Steps Towards Forgiveness And Letting Go Of Grudges
November 06, 2011
Forgiveness can be hard, grueling work, that people tell you is good for you. Maybe you have heard things like: not forgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die, not forgiving is only hurting you, and that the other person has probably forgotten all about it or doesn’t even know. And while much of this is true, it doesn’t take into consideration how much pain is a part of the forgiveness process. If you have a part in what you are now facing, it might be a little easier to find your way to forgiveness. But if you don’t, that’s where the grueling part comes in.
The words “I apologize”, “Please forgive me”, or “I forgive you” are just the beginning of the process. Forgiveness comes from an act of the will and a choice of the heart and mind. You will never forget because our minds are not made that way. Not forgetting is part survival and part wisdom, which is in essence the hope and realization that I will never do that again. And while you may not do “that” again – trust that person, go to that place, or take part in that activity, what is important is to not let experience limit your world, and punish those with whom you are in relationship now or later.
Forgiveness is a process for you and the person being forgiven. There are steps to Forgiveness…
1. Allow yourself to feel the pain and anger, but don’t get stuck there.
2. Be specific about future expectations of behaviors and your limits.
3. Give up the right to “get even,” but insist on better treatment in the future.
4. Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity.
5. Communicate forgiveness to the offender. “I forgive you.” are powerful words for the offender and offended.
6. Work toward reconciliation (if/when safe).
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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