Recently, a close friend was hurting and upset. She had been treated unjustly over a period of a year, by a family member. She asked me if we "had to forgive. Couldn't we just stay angry with someone?"

My answer, since I have finally learned the lesson is this....

Forgiveness can sometimes be difficult and seem almost rotten to have to do, but the wonder of forgiveness is what it does for us.

Forgiveness releases us from the bondage of anger and the shackles of hatred.

Both resentment and loathing block so much of our love and joy. Carrying any amount of anger for a long time pulls us down until the burden is so extreme we have difficulty moving ahead. It is almost as if the emotional burden is being felt physically!

And when we tote anger and hatred around, we can not love as freely and easily and our joy seems elusive, hard to find!

I have had three times in my life where I carried anger for a prolonged period and every time I was the one who suffered. My anger always hurt me.

On the last occasion when I gave up my burden and turned it over to God, He showed me exactly where the anger and emotional buildup had been residing in my body and he allowed me to feel it being lifted out as he removed it.

That was a glorious day and as time moves along and I look back, I appreciate more and more the wondrous gift I received.

If an offer were made to remove the feelings of hatred, rage and resentment, how many people would answer, "No thanks. I would prefer to keep this heavy, dark feeling."

I think once we have experienced the dismal and depressing feeling that becomes ours due to anger and hatred, most of us would immediately say, "Yes, please take this out of me right now!"

When we forgive that is exactly what happens. A dark mass lifts from within us. We feel a lightness and the ability to give and receive love is pronounced and definite.

We will be blessed as we forgive!

©Ellie Braun-Haley
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