Is it ok not to forgive?

Forgiveness is on my mind.  How long should someone have to pay for a transgression?  Are there some sins that are too dreadful to forgive?  Can people do terrible things but not be terrible people?

A couple of things have happened recently that have brought this to my mind.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I love to watch true crime TV and over the past week or so I’ve been watching a show called Prison Wives on Netflix.  Yes, yes, it’s eye candy reality TV (you can turn your nose up at my TV watching habits all you want), but it gives an interesting perspective on how the spouse and the family suffer when a member of the family is put into prison for life.



This is the extreme example of what has made me think about forgiveness.  Most of us don’t have to deal with the trauma of a family member in prison for life; what we do have to deal with is everyday, common interactions that leave us mad and upset and angry with others.  That is my second example.

I am really good at holding a grudge.  I always have been.  And a couple of days ago, I saw a comment by someone who I “de-friended” and blocked from Facebook on a mutual friend’s page.  It forced me to think about my grudge against this person.  And I didn’t like how I felt–I felt like a 13 or 14 year old, back when you declared to your best friend, “I’m not your best friend anymore!” on an every-other-day basis.  That is, it made me feel immature and childish.

My mama used to say that holding a grudge only hurt one person:  you.  Because you were expending the energy disliking that person, you were obsessing over the reasons to be mad, you were carrying around the burden of the feud.  She used to ask, “Do you think that they are spending any time worrying and fussing and obsessing about you?  No!”

So, now I’m left with the question of what to do.  Actually, I guess I know exactly what to do.  I should forgive this person for the hurt that they caused me.  The question is:  Do I want to let it go?  And, honestly, I don’t.  At this point, I don’t want to forgive.  I’m going to be ok with feeling immature on this one a little bit longer.

6 thoughts on “Is it ok not to forgive?

  1. Forgiveness is a difficult subject to write about and harder to live. I’m not a grudge holder, but I ruminate on things far beyond what is called for. If constant forgiveness is required in a relationship or friendship, that tells me it’s time to shut the whole thing down. For big-time issues, like abuse, I’ve never felt like forgiveness should be my responsibility. My responsibility is to move on, grow as a person and keep myself out of harm’s way. It really depends on the nature of the transgression and what the relationship is worth to you.

    • This wasn’t a big time issue (certainly not abuse or anything like that), but it just makes me feel childish for holding a grudge. I’ll eventually get over it. I got a case of “shoulda’s” — which are poisonous to your mental health. I should forgive. I should be a bigger person. And on and on and on. I need to leave the shoulda’s behind.

  2. You have a smart mom. Forgiveness is hard, although I think it becomes easier with age. And your mom is right, it only hurts the person who is angry or holding the grudge. I’m not getting on your case, I used to be a really good grudge holder!

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