It’s the time of year when we’re all reminded of the greatest act of love known – Christ dying on the cross so we could be forgiven of our sins. God doesn’t ask for much in return but he does ask us to:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Easier said than done, right? Forgiveness can truly be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. Our wounds can feel so deep and wide that it feels impossible to even think about forgiving. However, forgiveness is possible, and at some point, we are faced with forgiving others and sometimes even ourselves. The goal of this blog is to help provide you with some hope if forgiveness is something you are struggling with. One way to do that is to reveal truths and debunk myths about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a process – There’s not a precise path to forgiveness – Truth
Forgiveness is a process that looks different for everyone. There are certain things we can do to foster the process of forgiveness, yet you won’t just wake up one day and find it. You need to make a decision to take the time to heal your wounds. This can be done by engaging in an intentional process that includes emotional, cognitive, and spiritual exploration and modification.
Forgiving is forgetting -Myth
Our brains are like a storage unit. When an event happens, the details get filed away in one of the many compartments of our brain. We have the ability to change the way we view our experiences to a more positive and healthy perspective. We can create meaning and purpose out of what’s happened through the emotional, cognitive, and spiritual processing of forgiveness. We won’t forget what happened, it just won’t bother us in the way that it used to. You can forgive without forgetting!
Forgiveness doesn’t mean there has to be reconciliation – Truth
Reconciliation can happen, but it isn’t a requirement of forgiveness. Sometimes, we have to make the difficult decision to set boundaries in our lives and limit or end the relationship with someone that has wronged us. This doesn’t mean you have forgiven the person any less or that you are a bad person, it means that you are making a wise decision that’s best for you.
Forgiveness gives the offender power and control – Myth
Forgiveness does the opposite – it can empower YOU! Forgiveness doesn’t make the offense okay or pardon the offender. Anger, resentment, vengeance, and pain can drain the life out of you. Forgiveness releases you as a hostage of this pain.
Forgiveness isn’t possible if the offender doesn’t apologize – Myth
Sometimes, the offender can’t or won’t acknowledge or apologize. However, you can still choose to forgive them. It can be one of the most empowering things you will ever do. Compassion, empathy, and love can heal you.
It’s not easy, but forgiveness is possible. It’s a free and generous gift that is given by you, for you, and to you. It’s a wonderful way to honor the one that died for you! He forgives you, why not forgive others?