By Lisa Preston
I recently attended a conference on healing. One of the sessions highlighted the power of forgiveness– a topic which many of us would rather skip over. After all, we’ve heard the message dozens of times. The phrase “seventy times seven” is tattooed into our brains.
Kind of seems as if the process of forgiveness should go the way of everything else in our fast-paced society. We expect it to be quick and convenient. Gimme a forgiveness pill, make me feel better, and I’ll be on my merry way.
Guess what? The phrase “process of forgiveness” hits home here. There is no quick and easy method of forgiving– period. And much of the time, we’re still angry and fuming when we start to forgive someone for an offense. Forgiveness begins as an act of the will.
This means we say, “I choose to forgive my friend for the betrayal.” “I choose to forgive my mother for treating me like I was worthless.” While those words are coming out of our mouths, our hearts may beat to a different tune. One called, “May the Fleas of a Thousand Camels Invade Your Armpits”. There’s not necessarily some ethereal positive feeling that attaches itself to the words, “I forgive you.” Most of the time the feelings are raw and the wounds still bleeding.
But while it can take months for your emotions to catch up to your decision, that first moment of courage when you choose to unwrap yourself from the tentacles of the offense makes all the difference in the world. You are choosing freedom. One of the speakers at the healing conference remarked, “When you don’t forgive someone, it’s like you’re keeping them locked up in a prison.” Well, the first thought may be, “Good! That’s where they deserve to be– locked up!” Unfortunately, the truth is, that emotionally you’re handcuffed to them, sitting in the same cell, eating the same prison food day in and day out. The only way for you to be free is to open the door of the cage.
Warning! Alert! That means the other person can escape, too! And they don’t deserve freedom, do they? After all, they hurt you! They should be punished for what they did. Well, forgiveness doesn’t mean you let the person off the hook responsibility-wise for their actions. Your opening the door of the prison doesn’t say, “Okay, what you did to me was no big deal. Sianara! Have a good life.” It sure doesn’t mean that you have to be buddy-buddy with the person or act like what happened didn’t matter. Sometimes wisdom means that you do not speak to the person again or be around them.
Forgiveness– this opening of the prison doors– means you’re not letting the person’s actions rule your emotions. What happened to you will no longer cause you to “react” inappropriately and miss out on the best in life. You’re free to grow and move toward your destiny without thousand pound shackles rubbing your ankles raw.
As for the other person, they have their own process to work through. They may continue to walk around in circles as if they’re still caged. You are not responsible for their healing. You’re only responsible for your own choices to heal. And the benefits of freedom can be chronicled in volumes! To be healed and whole is the ultimate in living the victorious life.
It all starts with one choice. One key in your hand, turning the lock. Prepare to breathe fresh air, to move your neck without restraint and pain, to run with abandon and joy. This part of the forgiveness process makes the jail time seem trivial. Life awaits!
Lisa R. Preston, staff writer for http://www.daddysarms.com invites you to
experience the unconditional love of a father’s heart. http://www.daddysarms.com – Restoring the hearts of men and women
who’ve always longed for a loving father!
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