Ever been burnt, betrayed by someone you love and trusted? I’m sure these are experiences many, if not all of us can relate to.
During a recent trip away, I reflected on a conversation I had with my sister about someone I (was going to say used to love, but I still do) love. In this moment I realised how conversations or thoughts about the person does not trigger any negative emotions. There was no sign of hurt, bitterness or anger, I felt neutral, even happy at what I had heard. It dawned on me that I had forgiven them.
A few weeks prior I attended a Christian conference (‘Sorting Out’. I highly recommend) and one of the speakers spoke on forgiveness. To be honest he shared things I had heard many times before, but it was good to have the message of forgiveness being a choice and essential reinforced.
I thought of a particular person I had struggled to forgive. I recall psyching myself up; I had to let go.
Part of me didn’t want to. I mean my anger and resentment was justified…but then I thought to myself:
How much longer will I harbour these feelings?
Why am I choosing to inflict myself with this pain?
Forgiveness Is A Choice.
I was essentially choosing to hurt myself by holding on to this pain.
It’s like someone (spitefully) giving you a ball and telling you to hold it and squeeze it tightly. The moment you begin to squeeze pins shoot out of the ball; causing injuries, and a great deal of pain.
In this situation there are two choices:
- continuing to hold on to the ball with the spikes, causing more pain and additional cuts.
- Or letting go of the ball; attend to your wounds, moving on, and with time allowing the wounds to close up and heal.
Yes, after a while, you may still see marks, and scars of the wounds. But, the pain (especially at the level of intensity when the spikes cut you) can no longer be felt. And that’s often the experience of forgiveness; there may be things that remind you of what happened. But the lack of pain associated with these reminders is evidence of you letting go in forgiveness, and moving forward towards full healing.
You have the choice to hold on and continuously hurt yourself or you can choose to let go and give your hurt a chance to heal.
Just to note, attending to the wound, is not permission to go over the hurt, or things that were done/said to you. It’s about caring for yourself! This may be through prayer. It may mean thinking about creating certain boundaries, having accountability partners, going for therapy.
Dressing The Wounds Is About You, And Your Healing.
Back to that conference, I made a decision to let go and forgive. I prayed a simple and short prayer that God will help me by His grace to let go, move on and not remember things with bitterness, anger, hatred or hurt anymore.
Today as I write this I think about the conversation I had with my sister and I see that I have actually forgiven.
In this forgiveness I have found freedom; of my emotions, heart, and valuable head space.
There is a special peace of mind that comes with forgiveness, and with this, I can genuinely say I wish this person all the very best of God’s blessings.
I know forgiveness can be hard, especially when it seems like it’s justified. Trust me the best thing you can do is make the choice to let go and forgive. Ask God to help you, you will find His grace at hand to help you through this process. And in forgiving, you will find freedom.
In truth and with love,