Today, I heard of an acquaintance’s father passing away unexpectedly. That is a horrible way to be awakened. My prayer for her was that the peace of God that passeth all understanding guard her and her family’s heart and mind. I also wanted to say to her that this is a season that her and her family has to go through and they will come out on the other end with beautiful memories that don’t include pain. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I didn’t know whether that was true or not. Let me explain.
The death of a parent or anyone close to you can leave you feeling empty and alone. It could be that you didn’t learn all the you wanted to from this person. Or it could be that you didn’t tell them how much they meant to you, or it could simply be that you will miss them tremendously. These are all perfectly healthy feelings to have.
But what happens when this is someone that did something to you that you never forgave. Or how about if the offender never acknowledged or apologized for the wrong doing. Now i’m not talking misunderstanding here, i’m talking some low down dirty stuff. What do you do then?
Man that is so much harder than you think but you’ve got to…
Unforgiveness is a POISON that kills you!! I’ve heard Joyce Meyer say that unforgiveness is likened to a person who can’t/won’t forgive, drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person. The truth is, it is spiritual poison that not only kills your soul but it also affects you physically. Here’s what some researchers are saying:
- “Forgiveness of self and others has been the most powerful predictor of both depression and suicide ideation.” Journal of Applied Sciences 2009, Vol.v9, Issue 19, pgs. 3598-3601
- “Forgiveness therapy is recognized as a powerful method of breaking cycles of hostility, anger and hatred.” Elliot 2010
- “Most of the diseases of abnormal immune function are remarkably linked to psychological stress.”Robert Scaer, MD, from The Trauma Spectrum
- “In nurturing a patient’s will to live, the first step is locating and treating past traumas. These poorly healed scars drain a significant portion of energy, and they hamper the body’s capacity for self-defense.”David Servan-Schreiber, MD, from AntiCancer
- “Recent research reports that “a number of chronic health conditions have been identified as health conditions with social and interpersonal etiologies (originations) and consequences. Forgiveness interventions offer important insights for management and treatment of these conditions.” Elliott 2010
And they go on and on.
Forgiveness is POWERFUL tool that should be in everyone’s toolbox of life. It really can propel to greater heights and freedoms never thought possible.
Ok so HOW do you forgive? I’ve asked myself that question a time or 2. Here are some practical methods that I used albeit, one deals with pre-forgiveness.
1. Offer GRACE
Do you know why people are offended and find themselves in unforgiveness? They feel they have a right to be offended. Think about it. People don’t do what we believe is appropriate and that gives us the green light to place them in the box of unforgiveness. The only way they get to come out of that box is if they have been punished. But have you considered that they hurt others because they’ve never been taught to love and your act of grace and understanding towards them may be their first encounter with another way…a better way of going through life. I’m not saying give the Jeffrey Dahmer’s of the world a free pass to do the things they do. They need to be in jail and away from easy access to hurt people. But those hurt by them NEED to forgive because they are still here and to perpetuate the hate they’ve felt, keeps his legacy of hurting others alive. Let it die with him.
2. DECIDE to forgive
You just have to decide to forgive. Just commit to forgiving them. In unforgiveness, there are certain actions you do that are cues you are in unforgiveness. For example, you may see the person coming your way and you cross the street, or turn around. Or they may come up to you and try to engage and you act as if they don’t exist. Or you talk about them to other people (spreading the unforgiving spirit). Or you may never talk to them again. Whatever it is, decide to forgive and reverse all the actions that signify that you are in unforgiveness. So acknowledge them when they talk to you, go talk to them, don’t avoid them, confront them about the hurt and actively seek reconciliation. If they respond in kind, then accept it and move on. Now here’s the kicker, if the DON’T respond in kind, ACCEPT it and move on. You have now killed the seed that set up residence in you.
3. Seek the Holy Spirit
Seek for and receive the help of the holy spirit by calling out to God. He is the author and finisher of all things that are pure and when you call on him, he won’t leave you nor forsake you.
Unforgiveness is a process but when you truly decide and actively seek to forgive, over time as you master the steps above, you will wake up on the other side with new understanding and a healthier YOU!!