Being a human means you are going to be hurt.

Getting hurt is an inescapable and disagreeable part of what it means to be a human being. Humanity = hurt. It’s a package deal. When it happens—whether through a betrayal, a negligence, harsh words, a loss, a separation, an accosting (whether intentional or unintentional)—the hurt cannot be undone. There are no CNTR+ALT+DELETE keys to escape, reboot, and get past that which caused the wound, the pain, the heartache.

Now a hard decision needs to be made. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with a pain that you did not deserve to get in the first place? Or do you want to be rid of it, healed, and freed from it so that you can go on with your life without that painful memory shadowing you?

Good questions.

There is a way. It’s the only way. It can be boiled down to one word: forgiveness.

“Forgive each other as God in Christ forgives you.”

“The only remedy for irreversibility of history,” says Hannah Arendt, “is the faculty of forgiving.”

Lewis Smedes observed, “The first person who gets the benefit of forgiving is always the person who does the forgiving. When you forgive a person who wronged you, you set a prisoner free, and then you discover that the prisoner you set free is you.”

Been hurt? Then set a prisoner free. Forgiving is seldom easy, but it opens the door to freedom and healing.

Rev. Ed Rotz is district superintendent for the Kansas District of The Wesleyan Church.