Forgiveness is scary. It means letting go of the anger and damage done to our spirit, and sometimes our body. Holding on to our anger and resentment feels like power. In reality, it is a weakness that allows the other person to maintain a hold on our thoughts, feelings and energy, blocking us from moving forward. It taints our relationships with ourselves, others and God. We have lots of reasons NOT to forgive. Here’s a few TO forgive.
1. Forgiveness does NOT mean everything is OKAY.
“By forgiving, we are making a conscious decision to let go of any resentment, vengeance, or anger that came from being hurt because we believe we will be better off not having those emotions and thoughts floating around inside us.”
The key words here are CONSCIOUS DECISION. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. It does not mean the other deserves forgiveness. Nor does it mean you need to restore the relationship or will ever trust the individual. It DOES allow you to move on.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
2. Forgiveness does not require that the other person apologize.
Forgiveness is about restoring our own inner peace.
Forgiveness is not about the one who hurt you. It does not undo the damage they caused. It is not about them at all. It is about healing our own self. It is a CHOICE to be free of the toxic thoughts and feeling; a choice that may need to be renewed regularly.
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” Anne Lamott
3. Forgiveness is about healthy relationship with God, Self and Others.
In the Bible, forgiveness is given by God before we were even born. God knew we would sin repeatedly: deny God, avoid worship, covet worldly goods over moral and spiritual goodness.
Yet, we are asked to forgive others as God forgives us. We cannot BE God, but we are called to become LIKE God. Yes, It’s hard. But, If Christ made the conscious decision to stretch out his arms and die on a cross for we who had not yet sinned, can we try to make a conscious decision to let go of the toxic hold on feelings that cause harm to our soul?
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Matthew 6:12