Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to forgive

We're told a lot to forgive and know that it's good for our health, and it's just all around an important thing to do. As I was talking with some people recently and thinking about it more myself, I realized me, including others want to know how to forgive. It's easy to tell everyone including yourself that we need to forgive but how to get it done? Like really forgive.. having our hearts full of Christ-like love towards others, especially those who have wronged us no matter the extent. The kind of forgiveness like Chris Williams, and so many others who soften their hearts and allow the love of Christ to work through them, healing not only themselves but the person needing forgiveness.

I'm convinced that forgiveness and love create miracles, they are very powerful. Imagine if the world was full of a lot more of this instead of revenge, grudges, judging.... unconditional love is the answer.

Learning how to forgive does not come naturally to us. In fact, forgiveness runs counter to our human nature and our desire for revenge. We want justice. Sadly, we don't trust God with that. We need more than just our own strength.

Reading around, some things specifically stood out and inspired me as far as how to forgive.

Understanding our worth.
We are all wounded. We are all inadequate. On our best days, our self-esteem hovers somewhere between feeble and fragile. All it takes is disapproval—or perceived disapproval—to send us staggering. These attacks bother us because we forget who we really are.

As believers, you and I are forgiven children of God. We have been lovingly adopted into his royal family as his sons and daughters. Our true worth comes from our relationship to him, not from our appearance, our performance or our net worth. When we remember that truth, criticism bounces off us like BBs ricocheting off a rhino. The trouble is that we forget.

We seek others' approval. When they reject us instead, it hurts. By taking our eyes off God and his acceptance and putting them on the conditional acceptance of our boss, spouse, or friend, we set ourselves up to be hurt. We forget that other people are incapable of unconditional love.

Understanding others.
Sometimes our critics have ulterior motives. An old proverb from India goes, "Some men try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others." They try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. You have probably had the experience of being put down by a nasty remark. When that happens, it is easy to forget that others are broken just like us.

Jesus understood the brokenness of the human condition. No one knows the human heart like Him. He forgave tax collectors and prostitutes, and forgave his best friend Peter, for betraying him. On the cross, he even forgave the people who killed him. He knows that humans—all humans—are weak.
For us, though, it usually doesn't help to know that those who have hurt us are weak. All we know is that we were injured and we can't seem to get over it. Nevertheless, if we want to be forgiven, we need to forgive.

Understanding God's role.
When we have been hurt, our instinct is to hurt back. We want to make the other person pay for what they did. But exacting revenge steps over the line into God's territory.
Ever heard of the saying, "Let go and let God"? We need to let it go, like Chris Williams stated, and leave it to God to take care of. Trust that He knows our hurt and how to make things right.

How can we let it go when we have been unjustly hurt?
Rolling our burdens onto the Lord—that's the secret of life, and the secret of how to forgive. Trusting God. Depending on him instead of ourselves. It's a hard thing but not a complicated thing. It's the only way we can truly forgive.

I can remember the day my Mikayla died and the raw, unbearable pain I felt. I could barely do anything but just try to survive. I had no strength of my own, I had no will to move on. Then, all of that turned into anger and I was furious! Turning the blame from myself to God.
God, how could let this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this!? I don't understand, why would you take my sweet, innocent baby girl away from me so early? Don't you understand how much I love her, and how much this hurts? WHY?

I cried and cried and sobbed and just wanted this all to end. I needed someone to blame, didn't I? My little girl has been ripped away from me and I need justice, right?
Wrong. I fought these feelings for a while, it didn't happen just overnight. But overtime I felt my heart softening as I was putting my burdens, sorrows and broken heart on Christ. I turned them over to Him and He has helped heal me more than I ever could on my own.

Some other thoughts that I liked:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
 Wow, that's powerful!

"At my angriest point, I was convinced the person who hurt me did it with full intention and cruelty. I felt not a shred of compassion; just unadulterated pain and rage. Then I realized: unless someone is a sociopath, they are rarely without feeling. And if they’ve hurt another person, even if their ego prevents them from admitting it, odds are they feel remorse on some level.

No one is purely bad, and everyone carries their own pain which influences the decisions they make. This doesn’t condone their thoughtless, insensitive, or selfish decisions, but it makes them easier to understand.
After all, we’ve all been thoughtless, insensitive, and selfish at times. Usually, we have good intentions."

So how do you forgive someone when every fiber of your being resists? How do you look at them lovingly when you still have the memory of their unloving action? How do let go of the way you wish things had worked out if only they made a different choice?

  1. I remember them as a child and it’s much easier! -Joy Thompson
  2. I remind myself that I forgive not for them but for me and that it’s easier to forgive than to hang on to so much anger, hurt and betrayal. -Sarah Clark
  3. I just acknowledge that we are humans, so we are allowed to make mistakes. -Haydee Lizbeth Lopez Cruz
  4. Remind yourself that they are not separate from you; they only appear that way. Then you will realize you are one, and it is yourself you are forgiving. -Justin Hayden
  5. Do not keep thinking of the past or the bad thing that happened; when you let go of it, you get over the anger/bitterness that you felt and it clears the path of forgiveness! The best thing is time! -Ashna Singh
  6. Remember that we are all doing the best we can at the time. -Diane Paul
  7. Remind yourself of how much forgiveness would mean to you if it was your turn for a mistake! – Carol Mcbride-Safford
  8. Wayne Dwyer describes how hate is love which has been turned around. Seeing the expression of what can’t be forgiven as love makes it easier to forgive. Were also all doing the best we can, according to our own evolutionary state, including those we find hard to forgive. – Lise Heeley
  9. Because it takes less energy to love and forgive than it does to stay angry and hold a grudge. It brings peace to your life. -Linda Adams
  10. I know that I need to forgive someone, not for their benefit, but for my own peace of mind. Don’t do it for them, do it for you! -Cathryn Kent
  11. You remember why you love them. Love is about forgiveness.- Holly Chapman
  12. Forgiveness comes easier with the passing of time. I tend to find that, if I am wronged, I forgive the person before they forgive themselves, and when I am in need of forgiveness, it is I who feels the guilt for longer. -Mandy Richardson
  13. Stop thinking and just do it. Open your heart and forgive. -Lindsey Windrow
  14. Don’t force it. If I don’t feel forgiving, I can at least not act on my anger. Eventually forgiveness will come if you welcome it. -Julie Trottier
  15. Just learn to smile and let things go. -Sudharma Lama
  16. Give up on all hope of a better past. -Matt Child
  17. Every time you think of them send them love. After a while it gets easy. -Crystal Chang
  18. Meditate, meditate and meditate some more until it’s gone! -Margot Knight-Guijt
  19. The harder it is to forgive someone else, the more I am responsible. When I understand and forgive myself, forgiving others is easy. -Pamela Picard
  20. Two different approaches. One involves restoring your boundaries and sense of protection first. The other involves focusing on what your body is feeling and stop dwelling on the offense. Both involve being present. -Chris Campa
  21. Forgiveness comes easy when you know that what people say or do is about them, it’s not about you. -Kim Kings
  22. Shift the focus, feel the pain and think of the thousands of others in the world who are also feeling the same pain, then send a loving-kindness message to everyone to be relieved of this suffering. -Nick Ong
  23. When it happens I often ask myself “What strengths must I develop further from this?” Often the feeling of resentment just goes away, slowly but surely, because I wasn’t focusing on the person that wronged me, but the lesson that the event was trying to tell me. -Natassia Callista Alicia
  24. I allow myself to feel again whatever I didn’t express “in the moment” when I was with them. Forgiveness always seem to follow those (usually) difficult emotions. -Cynthia Ruprecht Hunt
  25. Write a brutally honest, emotionally raw letter telling them how much they have hurt and angered you, then tear it up and burn it. As you watch the smoke rise, think about the fact that you are not that hurt and that anger. It is fleeting, just like everything else. As the smoke carrying your hurt and disappointment disappears into the air, you can let it go. -Renate Wuersig
  26. For some wrongs, I just have to remember that they are responsible for their actions and then it is easier for me to just let it be. -Karen Garland
  27. By remembering that it will free me from the burden of the stress I feel, also, if I can’t forgive then how can I expect to ever be forgiven? -Leslie Brown
  28. Just look to the future instead of focusing on what’s past…think of creating new good memories to wipe away old bad ones. -Elizabeth Lindsay
  29. It becomes easy when you remember a time when you were forgiven, centering on how it made you feel. -Louisya Graves
  30. Understand this: whether you like it or not, over time, you will stop feeling the pain, so why hold on to something that’s going to go away anyway? -Nirav KAKU
How did I forgive when it was hard? I came to this realization: no one ever gets to the end of their life and thinks, “I wish I stayed angry longer.” They generally say one of three things: “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you,” or “I love you.

This REALLY helped me to read. I hope this helped more than just me. There is power in understanding people and there is power in forgiving and loving. These are really great thoughts from others.
Now I have to ask, how do YOU find a way to forgive? What helps you? I'd really love to hear.