|Saturday, Jan. 25, 2003 || Letting go...|
Forgiveness is a difficult thing.
It is a good thing. A healing thing. But it is not an easy thing.
Next week I may have opportunity to take another step in the forgiveness business. Scratch that. I will likely have an opportunity to take another step in the forgiveness business.
To say I am apprehensive would be an understatement.
I learned two years ago that there are three kinds of forgiveness. The first is judicial. This type of forgiveness can only be given by God. It is the pardoning of sin, a gift of grace.
The second is psychological. It is the victim’s job. It is letting go of the desire for personal revenge and negative feelings toward the offender while extending grace to him or her.
The third is reconciliatory forgiveness. It is the offender’s job. It is where the relationship is restored or at least restoration is sought/offered. There has to be repentance on the part of the offender.
As the offended, it is my job to work on the second one. To not allow bitterness to settle in. To properly grieve (anger and resentment are natural reactions to deliberate wrongdoing) and then release.
There are steps one can take to do this. The first is allowing myself to feel the pain. That person hurt me. It is okay to grieve. It is understandable that I am angry, frustrated, broken.
The second step is to separate the person from the behavior. Wow, this is a tough one. Sometimes what they have done is so intricately wrapped up in who they are. And by letting them go, I am giving up my “control”, my “right” to rant and rave about them, about what they did to me.
The third step is to rage at the behavior. What they did was wrong. It did hurt. Acknowledge that. Feel from deep within, the anger, the hurt, the betrayal, the frustration. You can’t heal what you can’t feel.
Next I have to release the offender and the pain. It is giving up my right to revenge. Totally releasing them and my hurt to God. Giving up my control.
The last steps are the hard ones. Where the rubber meets the road. Putting action into what was probably handled privately, personally. The reason for my apprehension.
I need to express love to the offender. Romans 12:19-21 says, “Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, "I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it," says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
I am not always sure where the line is. Where to step out and where to draw back to protect myself. When you have been offended, boundaries are set, and rightly so, depending on the nature of the offense.
But I also know that God has told me to do good to those who have hurt me. To give thanks in all things. To pray for them.
Christ was our ultimate example as He spoke from the cross:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Forgiveness is a roller coaster ride. Just about the time I think I have “arrived”, that I have forgiven, a stab of pain - a memory of the wound - surfaces.
Perhaps it is just God reminding me that He is in control and I am not. That I can not live my life in peace and joy without releasing my emotions, my pain, my wounds to Him. That when I try to hold on and handle things on my own, it just hurts me and those closest to me.
I can sit here today and I can thank Him for the pain, because I can see how much it has helped me, how much I have learned. What scares me is that I feel He is now asking me to take what He has taught me in the quiet places and apply it practically. Be vulnerable.
I hate being vulnerable. But here’s the thing. His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
Its all about letting go and letting God.
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007