What’s wrong with forgiveness?

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When searching for the definition: to forgive, these are some of the ones that came up. 

  • To stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
  • to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)
  • to give up resentment of or claim to requital
  • to grant relief from payment of forgive a debt

It is very interestingto me, that for the most part, forgiveness according to these definitions it is a feeling coming from the heart. Unless I have that feeling in my heart of not being angry or resentful anymore, then it is not forgiveness. However, in my very strong opinion, it is SO much more than that. 

Forgiveness can be a DECISION of the heart and mind BEFORE the feeling even gets there. It is a choice you can make. A way of life you can choose to live by for the benefit of both people involved. You might say, Beth is is NOT possible to forgive if you don’t feel that the anger, or hurt has subsided. Well hear me out and decide for yourself.

Recently a friend who was going through some tough marital issues had been venting with me on the subject. I cried with her, prayed with her, listened to her, encouraged her as best as I could as she spoke of the pain and deep hurt caused by her husband. In one of our conversations, she mentioned a very important, deep-digging kind of question her therapist asked her. She said, “What’s wrong with forgiveness?”. It was a drop-the-mic kind of moment for me. Is this normal phsyco-therapyor did this lady also know the godly principles of forgiveness as God talks about in the Bible. My heart immediately agreed to the question, as my friend said it. Wow! Yes! What IS wrong with forgiving him, instead of standing hard core in “what he has done to me”. Instead of continuingto suffer in my own self awareness, there might just be another option to overcoming and healing by doing exactly what your heart might not want to do in that moment; by forgiving. 

I am well aware, having been raised in a christian home, that Jesus tells us we should forgive those that do wrong to us or willfully mistreat us. It is not normal human nature to choose this way, but Jesus encourages and even commands that we should do this. I believe there is a deep healing that can come when we CHOOSE to forgive. I believe it is FIRST a decision we make. I want to forgive, because I know healing can happen if I take that first step of even being willing to forgive. It is a step of faith, believing that healing could come out of it. Even if the other person doesn’t want restoration in the end, it releases me and my heart to be free, whether the other person chooses reconcilitaion or not. It helps me to be able to begin the healing process. I begin the steps of freeing my heart. 

I saw this unfold before my eyes with my friend in the months that passed. She became more at peace, even though the situation had seemingly not changed much. I know God helped her as well through these very tough times. I know God helped her children. But I also know, she made some tough decisions in her own heart. Decisions that led to a restoration of her marriage and healing that is still taking place. But she is in a much better place now than at that time. She said her marriage is now like a honey moon and they are so happy together. Healing has been taking place. I am so thankful for this first and foremost to God, for helping her to have courage to take the step in the right direction for restoration and healing. It is a very hard first step, because your heart doesn’t want to bend, to give-in, to forgive, to get hurt again, to trust again. But once that first step is taken, it is like something breaks through a huge barrier. And the most wonderful thing of all is that you can ask God to help you with the rest of the healing that still is to come.

What goes through your head when you read that question? “How could I possibly forgive what they have done to me?” maybe. It might hurt very much initially to accept the fact that there could possibly be reconciliation.Your brain is constantly telling you to stay away from what hurts you. It is programmed to warn you, even in situations like this. It is hard to fight against your own brain for that sake of healing, but I am telling you, it is worth it. You, I am sure, can’t and have painted your own pictures in your head of what life would have been like, had you not chosen forgiveness. I know with this friend, we went through some of these scenerios together. I can tell you, she was much better off for forgiving. She restored her marriage. Her friendship with her husband. What forgiveness seemed to do as a first step, ended up being a burst of light for her and her family. A full turn around. When we show forgiveness, we show humility and grace for the other person. In order to help us forgive easier, we need to recognize our own need for forgiveness from others. As long as their is too much pride, forgiveness is hard to do.

Is there a situation maybe in your life right now, where you know forgiveness needs to take place? Is it keeping you locked up in a prison of self centeredness, hurt, guilt, pain, loneliness? There is a key, you can pick up and set yourself free. I don’t say it is an easy choice. I don’t say that it will be easy even after you make that choice. It will be a process, it will take endurance, it will take faith, strength, courage. 

I am praying for my readers, that you will grow, by being able to lay things down and forgive where you were not able to do this thus far. The key to freedom is close, but you must act to pick up that key and set your heart free by setting the other person or persons free. Don’t keep them in your prison for all their faults. Let them go and forgive, so that you might also be forgiven by those you have hurt. 

Until next time,
Keep growing strong!