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Forgiveness is a word that can be used loosely, like the word love.
I remember growing up in school. There was a girl in my class that wasn’t very nice to me.
She came to school one day and showed off her new shirt. As much as I tried to be nice to her she won’t stop bullying me.
The teachers didn’t do anything about…so I felt. So I decided to take things in my own hands.
While everyone was working. I grabbed a permanent green marker and started to draw on the back of her beautiful shirt.
Boy, did I get in trouble….not just from my teacher, but also my parents.
As my punishment, the teacher made me write lines and also a letter to her apologizing.
I never understood why I needed to write a letter apologizing to this bully.
Ok, I get it, I did something wrong, but she had mistreated me for months unnoticed.
Every fiber in me didn’t want to write that letter, but I did.
“I’m sorry for writing on your shirt” were the words I penned, but I knew I didn’t mean any word I wrote.
I’m sure that girl didn’t accept my apology at that time either.
We are taught once you do something to apologize and to accept their apology. But I believe it goes deeper than that.
As a Christian, I need to forgive those that have hurt me. I do this not just for their sake but for mine.
The bible says to forgive so God will forgive us.
But I don’t want to forgive with just words but also with my heart.
What does forgiveness look like?
I think forgiveness looks differently for different people.
God is the only one that knows our hearts and knows whether we have truly forgiven someone. Because we have different personalities, He knows the process we have to go through and the time it will take.
We have all been through situations where we needed to forgive others. Some of us bigger than others.
According to John Hopkins Medicine
Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your physical health, lowering the risk of a heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
Unforgiveness is toxic. I want to be free from anything that can be toxic to my body and my relationship with God.
I want to share how I was able to forgive the unforgivable. I am not ready to share my testimony yet, but my family and I have been betrayed by someone we trusted.
And we are still working everything out with the Lord.
To start let’s look at the definition of forgive.
Forgive, according to Oxford Languages, means to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw or mistake.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you will stop hurting. It doesn’t mean you will forget.
Forgiveness is a process and in this process, the hurt will start to wither away.
My first step was to chose to forgive. As I mentioned before, it is a process. The hurt and mistrust might not be resolved right away but I have decided in my mind that I am going to forgive.
I couldn’t get through the forgiveness process without prayer. Only God can help me truly forgive.
Related Post: Understanding God’s Timing
God wants to make us more like Christ, so as I pray and share how I feel, He helps me by encouraging me, strengthening me and showing me His heart. I also ask God to help me to forgive.
In prayer, I prayed for the person.
Yes, this is scripture, Matthew 5:44, and it is super helpful. This part can be hard but it really helped me. Praying for your enemies actually softens your heart towards your enemy.
At first, your prayer might be short such as “bless them Lord”, but after a while, your prayer will change and you will notice the difference.
5 Myths on Forgiveness
I have heard many myths on forgiveness which I want to address. These myths can prevent you from getting healed. These myths can make you feel guilty because you believe your forgiveness must look a certain way.
1) Forgiveness is about the other person.
Forgiveness is a gift for you. It it to release you from all the spiritual and physical effects.
2) You must forgive and forget
The pain will start to decrease, but that doesn’t mean you will forget. I shouldn’t forget but learn from it. Forgetting abuse can lead to dangerous consequences.
3) Forgiveness is a decision
We make a decision, yes, but forgiveness is a process. It will take time and effort, but God will help you through the process.
4) Forgiveness and reconciliation is the same thing
There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation is the rebuilding of the relationship, while forgiveness is releasing anger and resentment. Forgiveness is required for reconciliation, but reconciliation is not required for forgiveness. We want to strive for reconciliation, but there may be times this cannot be done.
5) I need to tell the person, I’ve forgiven them.
Forgiveness is about your freedom, so telling the other person is not required. With that being said, if your motive is pure and you would like to tell them you have forgiven them, go ahead.
If you have someone to forgive, follow the prayer guideline below:
Lord, I chose to forgive (NAME) for (list what the person did to hurt you) even though it made me feel (list feelings)
This is just the beginning of the prayer, you are to add as you need.
Remember forgiveness is for you. Even if the person didn’t apologize, we are still to forgive them.
Below are some resources that can be helpful with forgiveness.
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Until next time, Take care and God bless