you punched me. i punch you. now we are even.
you broke my heart. i will break your heart. now we are even.
you ate my food. i eat your food. now we are even.
We all have someone in our life that has mistreated us in one way or another. The easy road: get even. The difficult road: move on and forgive.
If i were in a classroom setting and the teacher asked, "By the raise of hands, how many of you have wanted to 'get even' with someone else or actually attempted to do this?" My hand would be shyly in the air. If the teacher then asked, "With those with their hands in the air, how many of you gained a greater happiness from doing so?" My hand would be as low as it could possibly go. President Hinckley, an LDS prophet, once said: "There is no happiness in living for the day when you can 'get even.'"
I remember when I was a little child, my older brother was being the older brother - he was teasing me. I was so frustrated. I wanted him to see my frustrations and hurt. How could he possibly see this if i simply moved on and forgave him? So i went into his room and cut off his gerbil's tales. Guys, relax, i was only a child. I promise i don't kill things anymore.
Getting even might seem thrilling and satisfying at first, but in the long run, it will only make you weaker and more hurt. I believe the hardest thing about forgiveness is the quietness of it all. How will the other person learn? How will they possibly know that they hurt me if i don't stress their emotions back? There is a power far greater than i can comprehend included in the verb: forgive. It takes courage, strength, and a dedicated mindset to have forgiveness become part of our hearts. From over the years and past experiences, i have a testimony of the peace and comfort that comes with forgiveness. Nothing worthwhile was ever meant to be easy - and i can promise you that peace is so very worth the difficult path of forgiveness.
President Hinckley continues to say," Let us bind up the wounds - oh, the many wounds that have been caused by cutting words, by stubbornly cultivated grievances, by scheming plans to 'get even' with those who may have wronged us. We all have a little of this spirit of revenge in us. Fortunately we all have the power to rise above it, if we will 'clothe ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace' (D&C 88:125).
'To err is human; to forgive, divine.' (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 2:1711). There is no peace in harboring old grudges. There is no peace in reflecting on the pains of old wounds. There is a peace in repentance and forgivness. This is the sweet peace of Christ, who said, 'Blessed are the peace makers; for they shall be called the children of God' (Matt. 5:9).
Forgiving is hard. Getting even is easy.
What price are you willing to pay to gain the sweet happiness that forgiveness brings?