Disney’s movie “Frozen” has been immensely popular. Even more popular is the hit song “Let It Go” that the Disney character Elsa sings in the movie. It seems that every child in America knows the words to that music and has driven their parents crazy with some rendition of the song. The song has been called a “phenomenon” and is said to be one of Disney’s most recorded songs ever. I do not pretend to understand the song or the movie. All I know is the chorus “Let It Go, Let It Go” and that this Disney character Elsa must have some issues because she says that “the cold never bothered her anyway.”
“Let It Go” is what I suggest so many of us need to do, especially when we feel we have been wronged or betrayed, taken advantage of or misrepresented in some way. The truth is the “cold” does bother us, depress us and anger us. It can be debilitating. To “Let It Go” in this context is easier said than done. What I am talking about is this months’ Character trait of “Forgiveness”. Forgiveness is “releasing (letting go) feelings of resentment.
How do you begin to forgive when you have been so hurt by another? It is human nature to want to take revenge, pay back the pain or at least get even. The Character Core magazine states that “resentment, when it is allowed to build up inside, can cause you more pain and prevent you from growing and moving on with your life.” The Mayo clinic research says there are benefits to being able to forgive. These include: 1) Healthier relationships; 2) Greater spiritual and psychological well-being; 3) Less anxiety, stress, and hostility; 4) Lower blood pressure; 5) Fewer symptoms of depression; 6) Stronger immune system; 7) Improved heart health; 8) Higher self-esteem. You will be happier and healthier to “let it go”.
Please know that when I say “Let It Go”, I am not talking about ignoring the offense or pretending it never happened. Instead, I am talking about just the opposite of acknowledging your hurt and taking proper steps to not allow that hurt to define you or control you. Forgiveness does not mean you forget. And forgiveness may take time, that’s ok. But at some point, to be healthy, you must “let go” of the offense whether or not the offender ever acknowledges wrong doing or not. I like to encourage parents to model forgiveness with their children. It is impossible to be the perfect parent even though you try. When you make a mistake as a parent, it’s appropriate to tell your child you should not have said what you said or acted the way you did. It’s good to ask them to forgive you.
There are so many remarkable historical examples of forgiveness. Dr. Jason Jones speaks of Nelson Mandela who in 1964 was imprisoned for 27 years for speaking out about the “suppression of basic human rights” in South Africa. Upon release from prison, Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person. He chose to forgive. Then over 2000 years ago, after men had done the worst they could do to Jesus by nailing him to a cross said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).”
Forgiveness is the “heart of the matter”. It is not easy. It takes time and effort to work through things. But what a better Owasso and world this would be if we would choose to forgive one another. Now that I have that “Let It Go” tune ringing in your head, I hope you will forgive me.