A follow-up to a post where I spoke of Forgiveness.
“How to Forgive”
Recently I was asked: How do I forgive?
I had not thought before about the fact that some folks may not know where to start. A person can feel so overwhelmed with the offense that caused the need to forgive, that they just do not know where to start. How do you begin to forgive someone for things that have caused you pain, sorrow, distress, anger?
Here is my answer….of course it is MY answer 🙂 May not be an answer for all!
1. First and foremost I think it is important to realize that the forgiveness is not for the other person. It is for YOU. Really it is. It is YOU that this is causing problems for. I am not saying the other person isn’t in turmoil due to your anger or grudge, but letting go of this anger/grudge is going to do more for your world…as far as you’re concerned. And if the byproduct is that you do a good thing for someone else along the way ( lifting their burden by forgiving them!!) Then that is great too! ( but you have to want to….it is your choice)
2. I find that it makes things a lot easier if I can remember just one reason I liked/loved my offender in the first place. If you can remember why you loved them, hold on to it. Concentrate on that thing. Whenever the “problem” surfaces, replace it with the reason you loved in the first place. You are the only person in control of your feelings! It is possible to do this. Love is a strong emotion, use its power. If it is hard for you to remember things, get out old photos or try writing about old memories. Once you start compiling your reasons, write them down! Let us call these “reasons” your Love words! Look at them daily. Use the Love words when you pray. Bombard your mind with all the reasons you loved this person before the problem (s) started. Replace the anger thoughts with love thoughts. ( Of course this can only apply to people with whom you have history) ( but you have to want to…it is your choice)
3. Ask God for the strength to remember the love. Ask God to help replace your feelings of anger with feelings of love. Pray often when the feelings of anger surface. Use your aforementioned Love words during prayers. Pray for this person daily. Praying for someone who has angered you or wronged you opens a window just big enough for God to start working on the problem! ( but you have to want to….it is your choice)
4. Let go of your pride! It is pride that separates us from the love necessary to mend these wounds. You want to hear “you are right” or “I am sorry”. You feel letting it go is a cop-out or an admission of being wrong, an admission of guilt. What is more important? Your love and peace of mind or your being right? ( but you have to want to…..it is your choice)
It is important to fill your heart, mind and soul with feelings of love over the anger. I tell you, if you can find the love and hold on to it, fill your mind with the good things and not the offense…..these are the things that are going to lead to a healing in your relationship.
And finally, if the offender was never someone with which you shared a love…then remember that we are all one and that they were created in love by God. So…..in essence you have a shared love. You need to remember it. At least try to hold on to that, so if you need to distance yourself, you may do so with love and not anger.
Please note that I am not trying to infuriate you with my repeat at the end of each step….“but you have to want to….it is your choice” It is just, in my mind, the most important element of each step. Not to be over looked or forgotten. We have a choice in everything in our life.
Again…these are my feelings. They are proven, in my life, to be a successful means to forgiveness.
My hope is that it can help someone else.
Peace and Love.