On a chilly, cloudy autumn morning, I woke up with these thoughts heavy in my spirit: ‘There is utterly nothing on earth that cannot be forgiven. There is also no quantity of damage where restoration is impossible. It all begins with a frame of mind,a strength of will which lies entirely in our hands. In the same manner, a wound would take time without end to dry when cherished, so will unforgiveness eat away the heart; the fertile ground of our life. Where there is no absolute forgiveness, there sadly cannot be a release of anger which brings about complete healing!’
I took some time to ponder on these. It then occurred to me that now and again,we claim to have pardoned an offence.However, we still go about contemplating, yearning or speaking vile about the one we believe has wounded us. That in itself is as good as not forgiving at all. I have been guilty of that and I repent.
It is such a tedious task having to carry so much unnecessary baggage on the journey of life. Deciding not to forgive will not to destroy the one who wronged you. It will destroy you, the one who refuses to forgive. When we declare to have forgiven, it means we have made the choice to:forgive ourselves for exposing our heart to whatever brought the hurt and also to cast away the burden and move unto the next thing God has put in safekeeping. It also means we have freed the offender from the guilt and shame the offence may have caused them.
The Wikipedia dictionary defines forgiveness as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment. Forgiveness is as vital as the blood flowing in our veins. A writer once said; ‘When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.’
We can willingly settle on remaining bitter and hurt unless justice occurs;mind you,that may never happen. Nevertheless,we can, on the other hand opt to live in total liberty in spite of what transpired between us and the offender.We can actually do without having to justify our unforgiveness or hurt, or even shifting responsibility to the other party. The more we play the blame game, the more we stay put in this vicious and detrimental cycle and the more our emotions remain messed up. The most excellent way of guarding the wellspring of our life is by ridding it of everything unessential. Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
I may not be acquainted with the things you have experienced but I for one, have been extremely disappointed a few times and I have found it hard to bury the hatchet. Until I made up my mind that I would essentially be doing myself good by forgiving, I was tormenting myself for no justifiable reason.When we refuse to let go, we compromise our walk with God.It is in our best interest to forgive. If we ask how many times we ought to forgive, the answer is not seven times, but seventy times seven.
Forgiveness does not justify the other person’s wrong neither does it provide God’s forgiveness for their behaviour or actions. That is God’s responsibility. The God of vengeance will always deal our case. If He resolves not to in the way we deem fit, it is not in our stead to do otherwise on His behalf. He is a God of mercy. The same way we reach out to Him for mercy and grace and He grants it, is the same way He would for the offender. Proverbs 20:22 says ‘Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and He will deliver you.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with stupidity or weakness. It is only wise people that forgive.In the process of forgiveness, recognize the fact God loves your offender as much as He loves you. You may not approve of their action but you can have a change of heart towards them. Keep no malice. Go an extra mile and do something nice for them. It may just be a simple word or an act but before God, it counts. When you do, you will release yourself from the anger, misunderstanding and confusion and your heart will be filled with so much peace and joy. When you come across someone who has hurt you and you resist from walking on the other side of the road to avoid locking eyes or speaking with them, then you know, you are in the right direction.
It is high time to let the past be,keep resentment at arm’s length and walk towards a better future. I know some scars are so deep but there is need to free ourselves. Some will say it is easier said than done but ,I tell you,I have been there myself. Forgiving may take a long while but you can get to freedom if you choose. When you are of the opinion that you have every incentive to stay embittered, take a minute and think; suppose God bluntly refuses to forgive me for a wrong done, how will it feel? Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against them. Forgive as God will forgive you.
The Process of Healing
1. Acknowledge what went wrong and ask that God will help you face the hurt and the hate. If you have hurt another, listen to them without justifying yourself. Accept responsibility even if you are on the defensive and apologize sincerely.
If you are the one who has been hurt, begin by telling your offender what they did to upset you and then make them understand how you feel. And if they apologize, choose to forgive and wipe the slate clean. If you do not have the opportunity to speak with them, then forgive them anyway.Two wrongs never make a right.
2. Be aware that forgiving does not erase whatever occurred. The fact will always exist but refusing to hold it against the offender is another step towards freedom and a fresh way to love again.
3. Refuse to use whatever information you hold about the offender against them.Retalation only makes the waters hotter.
4. Be conscious of the fact that your forgiveness will not always result in the other party treating you right or in the case of relationships, taking you back into their life.
5. The more you understand those who have hurt you, the more you will come to understand they are as human as you are and are prone to falling. This does not however excuse their behaviour. Where discipline has to take place, allow it.
6. Choose to look at the bright side of the offender. This will help you think of them without a feeling of anger, hate or revenge.
There is a blessing at your door, it wants to come in but unforgiveness is saying there is no room enough. Forgiving might be excruciating without God’s Grace but it is never impossible.
If you have been holding someone at heart or are struggling with the memories of offence, please pray along with me:
‘Father, there is so much I cannot do on my own and I need Your help and mercy. I make a choice today to release myself from the anger and forgive anyone who has offended me. Just as you keep forgiving and loving me unconditionally, I choose to forgive and love others in the same manner. I ask that you will also, forgive me for hurting others as a result of my own hurt and pain. I ask you to heal every relationship;restore the ones you deem fit for my journey and give me the grace to let go off those you desire me to let go. Use all the hurt and pain to do a greater work in me. Let my experience be of help to the next person. Restore unto me my joy so I can sing a new song. Give me a clean heart and a brand new start. Thank you because you hear me and I know when I ask anything in your Name, it is as good as done. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!’
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”Bryant McGill (Luke 7:47-48 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”Robert Muller
©Aminata A.R Dibassey 2010