By Cyndi Pollard
It is said that, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself, and waiting for the other person to die.” Marianne Williamson
We have all experienced actions against us that were so utterly grievous that we thought we would never heal from the excruciating pain that it caused. It consumed every moment of our waking hours and sometimes into our sleep. It was our first thought in the morning and was likely what we are thinking about when we couldn’t sleep at night. We imagined the conversations we would have with that person that would be so scathing they might feel a little of how they made us feel, or, we cried incessantly behind every closed door we could find. We couldn’t look that person in the eye, or be in the same room with them, and sometimes we were so raw we couldn’t even speak their name.
Others could not understand how this offense could cause such a life altering response, but for us, the fire burned deep and we couldn’t seem to get past it. It was like ignited phosphorus that burns so intensely hot that even when buried, it smolders and smokes gasping for the last bit of oxygen. Then the defining moment comes, when we have to decide either to put the fire out and to forgive and move on, or to let it cripple us, causing a life filled with bitterness and sadness.
I experienced such a year when my husband hurt me so badly that I decided to close myself off. I would never speak of it again. I would be a good wife, do what wives do, but I would close my heart off and never allow him in again. No one would know but me. It consumed me. I knew he felt my punishment of withdrawal, but was to stubborn to apologize. Of course as God does, He began to convict my heart. After about a year, I realized I had to let this go. I would apologize for holding this grudge so that it would in turn give him an opportunity to apologize to me. So one lovely Southern CA afternoon, sitting by the pool, the smell of BBQ in the air, cold drinks on the table by the chaise, and potatoes baking in the oven, I said, “Dennis, I want to apologize to you and ask for your forgiveness,” knowing how happy he would be to get this out in the open and off his chest. He said, “OK honey.” I said, “I have been so angry at you this year for……………….., and not the wife I should have been and I’m sorry!” The look on his face was priceless. As we looked at each other and I waited for his apology, he said with shock and awe in his voice, “what? I’m confused, I thought this was the best year we’ve had!” Laugher filled our back yard and I regretted how I had wasted a whole year angry, sad and consumed. The person that I had sentenced to a year of my silence and withdrawal, had not even known it, had not lost one night of sleep, and had not even been affected at all. What a lesson! The poison that had made me sick and bitter had not even touched him.
Let this be a great reminder to us all, when we have been hurt, confront it, and move on, because the person that you harbor unforgiveness for may not even know it.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
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Cyndi’s success has crossed boundaries from education to ministry, customer service, and corporate America. She has spent over twenty years coaching and encouraging groups that range in size from 10 to 2000. Having been the keynote speaker for Women’s Retreats, Conferences, the Future Business Leaders of America, and acted as the Master of Ceremony, she is poised to share her message of Hope with your group. Cyndi wrote and presented a customer service segment, “Stepping Outside the Box,” that has been published and used in a well-known company to teach individuals how to move from, “How I have always done it,” to “doing it a different way.”
Cyndi Pollard graduated from LIFE Pacific College with a BA in Ministry Leadership, and is an ordained minister. She is the Principal of Evergreen Christian School in Olympia WA, serves on the Evergreen Christian Community Leadership team, and is the AG Capital Area Women’s Ministry Leader. She is currently writing her first book, “Defining Moments” that explores the moment after a significant event occurs in your life. Her friends, coworkers, and family would describe her as a servant leader who believes in living courageously! She resides in Southwest Washington with her husband Dennis, and two cats, Rocky & Dude and has a daughter that currently lives and goes to school in SO CA.
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