It is one of of the most important words you will ever know and utter. It is only four letters and starts with the letter F.
Yeah, not THAT word! Geez, people! I’m talking about forgiveness of course!
“Ummm, Jen, that’s like 11.” True, it is. But, I never said four letters to spell the word! Trick question. Just call me the Word Ninja today. Hey, thanks for that eye roll out there – much appreciated.
How about this four letter word? L-O-V-E. If you want to manifest love, real love for yourself and the world, you start with the act of forgiveness. I suppose we could argue that it is mercy or grace, but doesn’t it all come back to love?
In yesterday’s post, The Dead Weight of Unforgiveness, we talked about the wounding that ties us to our past hurts. Sinking us further into a dark abyss that we can’t get out of and that by forgiving ourselves and others we can be free. But, what does love have to do with it?
We have been forgiven everything with the highest love – a sacrifice of the Creator’s Son. We have been called to love others as ourselves. We are loved so deeply that our past makes no difference and thus are called to extend that love to others.
Everything comes back to love. It is the greatest commandment. Not to disagree with another opinion, judge them for their actions, hold grudges because you were wronged, be arrogant because you are always right….just TO LOVE! Which means to let the free gift of grace given to you flow from you.
How To Forgive
Step One: Acknowledge that this will not be easy and you may not be able to do this without backup. Call on a higher power and let Him do it for you.
Step Two: Write out a list of everyone and everything that was wronged in your life. Include yourself – the guilt and shame you carry list it!
Step Three: Work your way through that list until you truly mean it. Some days you may need to read that list and choke on the words as they come out but ask God to do the heavy lifting for you. He will change your heart. I’ll post words you can use to get you there – call it a prayer or spoken word if you aren’t a believer.
Step Four: Let it go. Really let it go. When those memories surface, capture them and toss them out. Talk to them out loud if you want – I do! Tell it that it has no place in your life any longer. Tell it that it is an old, resolved conflict that you no longer want to revisit. You control your thoughts so don’t tell me it can’t be done.
Keep in mind that forgiveness does NOT let the other person off the hook for their words or actions. There are still consequences to choices that must play out. What forgiveness does is breaks the chains that you have tied around yourself and the person who has hurt you.
Love yourself enough to do this! You deserve it! You deserve better than your past!
Time To Cut Out The Cancer
Unforgiveness is a major hindrance to our freedom – to living fully alive. This excerpt from Freedom Tools by Andy Reese says it best:
God and science agree that unforgiveness is like a glowering emotional cancer eating away well-being, pockmarking a person with painful symptoms and periodic flare-ups. It causes torment, hinders prayer, contributes to ill health, destroys relationships and organizations and causes long-standing regional hatred.
Symptoms of unforgiveness include an internal sense of torment, hatred and dark energy; anxiety and drivenness; a heaviness of heart when seeing or thinking of the person who wronged us; rehearsed arguments and vengeance against them in our minds; or avoidance of them. Unforgiveness begins to dominate our thoughts and spill over into other aspects of life.
Symptoms of judgment include feeling sluggish and without a sense of power, buoyancy and well-being; having unexplained nagging physical problems; having periods of despondency; lack of sound sleep; or feeling hindered and opposed in life situations.
Ouch! That hit the nail on the head. Unforgiveness and judgement are cancers that eat away at our hearts and souls. Why would we choose this over freedom? Why would we say, “Yes, I’ll take Stage Four Cancer please.”
It is saying we release the person from whatever we might think they owe us and that we refuse to judge them anymore. We relinquish our rights for vengeance and retribution.
When we forgive we are saying we want to live and operate on a level of mercy and grace. We give because we have been given the same gift.
Below are words you can speak to help you forgive a person or yourself. It might also look like: “You owed me love and protection. You did not give them to me. I forgive that debt now.” or “I forgive you for teaching me the lie that I am not worth anything.“.
[Speak this out loud for each person and include their acts. There is a profound power in our words.]
I forgive (NAME). I forgive (him/her) for: (list everything you can recall that offended you). I will now lose sight of that offense and if I am ever reminded of that offense, I will dismiss that memory as an old, resolved conflict I no longer want to revisit. I will simply forget the incident and move on with rebuilding that relationship in an appropriate way. May I learn to love this person for who they are even if it is from a distance. I also forgive myself for not forgiving (name) before now and remove from my heart any consequences or toxic feelings for not forgiving them in the past. I admit that I will need help to walk out this forgiveness in my life and will seek strength to live out true forgiveness. I want (name) to be blessed in their life and healed of any emotional or physical wounds that cause them suffering just as I am seeking to do for myself.
It All Comes Back To That Four Letter Word
Love is all you need. How very true. Love is all you need. Receive it. Give it. Share it. Marinate in it.
Love changes all things including your past wounds and the cancer that past left in it’s wake. Love yourself enough to do this! Leave a legacy behind in this world that speaks to the highest love – watch it radically set others free too.
I’m a firm believer that we just need to change ourselves and others will follow. Yes, there are some who will never wake up and change. But, what if!! What if you just worried about yourself and then suddenly your ex is treating you differently. Your marriage is restored. Your children’s behavior improves. What if…. What if… What if….we just loved.