Forgiveness (Part One)

To forgive is the highest most beautiful form of love. In return you will receive untold peace and happiness (quote by Robert Muller).

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you (quote by Lewis Smedes).

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart, forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits (quote by Hannah Moore).

Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; Revenging one makes you but even with him; Forgetting it puts you above him (quote by Benjamin Franklin).

Forgiveness is hard. It feels unnatural. And yet, we cannot move forward from hurts without it. Forgiveness is something that I have often struggled with… and something that even now I’m trying to figure out how to do better. One of my classes this spring gave some helpful thoughts on the importance of and benefits of forgiveness. The topic has been on the forefront of my thoughts this past week as I have fought to release some feelings of bitterness. So, I thought I’d share what I have learned and and am processing for personal growth in this area…

The difficulty of forgiving is figuring out how to remain peaceful when someone hurts or disappoints you. It isn’t easy to recover to a state of peace when you are mistreated. At the heart of our wounds is some event or thing we really hoped for that simply did not occur… an expectation that was not fulfilled. When we hold on to these hurts, they build bitterness. And that bitterness becomes profound when we lack the ability to accept that those things did not turn out our way. Grievances are formed when we are unable to deal successfully with not getting what we want and the disappointment and hurt takes up too much space and energy in our mind.

What keeps a grievance alive?

  • Talking about it over and over and over and over…
  • Letting your thoughts ruminate about the hurt many times throughout the day…
  • Finding yourself growing tired with the amount of time you spend thinking about things/hurts from the past…

Thinking about a problem more than twice is thinking about it too much… and can make the event a stronghold in your life. Thinking of the hurt repeatedly causes you to become stuck and dangerously close to becoming a controlled victim of your past hurts and bitterness.

Things to remember when we have been hurt:

  • Most offenses are committed without the intention of hurting anyone. We can never really know someone else’s thoughts or exactly why they acted cruelly. We don’t even know the painful things that have happened to the offender that have played a role in their offending behavior.
  • Being hurt is common. If we look carefully, we can find at least ten people who have been hurt in very similar ways. The intensity of our hurt and bitterness can be fueled by the idea that no one else will understand.
  • To overcome hurt, we often have to release ideas like: life should be fair; people should be fair; people are supposed to always be kind; life is supposed to be easy; so-and-so should have treated me better.

Next post: how to possibly change your thinking about hurt and disappointment to help you forgive and more forward…

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About melanieahill

I am a wife, graduate student, church staff member and most importantly, a work in progress. I am studying to become a licensed professional counselor and I absolutely love to cook.... and eat. I also love to travel, do some basic gardening and maybe one day I'll be a mom. There's a lot that I've learned in my 30 years, but I also know there's a lot more to go. It's an exciting journey!

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