Have you ever been hurt? Hurt by someone who was important to you or a random stranger? Of course you have! You’re a freakin’ human being! But, do you still carry that hurt with you? If you do, this post is for you.

[featured-image link=”null” link_single=”inherit” single_newwindow=”false” alt=”10 Life Changing Reasons You Should Forgive Everyone That Has Ever Hurt You”]Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/spyndle/ (Creative Commons)[/featured-image]

This post is easy and hard to write for the same reason. Easy because I recently discovered, through the grace of God and the love of a couple of godly men in my life, that I have and still do live out of hurt and unforgiveness. Hard because I’ve lived with unforgiveness and the anger from those wounds so long that I’ve questioned if I can live without it. The good news is that I have learned that I can, AND SO CAN YOU!

[ctt title=”The good news is that I have learned that I can live without unforgiveness AND SO CAN YOU! – Kenny Lange” tweet=”The good news is that I have learned that I can live without unforgiveness, AND SO CAN YOU! http://ctt.ec/KzDoa+ via @KennyLange” coverup=”KzDoa”]

As I’ve been walking through this season of healing, I’ve had many consequences of living with unforgiveness revealed through prayer and counsel. I want to share 10 that I believe will shine a light on your life and hopefully wake you up to any unforgiveness in your life.

If you do discover unforgiveness in your life, I hope that you will find the strength to forgive your offender and move forward in your life.

Hear are the 10 characteristics of unforgiveness.

1. Unforgiveness always leads to bitterness. Much the same way  Yoda described that anger leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side, unforgiveness is the road we walk on our way to bitterness.

2. Bitterness hurts you not them. I bet you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating, “bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” By far the dumbest and destructive way to try to “kill” someone.

3. They probably don’t know what they’ve done. In most cases, the person who hurt you is oblivious to the fact they’ve wounded you or at least to the depth of their wounding. Think of the person who said an off-hand comment in the hall or break-room and walked away as if nothing happened.

4. It hurts the people you love. If this one doesn’t jolt you, I don’t know what will. Your unwillingness to forgive a person will start to inflict pain in the people you love the most. It may be that you’re quick to get angry or that you hold past offenses or failures over your employee’s or spouse’s head.

5. It robs you of time and energy. This one pissed me off when it was revealed to me. Time is the most precious commodity we have. Why would you waste it on feeling hurt, angry, and bitter?!

6. It creates a victim mentality. Have you ever thought or said, “It feels like everyone is against me!”? You’re not alone if you have. But, it’s a twisted view of the world and people. Rarely is anyone out to get you or inflict deep emotional pain on you. People with a victim mentality have given away control and power in their lives to others.

7. It makes you self-centered. This is closely related to the previous characteristic. Think about the statement about everyone being against you. This implies that everyone (or at least many people) have taken time out of their lives to focus solely on you and how to bring you down. There are not many more self-centered beliefs than that.

8. People will lie to avoid your anger. You know that person you avoid talking to because you have to “walk on eggshells” around them? Maybe it’s a boss, a friend, or maybe it’s you. These people are, what I heard a pastor call, a “walking bruise”. You barely touch them and they yell out in pain. If people cannot be honest about their thoughts and feelings around you (aka lying), then you may be living in unforgiveness towards someone.

9. Unhealed wounds stop you from growing. If you do not choose to heal, then you’re choosing to not grow as a person. You cannot plow new ground if you’re constantly looking back at your hurt.

10. Unforgiveness cripples your leadership. This is almost a culmination of the other 9 characteristics. But, as a leader (whether at work or at home), you will never be able to give those you lead what they need to be successful and move forward if you are stuck in the past.

I am not going to pretend to know what kind of pain you’ve experienced in your life and I hate whatever it is that you’ve been walking through, but you don’t have to carry it around like a ball and chain anymore. The most powerful thing you can take away from all of this is that it is up to you!

[ctt title=”The most powerful thing you can know is that you can choose to heal from your pain. – Kenny Lange” tweet=”The most powerful thing you can know is that you can choose to heal from your pain. http://ctt.ec/5lIde+ via @KennyLange” coverup=”5lIde”]

Next week, I will discuss how we can heal from these kind of wounds. So stay tuned!

[reminder]What would be different about your life if you forgave the people that have hurt you?[/reminder]

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