The greatest gift you can give is forgiveness. It is the greatest thing you can award … to yourself.
To a person who has spent much time as a victim, whatever is the same is comfortable and whatever is different is scary. Ironically the very thing that will free a victim forever is forgiveness, but it is such a foreign realm that many never attain it. I understand because I was a victim for many years. Not because any person was still victimizing me, but because of the root of bitterness that I held in my heart.
If anyone could have held onto a root of bitterness, it was David, because Saul, the very man who had loved him like a son, was now hunting him like an animal. Betrayed, abandoned, and on the run, David sought shelter in rocks and solace in solitude. And he struggled with bitterness or release: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God,” (Psalm 42-43). Because David was beginning to realize that freedom could be his through God, when he had a chance to kill Saul, David said, “Don’t destroy him…the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed,” (vv. 9-11). David had transitioned from bitterness through forgiveness into freedom.
When you’ve been deeply wounded, forgiveness is a painful act. But I promise you, the momentary pain of letting it go is worth a lifetime of freedom. It is only in that freedom that you can truly begin to experience God’s love and give it out in return.