One thing we all share as humans is the need for forgiveness. None of us is without fault. One of my biggest faults is not forgiving quickly enough. I struggle with letting go. I'm getting better at it with Gods help but my husband is so much better at it than me!
In bible study we just did a whole chapter the last two weeks on forgiveness and I wanted to share some myths about forgiveness that our authors came up with.
*forgiving means forgetting.
*forgiving means no longer feeling pain or anger over what our offender did.
*forgiveness should only be granted after our offenders apologize, promise to change or offer to repay for damages done.
*forgiving our offenders means giving them permission to continue to abuse or hurt us.
*forgiving should be easy since God commands it.
I love these myths! Lets face it we are human and once something is done to us that is wrong be it physical or someone's careless words we can't just forget it or wipe it from our memory. We may want to but we can't. We Can choose to not dwell on it. But the pain or anger of the past will creep up on us quite unexpectedly and it is our choice to bring that hurt or thought captive and not let it control us.
I have been hurt by people's words about my race, my choice in marriage, my relationship with God etc and I have had to forgive those people even before they were willing to apologize because let's face it sometimes you never get an apology. But you forgive for your own peace of mind. That doesn't mean what they did or said was ok but in order to move forward and get healthy you forgive.
I also like how the authors said it doesn't mean you give them permission or opportunity to hurt you again. I've had someone verbally annihilate me and then expect me to willingly allow them the chance to come on over and do it again. No thank you. I forgive you but you are no longer allowed to abuse me because I am not a doormat. Sometimes we need to put healthy boundaries up. And trust me the person won't understand or like it but sometimes you have to do what is best for you!
Forgiveness is never easy, but it is very freeing. Once you are able to just let things go and move on, which may take weeks, months, or maybe years, you can really start a new. I once told a friend, "I have too many great things to look forward to and live for than to dwell on being mad at someone over something silly." And for the big things in life I realize that forgiveness takes time, it requires a lot of God's help, but that it is also healthy for me and the people involved to give a second/third/fourth, etc chance because I'm just as guilty, and I want forgiveness, so therefore I try to give it.