Forgiveness–The Gift That Keeps On Giving

sharont6 | Forgiveness | 06 28th, 2010  |  No Comments »
If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.
–Mother Theresa
 

Forgiveness: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Unforgiveness is the root of much of our anger as adults. Years of hurt feelings, wrong doings, pain, and anger create a wall that is difficult to penetrate—a wall of unforgiveness. It is impossible to truly love another person when there is unforgiveness in your heart. Forgiving those who have hurt us is the obvious answer. This is the beauty of forgiveness. The beast of forgiveness is how difficult it is.

According to Dr. Shirley Glass, forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing thoughts of hatred and resentment. It requires that negative emotions be replaced with more loving, positive emotions. Joyce Meyers also feels that it means you must stop talking about the hurt and saying bad things about the person you are upset with. In essence, stop talking about it!!!

Forgiveness can be hard work. The hardest part is deciding to actually forgive someone. Healthy relationships are not possible if there is unforgiveness in your heart. Refusing to forgive makes your own life miserable, but some people prefer to hold on to the anger rather than forgive. Research has shown that chronic unforgiveness is stressful. It is associated with increased risk for coronary disease and other stress-related disorders. Studies are also being done to see if unforgiveness may be related to cancer.

Why is forgiving so difficult?
Being angry with someone is empowering. It makes us feel in control when someone has hurt us. When we let the anger go, we not only feel empty but we feel powerless. Every person who has been seriously abused has control issues. If we are in control of something, even our anger, we feel we may have a chance to survive the abuse. The hard part is learning that the anger hurts us and we can be in control without hurting ourselves or others. Forgiveness offers us a peaceful and healing resolution.

According to Carolyn Myss when you have issues from the past that have not been resolved you lose a great deal of energy each day just holding on to that anger. Each time you think about it, worry about it, talk about it, or just feel badly about it you are using precious energy. What a waste of energy it is to stay angry for years. According to Joyce Meyers too not forgive is like taking poison but hoping the other person will die because of it. Anger and unforgiveness destroys your life—not the person with whom you are angry. Your unforgiveness doesn’t bother them at all. When you forgive, you do it for yourself—not the other person!

Joyce Meyers says there are seven reasons why we should forgive.
1) Because God says to! (We really don’t need another reason. This is the most important one.)
2) Faith doesn’t work if you don’t. (Not only can we not love other people with forgiveness in our hearts, we can’t truly love God.)
3) When there is unforgiveness the inner man is spiritually dirty.
4) Unforgiveness causes torture in your life. (The spirit has been poisoned and depression can begin.)
5) It blocks your personal relationship with God.
6) You can’t love with unforgivenss in your heart. (Love is the greatest weapon of spiritual warfare.)
7) You open the door to the devil when you harbor unforgiveness.

How Do I Forgive?

As you begin the act of forgiveness, it helps to focus on the healing you want, not the pain you are feeling. According to Emmitt Fox, the first step in forgiveness is to be willing to forgive. When you reach that point the process will be much easier. A conscious decision must be made.

You must acknowledge your own inner pain. These feelings need to be expressed in non-hurtful ways. Writing in a journal may help. Dr. John Gray has a wonderful technique called “The Forgiveness Letter”. This letter is actually written in three parts.
Part 1: The Feeling Letter (write your feelings down)
Part 2: The Response Letter (write the response you would like to receive from the person)
Part 3: The Forgiveness Letter (write a letter forgiving them)
This process can be very helpful and allows you to express your feelings. These letters do not need to be mailed.

  • Try to remember good times with this person. Or good things that happened. Happy holidays. Gifts. Anything you can remember. Focusing on the good helps us let go of the bad.
  • Affirmations may help. Make up an affirmation (sentence forgiving the person) and write or say it over and over. At first it will be difficult to write these affirmations. Eventually it will become easier. You’re almost there.
  • The hardest part comes last. Bless the person. Even if you don’t mean it, ask for good things to come to this person. When you reach the point where you truly do want good things to happen to them, you have forgiven. (Add this person to your prayer list.)Forgiveness is not forgetting, pretending the event didn’t happen, nor is it excusing the behavior. Some people may have to be forgiven more than once. If it’s someone you want to have a relationship with, forgiveness may be an ongoing process. But to forgive does not mean that you have to reconcile with the person. That is a separate decision. Forgiving is letting go of your anger, pain and bitterness. (It’s not really about the other person at all. It’s done to make you feel better, not them.) It does not mean you have to set yourself up to be abused again and again. The act of forgiveness takes the poison of anger out of your body. It cleanses your system and may actually prevent illness. It is a gift you give to yourself.The decision to forgive shows a level of maturity that is admirable. When we choose to forgive we are also setting a good example for our children.Joyce Meyers also has one more good point worth mentioning. Once you make the decision to forgive, your feelings won’t automatically change. The inner work has begun but the actual forgiveness takes longer. Your feelings are not you. Don’t let them control you. Press on. If your decision to forgive is real, it will happen. Have faith.
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