There's a story of two Buddhist monks who see each other some years after their release from prison. They'd endured horrible torture by their captors.
"Have you forgiven them?" asks the first.
"I will never forgive them! Never!" replies the second.
"Well, I guess they still have you in prison, don't they?" the first says.
I love this anecdote because it illustrates the dilemma we face when we hold resentments. When we hold them we are - like the monk above - in our own prison. A prison we build brick by brick with our own angry thoughts. And we only escape, set ourselves free, by forgiving.
When we cling to resentment, we carry a burning ember in our spirit. And as long as it smolders there it spreads toxicity in our lives.
Some can't forgive because they believe forgiveness means that what happened was okay. But that's not the point.
The point is that sometimes people do and say awful things to us. They may act from ignorance, intolerance, hatred, jealousy or fear. Who knows?
But should we validate the poison others spread by allowing it to fester within us?
The 12-step programs show us how to get past resentments if we choose that path.
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