Christmas Eve I confessed to having the most DIFFICULT year of my life. The reason I struggled more than I imagined had nothing to do with being a new mom, which is what most people would suspect. Instead, it actually had everything to do with me truly learning the meaning of forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t something that you are taught. It actually is self learned, and some never learn how to do it at all. It took me a full year to truly understand how to forgive after an experience of what I perceived as pure insanity and lack of compassion.
1. Being Offended Never Works
When I was so deeply hurt by other’s actions, what I perceived as cruelty had actually NOTHING to do with me. Still I was truly offended. The ill behavior was evidence of others reacting to a situation based on their own fear and internal wounds. The problem began when I took it personally.
It is extremely challenging to walk in someone else’s shoes when you feel as if you are being attacked. The truth is that when you are offended by another’s actions, you have taken it personally. Even if the other has intended to hurt you, that person is actually more pained than you are. Hurt people hurt people. Loving people do not.
2. Forgiveness Is Given | Trust Is Earned
Forgiveness is necessary so that you can heal and be free. When you don’t forgive you carry that pain with you forever. Can you imagine carrying a heavy suitcase with you everyday instead of your usual handbag? Now, for every experience that you have not forgiven, let’s just add another heavy suitcase. That’s how holding a grudge feels to your spirit.
Now if you allow forgiveness to come into your life, you have lightened your emotional, spiritual, and physical load. That weight on your heart… GONE. That heaviness on your spirit… LIFTED. That ache in your body… DISSIPATED.
Now just because you have forgiven someone doesn’t mean that you allow them back into your life the way that they were before. Forgive freely, yet they must EARN your trust.
3. Protect Your Heart
We all have something special that we may desire to share with the world, yet we can’t have our arms open to everyone. Some won’t want to see you succeed, and that sadly is the nature of life. It is important to protect your heart and your loved ones from those who do not understand and/or support you.
I don’t believe that we are on this planet to be carbon copies of each other. If we were, we would be very boring. It is our uniqueness that adds spice to life.
Because some will simply not understand where you are coming from, you have the choice to protect your heart from unnecessary judgement and mistreatment. Some will be fine with who you are, but there’s no need to fight others who don’t support you. I’m sure there is something better you can do with your time and energy. How about live your dream!
4. You Can’t Forgive On Your Own
When you feel absolutely devastated by what someone else has done, pray to God to help you forgive. There is NO WAY I could have forgiven myself or others on my own. I honestly felt that what I experienced last year was God providing me with the opportunity to build my relationship with Him. I had neglected it.
I will be 100% transparent by admitting that I at first turned to family, friends, and associates to “help” me through that challenging time, and it backfired. My actions alienated me from a few people, and most likely I just looked down right CRAZY. Pain can make you look crazy, and the average person has no idea what to do, so they run for cover.
My suggestion would be to seek out a qualified therapist or minister to help you, and to PRAY. When you speak words to others that reflect your offended-ness, you only add to your SOUL WOUNDS and the wounds of others. You would think that it would make you feel better, but it doesn’t. I tried. It instead continues a vicious cycle of pain. One trusted professional, and most importantly GOD will be what creates the transformation you need.
5. You Will Know When It Happens
Once I realized that turning to family and friends wasn’t working, I started praying EVERYDAY to become clear on what I was supposed to learn from all of this pain. I rolled my eyes when I realized that I had to learn what forgiveness really meant. Still I prayed non stop. I prayed to God to show me how, and to help me.
One day (mind you it took me a full year) I woke up and I felt different. The heavy burden had lifted. My sunshine had come back, and I felt like myself again. That was the day that I felt LOVE fill me up fully. The forgiveness that I had been praying for had finally happened.
No matter what has happened in your life, no matter how dark, ugly, cruel, insane, and painful, you CAN forgive. Your soul is depending upon it. Don’t feel rushed with this process. You will have a different timeline based on what happened and where you are in your life. Just know it is possible to forgive, no matter what.
Lastly, please don’t make my mistake of going to others and sharing your offended words which create more soul wounds. Save your words for love and healing when you are ready, and pray in the meantime.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)