There is no question things happen in our lives that cause deep anger and pain. However, forgiveness is not based on those emotions. Just like love, forgiveness is a conscious decision we make which goes beyond our feelings.
Note: If you have not read Part 1, please click on this link Giving Yourself the Gift of Forgivness – Part 1 before reading Part 2.
I would say if there has been some kind of abuse in your past, (physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or spiritual) there is a pretty good chance you have “seasons” where you spend quite a bit of time thinking about what that person did (or didn’t do), allowing yourself to repeatedly feel the painful emotions of that abuse . And that is very understandable.
But you won’t be able to get past it, if you don’t back up and allow the bitterness that is taking root in your heart to be removed.
Most of us already know this, but it needs to be said here as a reminder.
Forgiveness is not for the other person. It is for you. As long as you are holding on to unforgiveness, you are chained to that person through your anger and your bitterness.
When you make the choice to forgive someone, you are not saying that you are okay with what they did and how they wronged you. Forgiveness does not depend on whether or not a person deserves that forgiveness. It isn’t even based on if they are sorry for what they have done.
Choosing to forgive is making a choice to uproot the bitterness. It is making the choice of refusing to continue to be dragged through the emotional mud by remaining attached to that person.
Why would you want to stay connected to someone who has hurt you so deeply? Unforgiveness is not hurting them, it is hurting you like an internal cancer eating you up inside and killing your soul.
Forgiving someone is not offering them a way out, it is giving yourself a gift. A gift you deserve to have and unwrap! The best thing we can do is to forgive the person who wronged us, and let them go. In doing this, we release ourselves to begin to heal from our wounds.
Often we find it is a process; a very slow and sometimes painful process.
You will probably find yourself having to choose forgiveness over and over again. I know of one woman who took 10 years of choosing to forgive the person who shot and murdered her son before the reality of forgiveness was a part of her life. Is it extremely difficult? Yes, for sure. Is it impossible? Only if you say so.
It truly is your choice to hang on to it and be destroyed by it, or to start the process of forgiveness and eventually find freedom.
Would you like to know who I find myself needing to forgive multiple times (besides the situation I shared about in part 1 of this blog)?
It is a doctor who came to see my daughter, a couple of weeks before she died. She needed to be put on the heart transplant list, but one reason she couldn’t get on it was because she was quite a bit overweight. Not being mobile (only having one leg plus having suffered a stroke) made it extremely difficult to take off the 60 or so pounds they said she had to lose.
This doctor was sent to discuss some options to help her with this. One thing he told her was that if she really wanted to lose the weight, she could. Obviously he would not do it, but he could lock her up in a room and feed her nothing but bread and water and she would lose the weight. At that point she pretty much quit eating. We couldn’t even get her to drink protein shakes. Since the heart is a muscle and hers was already so weakened and enlarged, it did not take very long for her heart to give out from lack of any nourishment, especially the lack of protein needed for her heart muscle to function properly. Yah, I can’t spend time thinking about that or I find myself getting angry all over again. I forgive him… I forgive him… I forgive him…
You have probably heard this many times, and you know it in your head, (along with the scriptures like Matthew 6:15 that tell us if we don’t forgive others our Father in heaven won’t forgive us) but how do you actually do it?
Don’t play the blame game. It puts you on the enemy’s playing field.
The person who is guaranteed to lose this game is not the person you are angry at for how they abused or hurt you. It is you, and everyone who loves you and needs you in their lives without the poison of bitterness and unforgiveness.
There is power in our words, much more than we seem to realize. Oftentimes, something we are thinking doesn’t become a reality until we either hear it said, or we speak the words ourselves.
I strongly encourage you to speak your forgiveness out loud.
Let the forgiveness and the healing begin with your words. Speak forgiveness over the person who is responsible for causing such intense pain in your life. Say it out loud, right now, right where you are. Tell them, even though they can’t hear you, that you forgive them for ________ (and say what it is they did.)
It will probably be very painful, but in going through the pain you will be taking a step toward healing.
You may feel an immediate release, you may feel a deep stabbing in your heart, or you may feel nothing at all. But forgiveness is not based on a feeling, Say it out loud whether you mean it in your heart or not. Remember, it is not about feelings.
It is about setting yourself free from the chains that keep you attached to this person, which is preventing your healing and going forward into the fullness of life and what God has for you.
Remember, you are not forgiving them because what they did (or didn’t do) was okay. You are choosing to forgive for your own sake; your own freedom and healing. Make the conscious decision to refuse to remain connected to that person, allowing him or her to continue dragging you around in your darkness and pain. Release their hold on you as you choose forgiveness.
You may have to come back to this over and over again like I have shared in my own personal stories. You may need to come back and state your choice of forgiveness multiple times a day at first. Say it once, say 100 times if you have to. But keep saying it. “_____________, I forgive you for _______________________
Make a conscious choice to forgive, as many times as it takes.
You will find yourself having to come back to forgiving this person less often, until one day you suddenly realize you truly have forgiven them and you are free of the painful grip they once had on you.
As you determine in your heart to take these steps, God will be faithful to meet you.
What a wonderful day that will be!
Is there something that has helped you forgive in a difficult situation? Share it with us in the comment section below.