When I was a small child, my dad looked for ways to spend time with me. One of my fondest memories involved us going fishing together. He carefully taught me to tie a fisherman’s knot, so the fish hook wouldn’t come off the line. However, I wasn’t exactly skilled with the long fishing pole; in fact, he often said I was dangerous.
I can still hear him warn me, “don’t hook yourself!” I was quite a hazard, not only to myself, but to anyone who happened to be nearby.
Occasionally when people speak of forgiveness they say “I let them off the hook”. When I hear that I can’t help but think of my Dad’s admonition, and forgiveness takes on a new definition. Maybe we should say just what my dad said – “Don’t hook yourself.”
I used to think that to forgive someone meant I was willing to accept the consequences of that person’s harmful or hurtful actions toward me, and not hold a grudge.
While forgiving others does release them from responsibility for my pain, it also unhooks me from the emotional and physical damage that a long-standing resentment can cause.
Christ’s words in the Gospel of Matthew 6:14-15 states, “if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
These words force us to make a decision. Will we choose to forgive, or will we keep ourselves and others “on the hook?” Forgiveness isn’t always easy and certainly takes practice.
Mentor and Life Coach