Hey everyone Happy
So this topic of forgiveness came up because my church has had Inner Healing services for the past few months. In a few sessions we dealt with forgiveness.
We often talk about our many issues (anger, bitterness, insecurity etc.) but don’t look within ourselves long enough to find the causes. When we get to the why of an issue it is easier to solve, by addressing the cause instead of the emotions that result.
In this post I share some of what I learnt from our sessions on forgiveness and of course my experiences in forgiving.
Over my life I’ve heard people say you must forgive others not just for their sake but also for you. I never really understood this fully, yes I heard what they said but what does that really mean anyway ……..a lot of great sounding words strung together?
Only after experiencing this for myself have I really understood the true impact of forgiveness. It has truly been life changing, to say the least!
I learnt to forgive myself.
Have you learnt to forgive yourself? Forgiving yourself is important but often overlooked. We tend to see where others can be forgiven but we continue to punish ourselves for past mistakes.
I was living in regret, thinking that I deserved whatever I got because of the many mistakes of my past. We sometimes make decisions in life that we do not realise at the time are wrong for us. My pastor told us if we knew better we would have done better. It makes no sense punishing yourself for mistakes you have already made, instead, admit the errors and choose to move forward.
Do not dwell on past mistakes and allow them to constantly be a part of your present. Forgiving yourself is important, it’s the only way you can move forward. I learnt how you treat yourself is a reflection of how you treat others. If you find it hard to accept forgiveness for you, are you truly forgiving others?
Be truthful to yourself and admit where you have blamed God for certain situations in your life. For me, I realised that I felt I had trusted God with certain things, making decisions based on what I thought was right and things did not turn out the way I expected. I then built a defense where I would trust up to certain level.
God…… I can trust you here, but lets not go to this place. Stay in this zone where I can believe you to heal sickness but not my broken heart.
To overcome this I had to admit to myself I did not follow the instructions totally and in some instances made decisions on my own when I should have continued consulting Him.
Also I had to admit I made errors that could only lead to some of the results I got. There was no getting away from the results because every action has an effect. Our expectations are also often not always God’s intention.
Often we want to blame God for the consequences of our actions or the actions and choices of others. This is not right, God has left everyone with the ability to choose their own destiny. Your choices decide where you end up, don’t blame God for the choices you made.
Have you ever said you forgive someone but every time you see them or hear their name emotions bubble up within? ……. Anger, disgust, anxiety, rage, shame maybe? Don’t worry … me too!
Don’t hide from your emotions, admit them and be true to what you really feel. By identifying your emotions you are on the road to being able to really deal with them. You can’t fix what you wouldn’t admit to.
Until this topic came up I thought I had a really good handle on this. I didn’t realise how long my list of persons that I haven’t forgiven was. It was long… Don’t feel bad if when you start writing you feel the list getting “out of hand” (i.e. way too long)!
I had to pray about this, first asking the Lord to show me persons I hadn’t forgiven.
Then asking Him to help me forgive them. Some was hard, I had to go back many times for some! Don’t be alarmed I think this is okay as long as your goal is to get rid of that bitterness etc. Go back as many times as you need to get rid of it.
What made it easier for me was that I was reminded just as I want others to forgive me for my errors, I should forgive others. (it’s in The Lords Prayer).
Some of the things I was holding on to was so petty I couldn’t believe myself. I had done worse to myself and others. But when you choose to bury your true feelings and not be true to yourself this will happen to you. Things you should have let go of a long time ago you’ll find cluttering up your mind and heart.
Forgiveness does not need you to make up with the other person. You simply need to let go of the hurt or betrayal caused. You do not have to allow the person back into your life or in the same role.
This was such a relief for me! I thought it meant I still had issues if I didn’t want the same relationship as before with the person. Don’t ask me where I came up with this crazy idea! I really can’t say… I think this often prevents us from letting go because we believe if we forgive them then they have rights to the same relationship as before. That’s not true. You decide where in your life if at all you want the person.
MY TAKEAWAY ON FORGIVENESS
- It is only the love of Christ that can truly help you to forgive. Without God’s love it is just impossible to forgive and move on in some situations because it is only using his wisdom you can say yes and let go sometimes.
- I was trying to forgive from a surface level, not really dealing with the hurt, betrayal, or whatever emotions the situation evoked. When I dug up those feelings I had buried, forgave myself and others and allowed the love of God into the situation, I finally felt free. I mean….. like light, a weight I didn’t even know I was carrying left me! If I had wings I would fly….. like seriously!
- I let myself and others I had imprisoned out of jail. Took my personal power back and so I no longer gave those persons power over my emotions and actions. If someone other than yourself can decide the way you feel every time you see, hear or think of them, then you have given them way too much power over you.
- Forgiving is a daily choice. We interact with people daily and it would be foolish to think with all those personalities out there no one would ever hurt or be hurt whether intentional or not.
- Sometimes we hurt so badly and we bury it so deep even we forget it’s there. The human mind is a powerful thing. Many times on autopilot we hide, run or pack away our emotions and anything else we don’t want to deal with. In the long run however it does us no good. To be our real selves and experience true success, we must let go of pretense and the lies we told ourselves and others.
I learnt that so many times we may miss God’s blessings because we are carrying issues within us that shouldn’t be there. Don’t allow yourself to miss the blessings of God’s peace, love and joy because you refuse to believe that you can forgive yourself and others even as God forgives you. It’s possible!!