When it comes to forgiving someone, many have a hard time with the concept of letting go of the pain. When in reality it is not about forgetting the hurt, nor does it have anything to do about pardon, but rather growing from it and not allowing it to settle within your heart.
When we hold onto the past of the wrongs that were/are inflicted upon us, we leave ourselves open to more pain. Wounds untreated allow for infection to take place and seep into the surrounding tissue and into the body. We can choose to ignore the infection allowing it to increase, causing deeper pain and further infection to spread, or we can seek treatment for it to heal.
Can the victim heal? Of course they can. But, it is all about choosing to heal and a willingness to take the time to face what scarred their heart. Without going into much detail, I had a heart filled with sadness for many years, yet I was fortunate in knowing that God saw what I needed as he blessed me with someone who was willing to go the distance as I started to break down the brick wall I had built around my heart.
As I healed and went through the process of dealing with each situation, I would cried, throw a fit and yell. I even yelled at God while asking Him, “Why would you Lord, who is to be such a loving God, allow such things to happen?” Yet each step I took, the painful process of tossing the bricks aside felt as though my heart was being ripped to shreds. I discovered that the love within me was so tightly wrapped with a disability of self-hate and thoughts of undeserving of love. God never left my side, because He knew that what was buried beneath the deeply rooted rubble of pain was a woman craving to be set free to enjoy, live and love life.
As I got to the final stages of healing, I wrote out letters to those that inflicted pain. The pen in my hand wrote non-stop for hours until I was done, exposing the hole in my heart that had been previously filled with bitterness. Once the process was completed, I had a choice: I could send the letters directly to the people, hang onto them, or toss them in the trash. I made the decision to toss the pain away. I didn’t feel the need to throw it back at those that were the cause of such destruction.
The very final stage was that of confronting and asking each person for forgiveness. At this stage I didn’t get upset, I just cried, not fully understanding the concept behind such a gesture. I didn’t do the damage, yet I was asked to take the step of seeking forgiveness. In doing this, I also sought God’s forgiveness. What I learned was that the rubble I spoke of earlier was causing self-inflicted abuse, destroying the person I was meant to be. In asking for forgiveness, the final bricks fell away, releasing me from the bondage of self-hate, creating a freedom and joy that I had never before enjoyed.
Forgiveness is not just about letting go nor is it about forgetting the past. The scars are reminders of what we have endured and warnings of what we are to watch out for. The survival of our past, with a heart of forgiveness, is what gives us strength and the ability to live with hearts filled with love. As one heals, the forgiveness takes fold, providing peace.
For me, the moment I realized that I had truly forgiven, was when I was face to face with the ones who had created the scars. My stomach, for the first time, stopped churning. I have grown yet I still have much to learn. I have days I do quite well, and then I have days I wish I could start over. Yet each day is a new day where I can choose to leave the past behind, forgiving and seeking forgiveness, as I seek the fullness of life that we are meant to enjoy.
Be the kind of person that doesn’t need to be forgiven, yet be the person willing to ask forgiveness when it is needed.