How Forgiveness Heals
Anger, Forgiveness and Healing
How do we forgive when everything in us screams for justice?
Many believe horrendous sins are unforgivable. But at what cost does failure to release harmful emotions come?
This article leads you to contemplate the perplexity and conflict between offenses and your reactions.
When I choose (yes, it’s a choice) forgiveness, I am freed from the chains that bind my heart to pain. Choosing to hand over a violation, to God, opens our souls to healing.
Mercy may look absurd, even impossible if you’ve suffered from someone's abuse, anger, neglect, or malicious intent. There is only one way past these toxic emotions. You must make a conscious choice to release the offense.
Do you realize you don't have to struggle with your emotions to forgive? Forgiveness is not a feeling. Most likely you’ll never want to offer grace to the person who has wronged you.
This article will cover two types of hurts that hold the power to shatter your life. They are the pain of betrayal and parental failure.
Betrayal is a shake-up of our sense of security. It is a slap in the face by someone we trusted and with whom we felt safe.
When someone you trust deceives you, anguish and pain crush to the core. Perhaps betrayal came to you through an authority figure, a person who should have loved, and protected you.
The pain of betrayal, if left unchecked, will fester and spread destructive emotions throughout your soul.
We must deal with betrayal as Jesus did. As you read the gospels and learn about Jesus, you witness how he poured his life out, reached the unreachable and loved the unlovable. Yet betrayal followed Him everywhere He went.
Do you remember His words as he hung on the cross, nailed to a cruel tree by those who hated and betrayed Him? Jesus experienced betrayal, yet this was His response:
"Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." Luke 23:34.
When a Friend Betrays You
A friend is one in whom our heart trusts. When that trust breaks, it twists our world inside out and upside down.
When a friend or trusted confidant runs behind your back gossiping to others and scheming about you, it is more than disloyal. It is crude and mean-spirited. It is a betrayal of a bond of trust between alleged friends.
Friend betrayal prompts many tormenting questions like, "Why would she do this to me? Why didn't she work through this with me rather than scheming behind my back? I trusted her!
It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the person whom you claimed as a friend, the one with whom you were vulnerable did not protect your name but in fact, schemed against you.
Betrayal leaves your heart in a heap of ashes. The Innocence of trust violated. The rippling effects of betrayal and deception have the power to lead us to a crisis.
What will we do with our fragmented heart? How do you forgive a friend or confidant who has, so to speak, stuck a knife in your back?
Did Your Parent Fail You?
Did your parents fail you? Did you feel unloved because of parental detachment?
Did your Mom or Dad take their anger out on you, did they abuse you? We all know there are unspeakable abuses that go on behind closed doors.
Parenting failure, at any level, hurts a child and it follows them through life.
The child who has suffered through abuse, whether it be neglect, demeaning words, physical or sexual abuse, will grow up to pay the price for the sins of their parents or other trusted adult figures.
The child whose mother or father failed to provide a safe place to grow up will face many obstacles in life. Issues like abandonment, PTSD, fear, insecurity, panic attacks, low self- esteem and more are the result of parenting failures.
Many of us, hurt in childhood, harbor anger, pain, resentment, and UN-forgiveness. These agents of destruction are responses firmly planted in our hearts as children.
Some children have lived through horrific abuse in their home, the place where they should have been protected and sheltered.
A person wounded in childhood will trigger at the least memory of abuse.
Paul Hedgestrom, the founder of Life Skills International, said this about triggers: "When your reaction to a situation is greater than the situation calls for you can be sure it comes from your childhood."
Through Life Skills, I began to see the baggage I carried from childhood abuse. I finally understood why I triggered over seemingly, insignificant situations. In time, I learned to recognize the trigger. Being aware of why I triggered helped me to be proactive rather than reactive.
Identifying wrong thinking patterns is the first step. The second step is to counter those triggers with God's truth.
It takes practice and a commitment to counter every lie with truth, but with practice, you can change your life.
Healing the wounds of childhood is a process and forgiveness is the closure.
God helped me to forgive my parents. As I continually prayed for God's help to forgive, He came through and granted me sweet peace.
Trust in God
Do you believe in God?
I am a believer in God and His truth taught in the Bible.
As I have struggled with my emotional pain, I knew where to go for answers. As a believer in God, I believe he is creator, redeemer, friend and the giver of life. I go to God's Word for answers:
- What does God say about being offended or deeply hurt?
- What do I do with the rage and anger I feel?
- What would God have me do?
As I search the Bible, I see the answer; The answer is to forgive. WHAT, you might say, FORGIVE?
Yes, but Jesus calls us to not only forgive but also bless those who persecute you. I can almost hear your thoughts, "You've got to be kidding me!!!" Nope, He's not kidding. His ways are NOT our ways.
Here is how He explains the difference between man and God: Isa 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Here is a taste of the council in the Bible regarding forgiveness:
- "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." I John 4:20
- "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." Col. 3:13
- "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you." Matthew 6:14
- "And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25
- "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:21, 22
- "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17-21
- "No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord."
As a believer, my motivation to forgive includes my profound gratitude for the forgiveness God has given to me for my sin. Jesus died in my place to cover that sin.
The one who created me knows how I tick. His word tells me how to handle all of life's circumstances. His word is truth. If I want to be forgiven for the wrongs I have done, God says I MUST forgive those who have wronged me.
Matthew West - Forgiveness
Break the Bondage
A wise friend of mine taught me what he called the forgiveness Prayer (thank you, Mark.) This prayer enabled me to break the bondage of unforgiveness.
A few years ago an offense happened that hurt me to the core; It was an attack on my husband's character. "
I consciously and repeatedly prayed this prayer of forgiveness for three days. On the third day, something very profound and miraculous happened. I FELT the forgiveness I prayed for in Faith.
My heart felt completely mended, and my attitude was supernaturally changed. God put compassion in my heart for the man who had hurt us so deeply.
Below I will share this very healing prayer. I prayed this every time hurt or angry thoughts surfaced. Pray it out-loud and allow the words to wash over you and sink deep in your soul. It works!
The Forgiveness Prayer
Dear Lord, I choose to forgive Martin (not his real name) for (begin to list the offenses and hurts). I choose to forgive him for (list the offenses) out of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ ...... Right now I choose to release him out of my grip and into your hands to do with as you please.
You do not have to feel forgiving to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice you make - your feelings with follow.
After a few days, whenever negative emotions flared I prayed this prayer. On the third day, I found myself emotional with tears of compassion toward Marvin. I began to include these words at the end of that prayer, "and Lord, after you have opened his eyes, please draw him to yourself and let Him know how much you love him - heal his heart, Lord."
Amazingly, by choosing to forgive Marvin, God changed me. He changed me from the inside, from a heart of stone, He gave me a heart of compassion.
It's a very simple prayer. But it has the power to cut the bondage of unforgiveness and the possibility that a root of bitterness spring up and fester within the heart. Bitterness is an ugly bedfellow.
Do you need to Forgive?
Have you been wounded by
A continuation on the topic of Forgiveness and the power it has to heal the brokenhearted. Part two delves into offenses and abuse and the power unforgiveness has to keep us in bondage.
Questions & Answers
© 2009 Susan Ream