Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lesson on Forgiveness

Anyone who knows me realizes I have some minor/major issues regarding forgiveness. It's not that I withhold forgiveness, its more of the fact that I have a tendency to see forgiveness as acceptance of a certain unwanted behavior. I also always here the phrase "forgive and forget". That is were my dilemma lies. I can accept your apology, even act like it did not happen, but eventually it eats down to the core of me, because I have not forgiven the action, hurt, pain, etc. Funny thing is right when you think you have all the answers the Lord has a funny way of showing you how wrong you have been and how blinded. I was tuning into the KCBI this morning and the discussion was on forgiveness. Me, being me, almost changed the station, but instead decided it was better to learn something than to live in my own way and not the Lords. I would like to say I walked away from the program with all the answers to my "what does forgiveness look like" questions, but I did not. Here is what I did learn though:

Q: How do you deal with the pain, hurt and wrongs others have caused you that you did not deserve?

Forgiveness comes in 3 steps. Step one, you have to have a hurt/injury caused to you. Step two, there is a debt that the other person owes you. Step three, there has to be a cancellation of that debt. The cancellation can literally sound something like this : " you have caused me pain, hurt and embarrassment for your actions of drinking and drug abuse, but I choose to forgive you for your addictions and they embarrassment I feel at church, in my community, with my neighbors, and how it makes me feel like a bad parent for living with you when you do not put your family first but drugs and alcohol. I release you from this debt and no longer hold it against you."

I am the type of person who loves to know step by step how others have solved problems that are like mine. Here is one of the best pieces of advise I ever got when learning to let go of hurt others have caused you.

The first thing you have to do is find out if they even know they have wronged you, hurt you, or caused you pain, embarrassment, etc. Sometimes people cross us and they are completely unaware unless someone, namely you, lets them know how they made you feel and why. What we have to keep in mind is that our dealings with this person should not cause them hurt or pain in the process, or we need to reevaluate how we are confronting our pain. In all things we should try and look at the situation from the other persons perspective in life and not just our own. This can be a challenge within itself to many of us, but it is also how we learn to grow as children of Christ.

When we forgive 4 things happen to our spirit:
1. Memories of past hurts begin to heel, the burden of holding it in is lifted
2. You begin to see the person you forgave in another light, the light of a forgiven preson
3. You begin to experience freedom! Your mind, body, soul are set free. You body heals physcially, emotionally and you are liberated!
4. Forgiveness can lead to the coming together of you and the person you forgave. Forgives heals relationships that are broken and strained!

When it comes down to it, you have 2 choices in life: You can hand on to your sense of entitlement and power for the pain others have cause you and wait for them to "earn/deserve" your forgiveness and lets face it those rarely happen, or you can choose to forgive and heal!

One thing I learned is that if you hold onto the pain someone as caused you, no matter how small or insignificant you try to make it, all that happens is it festers inside YOU and makes you stumble in life. The speaker, I am horrible with names,so I cannot say who it was :(, suggested that you take two chairs and face them towards each other. One chair is for you and one is for the person who has wronged you in some way or caused you pain. If you can get the person to participate,even better, but honestly all you have to do is imagine that person in that chair across from you and say all the things you need to say, but in a loving manner, if they are actually there! If not, tear loose and kick the chair, smack the chair, do what you need too do to let go of the pain and let God have it! Address the person by name, and say in great detail what pain, hurt, embarrassment etc that they caused you.Did they destroy your self image? Did they make you feel unworthy? Did they question your trust in them? Did they jeopardize your family's sense of security and well-being? Say it, " I have suffered pain because of....................." get it all out of your system and then let it go. Its dealt with. Its no longer your present, but your past!

I have come to understand that forgiveness is not:

1. justifying the wrongful acts whereby you were hurt.
2. excusing wrong acts towards you
3. denying the acts occurred or that they hurt you: accepting the person for who they are is not forgiving them
4. tolerating the act as acceptable and socially acceptable
5. a times heals everything attitude: only if you deal with the pain the other person has caused you does time heal, otherwise it stays locked up, stored away in US, lodged in our hearts, waiting to break out!

Living with forgiveness makes us suffer more than the person you are not forgiving!

1. Emotional Bondage: anger, hostility, unable to feel, restlessness
2. Damages Relationships with Others: overspills into family, friends, attitude towards others
3. Damages Relationships with Lord: the Lord cannot anoint unforgiven hearts and minds
4. Physical Damage to self: mind affects the whole body and how it functions: sleep, hunger, aches and pains, sickness, etc.

I will leave you all with this: One of the greatest gifts from God that I have ever or will ever receive is the gift of forgiveness, full and with unconditional love and trust! Who I am I to withhold the gift I so wretchedly do not deserve but need from God?

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