Part 1 of 2
“Refusing to forgive is like taking a lethal dose of poison and hoping it kills my enemy” – Max Lucado
Forgive and Forget…is it possible? Many would agree that this is not. How can you forget a situation that causes heartache, sadness, anger, or deep betrayal? How can you forgive a person whose behaviors and decisions have shaken your entire world? Forgiving someone who has in a single moment, caused you to question everything you knew of them or about yourself can seem almost impossible. You may think, “they don’t deserve my forgiveness” or “I will never forgive them as long as I live!” The choice to forgive is definitely a personal decision, however refusing to do so will make you a prisoner to your past and limits future experiences. Now, I am not saying that you should forgive and forget. We are not in the movie Men in Black where the single push of a button can eliminate memories, though many of us may think that would me amazing! I am saying that the person or persons who hurt you do not deserve power over your ability to love, the company you keep, your attitude, your ability to care for others, your perception of yourself or your achieving goals and dreams. When emotional wounds run so deep that the thought of them makes your stomach turn, it is hard to imagine how you would begin to forgive. I think this is because many have a misunderstanding about what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness = Freedom
Forgiveness is NOT condoning the person’s behavior. You can forgive and still refuse to condone what the person did. Forgiveness does not give the person permission to hurt you again. It does not make what they did okay.
Forgiveness is not ignoring the situation or pretending it didn’t happen. It did happen; forgiveness is the start of the healing process.
Forgiveness is not reconciliation. Forgiving does not mean that you have to continue having the person in your life. Reconciliation is a choice. You can choose not to have the person in your life or not. You can forgive without reconciling.
Forgiveness is NOT a warm and fuzzy feeling you have towards someone. It is a conscious decision you make to release the toxicity that comes from holding a grudge, anger and resentment.
Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their actions; it prevents their actions from destroying you!