Forgiveness Part 3a   4 comments

Some of us struggle with one or the other of these two, but unfortunately, most of us struggle with both.  They are each necessary for us to be healthy and whole; but at the same time they are very difficult. Neither is more important or needed than the other.

Let’s look first at first at forgiving others, and then we will turn our focus to accepting it.

There is no greater barrier to having healthy, happy, caring relationships than unresolved unforgiveness.  We can harbor these feelings for the slightest of offense to the most heinous abuse. I will admit to you and to myself, I have been as guilty as anyone of this in the past, and have to continue battle with the very same challenge.

I have been blessed that the hurts and offenses that I have experienced are no where near as traumatic and scarring as those that many of you have been subjected to. I understand and agree that there are some behaviors, physical abuse, rape, child molestation, neglect, etc which do not deserve to be forgiven. It is this harbored unforgiveness that which over time becomes resentment, and resentment becomes hatred.

When resentment and hatred have taken hold, then we become their prisoners. They no longer only control our feelings and reactions regarding the person/situation that were at the root, but they affect us in all areas of our lives and all of our other relationships. It has been my personal experience that individuals like this have significant difficulty in maintaining relationships, and the relationships that survive are typically strained. Why? They are strained because all of those unresolved emotions rest just below the surface and rather than a small offense or hurt being just that, the old “stuff” is stirred up and we often overreact with displaced anger and often with rage towards the unfortunate people may be in out vicinity. The saddest part of all is that when we are at this stage we often react in anger to situations in which we perceive as an offense and in reality, no harm has been done. I am sure, this concept is not new to many of you, as you read these words you find yourself, nodding in agreement and saying to yourself, “That’s me”, or “I do/have done that.” So now you’re asking, “If this is true and these emotions when left unresolved are this powerful, “How do I break this chain? What I do now to change and fix this problem.  The easy, to say, but hard to follow-through answer is “FORGIVE”. I reiterate, some of those that perpetrated evil acts against us, do not deserve forgiveness. However, I remind you of my statement made in the most previous article in this series:

 Forgiveness is NOT based on being worthy or deserving of it.

Forgiveness is an act of grace and mercy.

Ultimately it is an act of LOVE!

 We do not forgive for the sake of the other person. Many will not be affected by my choice to grant them forgiveness or not. They live their lives, often not even knowing that the have offended or hurt us, or at least to the extent that they have done so. We forgive, because it sets us free. Let me illustrate with a few quick quotes:

         He who angers you conquers you. – Elizabeth Kenny

        The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.  ~Eldridge Cleaver

 Hate cages all the good things about you.  ~Terri Guillemets

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.   ~Henry Emerson Fosdick

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  ~ Lewis B. Smedes

I really like all of these and they do a very good job expressing my point. Our willingness and ability to forgive others is about our inner healing FIRST and then about “making amends” in our relationships with others.  I one to point you back to the first and last quotes: ”He who angers you conquers you.” And “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” When we learn to forgive and let go of our hurt, offenses and anger, we realize that we are not letting the other person go free, they already were, we are freeing ourselves from the inside out. We are reclaiming the control that I have given away. I know that is MUCH easier said than done, but start practicing with little things day to day. As forgiveness becomes easier, facing the bigger and more painful hurts will not be as difficult to let go off. It WILL take time and work, but hang in there you will overcome. NEVER FORGET you have someone at your side that knows a LITTLE about forgiveness, Jesus.

On the other hand, as we will see in the next and hopefully final chapter of this series, our ability and/or willingness to accept forgiveness is a whole other issue, entirely.



4 responses to “Forgiveness Part 3a

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  1. WOW – This is a powerful post. I agree with all you stated & before I got to the quotes, I was thinking about the statement “He who angers you controls you”. I personally try to remember that, because I know my anger only hurts me, it does nothing to the other person.

    I guess the biggest problem I have, I truly believe that I’ve forgiven certain ones who’ve offended me, but how do I not let future things offend me to the point that I shut down & push everyone away? That’s what I’m trying to learn now. I’ve been lied to so many times, so when someone new that I trust lies to me, that trust is broken & I feel like I’m starting all over again and it seems to hinder my relationships. After the fact sometimes I feel that I’m too sensitive in this area.

    • Unfortunately, there are some times that the actions and words of others cut so deep care even years later after we have forgiven, the scars remain and when disturbed by a new offense the pain from the past is aroused. Once we re-experience this pain, we will go to any lengths to prevent it from happening again, including pushing away those to whom we are the closest. So, ever new relationship is another opportunity for the past to again be stirred up. Kim, you are not being over sensitive, it is called life. So, what do you we do about it, how do we get better?

      I remind you of’ the scripture reference from the article:

      “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16

      It is important to remember, we are not we are not on this journey alone. We share our trials and struggles, not only confessing when we have made mistakes, but acknowledging our weakness and pain. The even better news is that we not only have one another, but more importantly we have “The Counselor” and “Great Physician” who walks with us. As we pray for one another, He begins the work of healing us within. As we all know too well, that healing still often takes time and is not instantaneous, but we continue to believe and trust not in ourselves and our ability to forgive and let go of the past, we trust in his love and goodness. Remember the statement that I made in one of the earlier post on forgiveness:

      Forgiveness is NOT based on being worthy or deserving of it.
      Forgiveness is an act of grace and mercy.
      Ultimately it is an act of LOVE!

      Ultimately, there is only one source from which this love, mercy, and grace can come from, God himself. He and he alone is the One that helps us to forgive, and walk in it on a daily basis.
      So to answer your final question, “What do you we do about it, how do we get better?” We walk daily in relationship with God, praying and seeking His help to forgive and heal our pain and scars. We also continue to rely upon our support system seeking forgiveness as needed, but sharing our hurts and weakness so that that can also stand and hold up our arms as we continue to fight the good fight.

      I feel that I have rambled a bit, but I hope that it is helpful to you and others faced with the same struggles and questions. I pray for grace, mercy and most of all healing for you.

  2. your good

  3. After reading your post and response to Kim, I am realizing that I have a lot to work on towards forgiving. I guess that after 36 years of holding on to my anger, it has become even more difficult to now let it go. As a result I do have instances of displaced anger and rage.
    I think your post may help me to take the first step on my long jouney to recovery.

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