Forgiveness : part two

For so long I have struggled with forgiveness, but once I had that revelation that forgiveness is actually all about processing pain, about facing pain from the past and dealing with it, the journey to truly forgiving someone else has become so much more easier.

I am going to break down the journey to true forgiveness into some practical steps.

First thing to do is to put into words how the person who hurt you made you feel. Ask Holy Spirit to help you identify the source of the pain that you are feeling. Ask why I am feeling this way, what is the entry point for this pain and what lies from my past am I believing.

Next you need to strengthen your broken places, strengthen the weak places in your soul. You need to connect with the pain that you are feeling instead of running away from it. Regardless of the reasons your hurting or your numb, the way out is to dive straight in. Spending time with God to process your past pain is so important. Allow Him to answer questions that have carried hurt. By doing this you will become a master at discovering your pain and healing your soul.

Then, ask the Holy Spirit how He sees that person who has hurt you and experience His compassion for them. Once you feel that compassion for them extending forgiveness is much easier. Then pray a prayer of forgiveness for that person. Remember that forgiveness is a choice. It is an act of our will not our emotions. You cannot measure the depth of your forgiveness by your feelings. As you remind yourself over and over again that you choose to release from punishment the person who has hurt you, the pain in your soul begins to ease.

Your behaviour also needs to change once you have released forgiveness. If I am bitter at somebody and I forgive them my behaviour towards them has to change. If your internal decision of forgiveness does not affect your behaviour, then you have no evidence that you have forgiven. God has called us into a lifestyle of forgiveness and it has to be proven through our actions.

We start our day with what Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

At the beginning of my day I make the decision to live redemptively and that before I am sinned against, before I am hurt by somebody, I prepare to forgive. It is a commitment that I make each and every day, that I am going to live the life of a forgiving person.

It does not mean that all of the abuse, hurt and pain that happens to me is justified or right, it just means that I am not going to become controlled by the sins of another person. I am making the choice to not let bitterness dictate to me my thoughts, my feelings and my actions.

And then in the book of Ephesians (4:26-27)  it says “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”.

So I start my day as a redemptive person. I decide before anything happens that today I am going to live as a forgiver. I am going to release people and refuse to be bound by bitterness. Then at the end of the day, I do not let the sun go down on my anger. I may have experienced hurt and anger because things have happened to me, but I am not going to let it control me.

At the end of the day I have to make sure that I go to sleep with peace. If I don’t then that bitterness and unforgiveness begins to get worse and worse in my mind, heart and soul and it gets woven into my personality, into my thinking and becomes a part of the fabric of who I am. The longer I leave it there the more it begins to define me.

Jesus wants us every day to have a fresh start. At the beginning of the day we commit to being a forgiving person and then at the end of the day we work through the pain from the day and we clean out our heart and we start new and fresh each day.

Forgiveness : part one

I had someone who had hurt me. They had said things that were untrue about me, they were attacking my identity. My identity can be my weak spot. I thought I had worked through what had happened and had forgiven, dealt with it and moved on. The further I was from the situation the more closure I thought I had.

But something happened again, and all the hurt feelings came rushing back in.  I wanted the world to know my side of the story, I wanted to stand up and start defending myself and I wanted justice to be served.

But I knew that I could not do that. It was not honourable to start a he said she said campaign, but I was still feeling hurt and absolutely miserable over it and I just didn’t know how to move on.

I was in an environment where I still had to see this person. It wasn’t like I could just walk away and never see them again and each time I would see them I would hurt all over again.

Physically it was affecting me, I would tense up and I am sure the expression on my face was not a good one. I would behave differently around them or at events where we were sharing the same space. My thoughts were definitely not aligned with Gods thoughts for this person and even though I did not express my displeasure of this person to others I am sure that they knew how I felt by watching me.

My unforgiveness and bitterness was changing me.

It had woven itself into the fabric of who I was, and I was becoming a completely different person to who I was actually created to be.

I reached a breaking point where I just cried out to God. I was so busy trying to hide my pain away that I forgot to run to the one who could actually help me heal.

So, I asked God, why is it that I am still feeling this way? There is nothing that I can do about what this person has done, the only thing I can do is work on myself. So, God what is it, tell me how I can get closure over this and stop feeling this pain? And then I was silent, and He began to speak directly to me.

God said to me that I had taken God off the throne in my life and I had put myself there. I was trying to dish out my own kind of punishment and I had forgotten that forgiving someone meant that I give God permission to get justice on my behalf and I release people from my own form of judgment, from my attempts to get justice through punishment.

That revelation hit me so hard and it brought me to my knees in repentance. I could not see that that was what I had done. That I had removed God from the throne and put myself there. That I was dealing out my own form of punishment but all it was doing was affecting me and those over who I had influence.

On the spot I repented for what I had done. I said to God I am so sorry for doing that and I felt God release His forgiveness to me straight away. I love how He forgives in an instant and my heart was able to receive it and really take it in.

And then there was more… God said to me, stop looking to the world for validation, stop trying to make a place for yourself in this world, you already have a place in my heart. He showed me what my pain really was, and He spoke to it.

This person who said things about me was not my pain, they were just the face of my pain, they were pushing the trigger for my pain.  My pain was over my identity, struggling to know who I am and to find a place in this world. Worrying about what other people thought of me when all that really matters is what God thinks of me.

He knew the truth and He spoke it out over me. He will deal with that person’s heart who was speaking lies about me, that is actually between them and God,. They are answerable for what they say and do to God and I need not worry about that and in that moment, I actually felt compassion for them.

After going through this whole process with God I felt so much lighter, like I could breathe again. I felt a sense of closure in my heart. I was then able to walk back into situations with this person who had hurt me, and I now was no longer trying to punish them through my bitterness towards them, in fact, I felt nothing. I was able to act and function from my true identity. They no longer held any power over me.

For so long I have struggled with forgiveness, but once I had that revelation that forgiveness is actually all about processing pain, about facing pain from the past and dealing with it, the journey to truly forgiving someone else has become so much more easier.

Pain is like an onion, you peel one layer back at a time, and I am sure that I have plenty more things to process with God, weeding out the pain from my heart so that I can live truly alive.