Freedom in Forgiveness? Really? Forgiveness is often a confusing topic. For some it seems nearly impossible. For others improbable. We all have things in our lives that give us reasons to be unforgiving towards others. Towards the person who hurt or offended us. We can go for years or seemingly a lifetime harboring anger. As research has shown, anger and unforgiveness is actually detrimental to our own health.
Why Would I Want to Forgive?
If you have someone or several someones who have hurt or betrayed you, the first question is really, why would you want to forgive them? We might think, “They deserve for me to be unforgiving.” So what then? Do we forgive to release them from the responsibility of the hurt they caused or to make them feel better? Sometimes that may be the case. But more often than not the real reason we need to forgive others is to release us from the power that the hurt or pain has caused. Purposefully forgiving someone doesn’t give them a release from the consequences of what they did or said, but it releases YOU from being bound to that person in a negative way.
Do you have someone in your life right now that you are still harboring anger towards? Does it consume you or your thoughts? Does it affect decisions you make? Whether you realize it or not that person still has power over your life. The person could be alive or deceased but by you holding on to the anger and unforgiveness, they still have power over you. Don’t you want to release that?
Yes, But How Do I Forgive?
There are some things in our lives that are so very painful that we in our humanness can barely even begin to think about forgiveness. So what are we to do? We want to release this pain and anger but how?
- Write a letter to the offender. You don’t necessarily have to give it to them. This is more for you to release the pain. Start by addressing it and describing what happened and how it hurt you. Then move on to write how you will no longer let this have control over you and you forgive this person and release all the hurt and the pain. You may need to re-read this several times to help yourself move into forgiveness. Some situations you may be able to give the letter to the offender and perhaps reconcile that relationship. Other times that is not reasonable or rational.
- Decide daily that you will forgive this offense until it no longer holds power. If you are a praying person, pray for the person who offended you. Ask for them to be able to see what they did was wrong and for them to have a change of heart moving forward. Pray for yourself. Pray for God to be able to help you to let go of this hurt and remember that He forgives you for everything that you do and that we are instructed to do the same. (Colossians 3:13 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.)
- Focus on positive things in your life. Find things that bring you joy each day and seek them out.
Okay, so you have decided to make an effort to forgive. You have made a commitment to moving forward. Give yourself permission to be FREE. Holding something against someone, causes you pain. Releasing it, moves you towards freedom. You deserve to be free and fearless. Claim it for yourself!