Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.
Here are some secrets that I have learned when it comes to the issues of pain, the heart, and forgiveness…..
**Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. Holding resentment and unforgiveness hurts only you. The offender will never feel what we are going through, from the deep remorse to the murderous rage. And stubbornly hanging on to hate will not bring them to conviction or judgement, nor bring us to peace and contentment. To hold someone in unforgiveness for something, no matter how much wrong they have done, makes us the prisoner, and a partaker of that same wrong. Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves for what we have been through…it is the only way to have real peace and lasting contentment.
**Often when we think about forgiveness, we expect the results to be instantaneous. We prematurely believe that if we are ‘good’ and do the ‘right’ thing, that we will be rewarded with all the gifts, wisdom and freedoms that go along with the act of forgiving someone, and are automatically released from its burden. But I think we all know that is not how it works out for us, and usually the opposite of this is what feels truest. We have made our own mistakes and offences, suffered at the hands of others, and made the choice to forgive….but still we struggle with the pain and feelings of resentment, of grief and anger.
**This is because forgiveness is a process. It is a choice that we make initially the first time. And then, we have to make it again and again when the painful memories and feelings surface. We may have to make this choice on occasion, from time to time, or in the beginning, we may have to choose forgiveness moment by moment amounting to numerous times in a day. There are even times we feel we just do not want to forgive. This does not mean that we are weak. But on the contrary, it takes strength and shows we are serious and determined to see ourselves free from the chains that bind us.
**Our emotions do not always line themselves up with our will to forgive, and rarely support our choice to forgive. Chances are you will never be able to use your feelings as an indicator of weather you have forgiven or not. Memories are real, and the experiences that made them were just as real, and not easily erased. And they shouldn’t be. For no matter how terrible or traumatic, or maybe even seemingly petty that past event was, those things help make who we are. We can stay in bitterness over it, or we can move ourselves along and live free of the inner turmoil of self infliction.
**Forgiveness is an opportunity for growth. It does not have to be a crippling and gruesome experience. Often we are so hard on ourselves, we cannot see what progress we have made. We may feel guilty or inadequate in God’s eyes for not being able to forgive in the way he does, or in the way we thought we should. We may feel as though we have missed the mark somehow. Relax a little, give yourself room to be many things in the healing process. Sort it out gradually. No one says you have to accomplish total forgiveness in a certain way, or in a certain amount of time. As I said earlier, this healing virtue is for you. And not everyone is the same, and we all experience the process a little differently and in different timing. But one thing is the same for us all….it all begins with a choice. You choose forgiveness, and you keep choosing it daily, no matter what you may feel. The pain may never totally disappear, but in time, it will lessen, and you will see your personal growth, gaining victory one small step at a time.
**The hardest person to forgive will always be yourself. It is so important and life changing to accept in ourselves the things that are hard to accept, the things we have said and done that we deeply regret. Think of it this way. A child or family member we dearly love has made a terrible mistake, one that has hurt not just themselves but others they love. You see their pain and turmoil, and you long to impart to them the forgiveness that you have sought out for them in yourself. You so desire to see them move on and begin living again, learning and maturing from the wrong they have done. The pain you feel from seeing them in their pain, is how our our own spirit grieves over us when we are in a tormented place….the same way the Father feels for our sufferings. He longs to extend that compassion and mercy to us and help us move away from the dark side of the tribulation. But we can only do this for ourselves. So extend to yourselves the same love and mercy that you would someone you dearly love….for chances are someone is still hurting from watching you suffer, and longs to see you live again. Make yourself this friend within yourself. You are every bit worth it, and the fact that you are alive and breathing is proof enough. Now, you just have to walk in it and bear witness to the miracles that will follow………………………
Feel free to ask any questions, or seek friendly assistance or advise from me anytime. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org …