• James McNeil

Forgiveness and rent-free living

“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” Ann Landers

There has been a great deal written about the topic of forgiving others. Most of the time, people who discuss this topic quote Jesus, either to agree or to deride those teachings. Usually derision comes from those who do not subscribe to the teachings of Jesus. On many occasions, I’ve heard this. “I’m not a Christian, so why do I care about forgiveness?”

Actually, that is a fair point. When we as believers talk about God’s word concerning forgiveness, our words fall on deaf ears when they reach those who aren’t believers. But the topic of forgiveness is still an extremely important one. So, don’t expect me to beat you over the head with a bible and claim to be doing so for your own good.

However, today I will be addressing the topic of forgiveness and how important it is to anyone who wants to maintain their peace. Ann Landers said it best when she said resentment “is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” When you give that valuable headspace away, you’re allowing someone who upsets you to determine your mood and dictate your peace. Does this person deserve that?

“Of course not!” I can hear you say. Absolutely true! The person who hurt you and brought about this anger and resentment does not deserve to dictate your peace. Forgiving that person (even though you really don’t want to) is an excellent way to reclaim your peace and use your headspace for things that uplift you instead of tear you down and rob your peace of mind.

However, I have a radical thought for you. What if that person against whom you hold resentment is you? What if sometime in the past you did something for which you believe you cannot forgive yourself? Your past self is the person who you despise and yet occupies a room in your head rent free.

What do you do? The answer is simple. (Note I did not say easy.) You do the same you’d do for anyone else you despise who’s living in your head rent free. Kick them out of your head. Let go of the resentment, no matter who it’s against. Forgive and move on. Reclaim your peace of mind, and don’t let anyone else steal it.

Not easy. But worth it.

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