it one thing to talk to someone, it is another thing to be understood. So instead of telling everyone that seems to care, rather talk to a counsellor.
• Unforgiveness eats you up; your energy is sapped, your beauty fades, your vitality is drained, your energy results into boredom, your efforts at making headway seems blocked by the demon of unforgiveness, you begin to have nightmares, your focus is distracted, you lose grip on life and become a shadow of yourself. Don’t get to this point before you forgive.
Steps to Settling Quarrels
While I know you probably have dozens of what-to-do in settling a quarrel or have tried some and failed, I offer you just four steps to settling a quarrel and few others to forgiveness and healing the wounds:
• A discussion between the offended and the offender alone
This first step by Jesus was designed to heal a breach between the two believers and it can be applied to anyone too. Taylor (1974:6) in An Exegetical Study of Important New Testament Passages Dealing with Church Discipline puts it this way: “The offended party is to go and reprove the offender privately…” This step helps to build friendship amongst men and also guards one another’s integrity.
• Bring up witnesses to the attempted reconciliation
The next step is conditional, that is if the first step fails, deal with it by “the testimony of two or three witnesses” as in Matthew 18:16, Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15 read. This step aims at making sure that the proof of offence was truthful and unprejudiced. It is necessary that the witnesses are men of integrity in society.
Mutter (1999:115) in The Proper Procedure for Discipline in the Church tells the purpose of the witnesses as: “…serve a threefold purpose. First, they bring additional moral pressure to bear on the offender … Second; they bear witness of the offender’s response to the reproof… Third, they can also hear the evidence and determine whether or not an offence has really been committed in the first place”.
• Relate to the matter to the Shepherd of the Church
If the earlier two steps also fail, the shepherd of the church should be able to mediate between and amongst warring congregants and friends (Matthew 18:17). Mutter (reference as above) opines that the congregation is the final court of appeal. This is because “The church is gifted by God with men with much wisdom and He expects them to settle their disputes among themselves.”
Sometimes, for the offender not behave realised his offence at the three initial steps is really a pointer to “who the person is: a pagan or a tax collector!” (Matthew 18:17b). The treatment of a pagan or tax collector is actually to excommunicate such from the Church and I see that as dissociating oneself from people who do not take responsibilities for their actions and but rather shift blame and or see nothing wrong in their actions. People like this can implicate the integrity and dignity you have been building so far.
Other Healing Procedures:
• Get some therapy from a professional counsellor and therapist to take you through behavioural, emotional and cognitive.
• Talk to a counsellor who is elderly and experienced enough to handle conflicts.
• Identify the hurt and do not shy away from the fact that you are hurt.
• Be compassionate on yourself and offender.
• Get busy with purpose and nip in the bud of your unhealthy distractions.
• Decide to forgive because forgiveness is deliberate.
I awesomely believe reading this article was worthwhile. Kindly apply them to your life and give us feedback via comments and sharing.
Writer: Boluwatife Oluwagbemiga