The Truth About Forgiveness - The Part No One Tells You
People seem to want to believe that forgiveness is an overnight or immediate feeling. Like you decide to forgive and then those bad feelings about the person go away completely. Just like the puzzle pictured above, forgiveness is about putting the pieces back together. It takes time and a lot of effort. It's about re-claiming YOU from the person who tried to take part of you. Forgiveness is a choice one must make to move on with their lives. It is a process one must work through to finally get to the end of that long, dark tunnel.
For everyone who has been hurt, which I am assuming we all have been, the decision to actually forgive is a big one. Holding onto the hurt, anger and possibly even hate seems so much easier than actually letting it go. The thing is, holding onto the resentment and feelings of anger only turn into bitterness which in turn starts seeping into daily life and into our reactions to family members and people in general. The anger, hurt and pain can be seen with things we say, how we react to certain situations and even how we love. It affects how we wake up each day and see our world. Once fully developed, bitterness can turn us into hateful creatures that a lot of people don't even want to be around.
This doesn't sound like how anyone wants to live their life, but those small feelings do grow. They are fertilized by thoughts we have and dwell on. Someone said it really well by calling them "Anger Fantasies". Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming of how you would react differently to the situation that hurt you? Possibly how you would confront that person now or, even darker, how you would kill that person? Whoa! Hold up did I just say KILL? Yes I did.
For those of us who have been hurt, and I mean hurt BAD, this is definitely something in question. Those cruel, heartless people who have taken more than can EVER be given back definitely hold that place in one's heart of evil thoughts and feelings. I've definitely been there before with a few people in my life and I know I'm not alone.
So what is the point of forgiving? What is the point of letting go and moving on and I mean REALLY forgiving that person or persons who has hurt you so badly in your life? I will say it all in one word:
You will be set free inside your SOUL, your MIND and your HEART. You will be able to move on and process the hurt and pain in a healthy way and eventually be able to see that person with pity and, if you are a Christian, with the love of God. When you find yourself able to pray for that person in a GOOD way, not condemning, then you have made it. BUT this doesn't mean those feelings will NEVER creep back into your heart. It doesn't mean you won't cry yourself to sleep some nights because of the damage done AND it doesn't mean that you have to talk to, like or ever see that person again. For some of you that would even be dangerous to do so. Forgiveness doesn't mean giving that person full reign in your personal life. Sometimes it means never talking to them again for your own protection. I've been in that situation of forgiveness, as well as many of you.
It took me YEARS to even get to the point of WANTING to forgive. I prayed so many times that God would put that desire in my heart because I know what unforgiveness can do to people. I have seen such sweet people turned bitter and cold because of an unfortunate and terrible circumstance in their life. I never wanted that. I never wanted to let the person who already stole so much from me, steal my peace and livelihood on top of it. With God's help, lots of prayer and many nights of tears I can finally say, "Barry, I forgive you." I don't love him, I don't see him because he is dead (which I will add does help one forgive a lot faster), and I don't pray for him. BUT I do know I have forgiven him. There are nights, yes, that I do cry because of the things that happened. I do cry because it should have never been. That's okay though. It is a process I may walk for a long time but I do know he has not stolen my peace. He has not stolen my ability to be happy in this world and he has not taken my SOUL. I will not let that happen.
So for those of you out there actually reading this long post to the end, know that forgiveness is a choice and a process. Something you will have to work through. It starts with the choice of forgiving them, then when you find yourself feeling those bad feelings, taking control of your thoughts and NOT letting them infiltrate your mind and soul. Slowly you will find yourself having an easier time of it. One day when you hear that persons name you won't find yourself feeling badly towards them. You will actually wish them well in life. If you do pray, ask God to help you, because he will.
Just don't let that horrible circumstance ruin your life with bitterness and hate. Don't let them have your peace.
God bless you all and thanks for reading.