“Forgiveness doesn’t exclude their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” unknown
“You lied to me. I forgive you.” “You hurt me. I forgive you.” “You broke my trust. I forgive you.” “You deserted me. I forgive you.”
These were the words that I recited day after day. Every time I began to obsess and react to the pain in my soul, I would choose to forgive. Out loud. No matter where I was. “I forgive you for ____”. It seemed there were hundreds of things that I had to let go of.
*For the story of what happened please refer to my post Betrayal the Essence of Sin https://littlebirdflies.wordpress.com/2014/05/
“Forgive” is a word that used to strike anger, fear and rebellion in my soul. Life is hard. I have been hurt. I have been ripped apart in my soul. I was deeply betrayed. Some of that betrayal was on purpose and some of it was totally unintentional but regardless of the motive, my heart was pierced deeply and unalterably. The constant unraveling, grieving and breaking of my heart seemed to have no end. I had a right to be angry. I was justified in holding onto my pain.
But, I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was miserable and hopeless.
I wanted it to end. I wanted desperately to experience joy again. I was so deep in the dark, chaos of my hurt that I could not see beyond my pain. My only choice was to reach out, in my soul, to Jesus. Ever so gently, He showed me that He was hurting with me. He understood how shattered I was. He held my heart together as only He has the ability to do and then finally, He gave me the grace to forgive. He, who hung on the cross, who forgave before he was asked , taught me how to forgive and how to show love through forgiving.
It was a long journey and one that was invaluable to my spiritual growth. I learned so much about the heart of love that Jesus has. As I allowed Him to walk with me through the pain, He taught me some very important truths.
- Forgiveness did not take away the hurt immediately and sometimes I had to forgive the same offence many times over. That’s okay. It’s a process of remembering, choosing, forgiving and giving the experience and outcome to Jesus.
- I forgive so that I could let go of the hurt that I deserved to hold onto. I forgive so that my soul could be restored. So that my mind could stop rehearsing. So that my heart could be at peace. So that my spirit could fly again.
- Forgiveness given when it isn’t asked for is very difficult but worth it. It isn’t for the transgressor it is for me to find peace.
- Forgiveness usually goes hand in hand with grieving. Experiencing a great loss triggers grief. Forgiving can help you through the grieving process.
- Sometimes, even years later you will have to keep forgiving. Something might trigger the hurt to resurface and you will have to make the choice to forgive again.
- Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. Sometimes it just isn’t safe to return to a relationship or situation that has deeply harmed you or could continue to cause harm. Forgive, but remember enough to keep you safe.
- Forgiveness doesn’t make what they did okay. You are not excusing them. You are simply releasing the hurt and pain to God and asking Him to heal your heart. You are excusing your right to hold it against them.
- Forgiveness is a process and a choice. It is a process that will take time. It is a choice to continue to keep it up.
- Forgiveness drew me closer to heart of Jesus. Jesus forgave the unforgivable and in my journey I began to understand his grace a little better.
- Forgiveness released my soul from prison. Holding onto pain and the right to be hurt keeps your heart in prison and only forgiveness can release you.
I eventually did receive a sort of apology but having already made the choice to forgive it was not the earth moving experience I thought it would be. I appreciated it and I was able to pray that the Holy Spirit could work in the other persons life so that they could come to know his love more fully. Thankfully, over time, I finally started to be able to move beyond the pain and into the restored joy that Jesus had for me. I found that by forgiving my enemy, I was also better able to forgive myself for the part I played in the situation. I was able to learn from it and my heart was released. Joy began to grow again. Jesus started to replace my ashes with beauty and I was able to see the blessings instead of focusing on my mourning. My voice was raised once again in praise instead of in wailing and despair. My feet and heart learned to dance again. Jesus clothed me again with joy.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the LORD’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Psalm 30: 11-12
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
I pray that whatever you are holding onto, how ever your heart is breaking that Jesus will help you to forgive so that you can experience renewed Joy in His love and hope for your future.