Everyday Living with God
I know first hand in my life the massive transformation complete forgiveness of others and of myself has had on my peace, my capacity to give and receive love, my joy, my well-being and my self-worth. When I meditated on writing this blog, I asked God what I was to share with you about forgiveness and His response to me was to make it about His word and my experience. I thought easy enough. Because it’s been His word and His grace that has allowed me to forgive myself and others so that I may experience complete freedom and experience the divine blessings meant for me.
Except other than illness, people cause each other the most pain. Before forgiveness entered my life, I can say that moving myself to a quiet island somewhere was top on my list for options to deal with the hurt I experienced from my loved ones. I thought if I encountered as few people as possible, that would offer me a sure-fire solution for the pain and suffering I was experiencing. When I realized (and quickly) how this idea was not an option, I knew I needed help and for me there is no better place to turn than to scripture.Through my process of forgiveness, I found I was really stronghold on a few things that were holding me back.
I wanted the ones who hurt me to come and ask me to forgive them. As time went on and this wasn’t happening, my anger and bitterness grew. I had to let go of the idea (fantasy really) of my loved ones declaring how wrong they were and how dare they hurt me in such a way. Now that I operate in a state of complete forgiveness, I can take a step outside of myself and watch that girl (my former self) operate daily with stress and anxiety and hurt and bitterness and my now self can understand that we think that holding onto grudges and waiting for someone to ask for forgiveness somehow makes it better. It doesn’t. It is the complete opposite. Our grudges end up ruling and taking over every aspect of our life. I knew in my heart, forgiving others and myself had to be for my peace of mind, for my sanity, for my health, for my growth and for my future. There was no more waiting for them to ask for forgiveness, I was going to give it.
I had to let go of the idea that by forgiving others and myself, I was somehow minimizing the pain it caused. I had the idea that they should in someway be punished for what they did and same with me, I was holding onto the idea that I should be punished for my mistakes. So how could I pull off a decent worthwhile punishment? I know….hold a grudge! Be mean. Be rude. End communication. Say unkind things to myself and say unkind things about the other person. Eat until my feelings went away. Nope, doesn’t work. I’ve tried it! All it does is cause more unrest, more anger, more sorrow and bitterness and has major health implications.
I learned that I didn’t have to go back to the relationship or have the relationship exist in the same way it had. I was holding onto the idea that if I forgave the people who hurt me, then I would have to go back to the relationship and “act” as if nothing ever happened. This is not true at all. I learned that there are wounds and there are wrongs. A wound is something unintentional. The intent to hurt someone isn’t there. Sometimes we have a behavior that we don’t think through, someone we care about gets hurt and we realize it quickly or if it’s brought to our attention, we apologize and quickly remedy the situation. A wrong is when there is clear intention to bring hurt to another. Trust is broken. Hurting people hurt people. I can speak from my experience, people who have wronged me, have been hurt themselves. It’s a pattern, or a learned behavior. It’s by no means an excuse. Learning this though helped me to understand that I can still forgive, however, I don’t have to continue a relationship or a friendship with that person. For example, I continued a relationship with my mom, however, I set very different boundaries for us.
We know the negative impact it has on us. Not letting go has caused serious health problems in my own life. I’ve watched clients battle over eating; drinking; binge behavior; sadness and hopelessness. I picture these massive chains cuffed to our arms and legs with a name of hurt and sadness and grudge and anger….so many emotional chains that can be broken through forgiveness.
So what did I do to break my chains of abuse, neglect, infidelity and abandonment? I turned to scripture. First, God tells us to forgive. It’s very clear! I felt like it was a conversation with my kids happening. Son: “Mom, why can’t I go out?” Me: “Because I said so!” The scriptures are many, a few of my favorites are:
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I learned that I needed forgiveness for my mistakes as much as I needed to forgive others for theirs. When I read this scripture, immediately I think, who am I not to forgive? I’m human, I make mistakes, I’m mean sometimes, I unintentionally act in a hurtful way, I need forgiveness. If I need forgiveness, how can I not forgive someone else.
Another scripture that was so eye opening for me, was the Lord’s Prayer, or some know it as the Our Father. I was taking this prayer for granted. In the part where it comes to forgive us our trespasses (or debts) as we forgive those who trespass against us (our debtors), we are asking God to forgive us as much as we forgive others. I was like what? I thought forgiveness was one way! I had to ask myself and be real about the answer, was I forgiving others as much as I was asking to be forgiven?
Up top I spoke about me enacting myself as the vindicator. That’s absolutely not what we’re supposed to do. Let God take care of it! When I let go of my need for retribution, not only was an enormous weight lifted off of my shoulders (a chain was broken!), I began to embark on a deeper relationship with God. My trust in Him grew knowing that He would take care of my battles. There are so many passages in God’s word about what He will do on your behalf when it comes to your enemy….let Him.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.
Psalm 37:1-6 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither; like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Forgiveness was a process. It didn’t happen over night. Praying for the people who I needed to forgive was also a major step in the process. Say what? Pray for my enemies? Yes! They are hurting and need prayer. As I sent blessings, it was as if God stepped in and moved this calm and peace over my own heart. I could start to empathize and replace hurt and anger with compassion. Now, today, I feel sorry for the people who hurt me. I know they were hurting and maybe still are. Many of the behaviors they exhibited with me, they had people who loved them treat them just as poorly if not worse. Blessing those who caused me hurt has been a beautiful gift to myself and in turn, the blessings I’ve received from God have been many….“beauty for ashes” Isaiah 61:3
If you would ever like to chat about breaking your chains and forgiving those that have hurt you or maybe you need to forgive yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of Love,