I’ve been reading and praying through the book, The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian (highly recommend it) and I got to the chapter entitled “Living free of unforgiveness.” This chapter really struck a chord with me because not only do I want my son to live a life free from the weight of an unforgiving spirit, but I also want to be free.
Just the day before getting to this chapter, I was having a heart to heart with my husband about some challenges I was having moving past some hurt I have experienced by some of my family for years and years. It’s challenging sometimes to move past hurt when insult is added to injury over and over again, and when the person/s who offend/s you doesn’t acknowledge where they’ve gone wrong. There are times I thought I’d forgiven but then found myself worked up over something and then realizing, maybe I’m not quite so free. I love deeply and I hurt deeply but it’s so very important to truly forgive and move on so a full life can be experienced.
Proverbs 19: 11 says that a man’s “…glory is to overlook a transgression.” So as I was having that conversation with my husband I asked him, “Do you think I’m still resentful?” He said “A little.” As my closest friend, I think he is a pretty good gauge so I was grateful for his feedback. I had to get back to God and I told Him “I give up, I ask you to help me forgive because I need to move on. Help me be free” And I’m doing so much better already because God is continuing that which he has started in me. Have you ever been there with your family, when you’re tired of the resentment and you need to move on? That’s exactly where God needs us to be. God wants His families living in emotional freedom and no toxicity. So how do you forgive?
- Acknowledge your feelings. We are human and feelings are real. There’s no sense in tiptoeing around them and pretending they don’t exist. It is what it is.
- Pour out your feelings to God and enlist his help.
- Impress upon yourself the importance of forgiveness. If we do not forgive, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15)
- Make the choice to forgive. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s something we choose to do because it is the right thing and as we make that choice God helps us work through the feelings. I’ve been here for a little while but it’s getting better and better.
- Declare it aloud that you have forgiven. There is something cathartic and therapeutic about saying something aloud. The Bible does say that death and life is in the power of your tongue so declare positive things. When those negative thoughts threaten you, speak positivity and life and they will flee. Tell yourself “No, I will not think of ____________in this way because I have forgiven him/her. I choose to love”.
- And finally, don’t forget that if you need some help working through your emotions, seek it through a wise friend, pastor or counsellor.
I truly want to model a forgiving spirit for my son and everyone that I meet. This verse of a song by Kevin Levar ring true today:
When the ones that are closest, that I’ve known the longest, hurt me the most;
I still wanna love them just like You love me
Even though I’m hurting
I want a heart that forgives
When the pain is so deep, it’s so hard to speak, about it to anyone
Just like Your Son, I give up my right to hold it against them with hatred inside
I want a heart that loves everybody….even my enemies
I wanna love like You, be like You, just like You did
Wanna walk like You, talk like You, just like You did,
Wanna be like You, live like You, just like You did’Cause the heart that forgives is the heart that will live
Totally free from the pain of the past
And the heart that lets go is the heart that will know so much freedom”
Have you struggled with forgiveness? How did you overcome? Please share in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe!