Overcoming Is An Action Word Series ...Forgiving




In October, we will take a look at a few action words that can help us overcome.  It is my hope that you will put these words into action in your life to walk into your healing process, pursue your dreams, and know that you when you do, you are more than a conqueror, I decree you to be an OVERCOMER.

Unforgiveness can have a debilitating hold over one's life. It can be physically and mentally exhausting to harbor unforgiveness. Physical impairments like sleep deprivation, aches and pains, and heart health can stem from unforgiveness. Depression and anxiety are a few mental afflictions that can have its root cause in unforgiveness. Releasing the anger, resentment, and stress of being bound to a series of traumatic events, decisions, or choices is forgiveness and is like medicine for the soul.

I believe many of us understand that forgiveness is not easy. It certainly wasn't easy for me to forgive the man I was married to for nine years. It can be difficult to forgive a person you believe doesn't deserve forgiveness. It can also feel like you have given someone a pass for the hurtful things and emotional despair caused as if you are saying, "the person who wronged me does not have to be accountable for his or her actions." I certainly felt like my ex-husband did not deserve forgiveness, and I planned to make him accountable for everything, the hurt, the lies, the lack of support, and the abandonment. I wasn't ready to forgive. It was some of the most mentally exhaustive experiences in my life. There were so many days I cried, wondering why did he leave us, what happened? From that day to this one, I do not know what the answer is to either of those questions. But through my healing journey, I learned to forgive, let it go, and move on. I believed that there was so much more to me and that I would not let myself curl up into a ball and die. I chose to live. I chose to forgive.

Forgiveness does not release an offender for his or her behavior or actions. Forgiveness empowers you to move forward. Whether a person has asked for forgiveness or not, you allow yourself to let it go when you choose to forgive. No longer bound by deflecting from questions like "Why did he/she do this to me?" or "Why did I let this happen to me?", instead becoming a reflection of strength. You face those questions head-on, and you accept the fact that you may never get the answers. Furthermore, you realized that you did not deserve the awful things that happened to you, or the wrong choices you made do not dictate your future. You come to terms with or without the person who has offended you and can move past your bad decisions. You are ready to overcome.

"Forgive and Forget". This cliche probably makes your skin boil just reading it. Try to look at it this way, "Forgive and Move on". You may never forget the pain you experienced, but you can move past it. Counseling, support groups, time, all, or a combination thereof may help. I implore you not to remain stuck in the memory of a painful experience. You don't have to minimize your trauma. It is real, very real. If you don't acknowledge the emotions caused by hurtful events, you can end up bitter and dejected, which could manifest as unhealthy choices. Instead, walk into the freedom of forgiveness, beyond the hurt, and take back your peace.

It's a choice. I made a conscious choice to forgive my husband and anyone who offends me. I know that this is not easy. And while it may be challenging, it is not impossible. Start by acknowledging your anger. You don't want to explode or implode because of the amount of anger you have toward someone or a situation. If you are unable to express your anger to the person who offended you, write about it in a journal or talk to a therapist. Be careful when talking to family and friends that can't be objective about your situation; this could make things worse. Try to always speak to someone who can be objective.

I hope that dealing with your anger opens a door for you to go to the next level, moving toward your choice to forgive. Realize that you cannot control what someone else says or does. You can only manage yourself. So, this step is for you. It is a way to empower yourself to get into a position to move past the hurt. Your focus is no longer on the other person or the situation, but it is on your healing process. You can begin to let go of the deflected questions of "Why" and turn to the reflected questions of "How". You are no longer asking the questions, "why did he/she do this" or "why did this happen".  You want to know, "How can I overcome this" and How do I walk in my healing". Now, the work begins. You may never get your questions answered, and you will have to come to terms with this fact. Coming to terms with this happens by acceptance. It may sound scary. But I want you to understand that acceptance does not mean you are weak. Acceptance does not excuse the offender. Acceptance allows you to refocus your thoughts on releasing yourself from the emotional rollercoaster that can come with unforgiveness. Celebrate the moments you can walk in forgiveness. Those moments become a foundation of new memories that contribute to your growth and well-being. You can move past circumstances or the people that hurt you.

To forgive is a process that brings with it a multitude of healing. But what do you do when you need to forgive yourself? It could almost seem as if it is twice as hard to do. One must be accountable for oneself and take on the responsibility of the offender. In this scenario, assume the offended moved on, completed his/her forgiveness journey, and is living a more productive life. No longer bound by the hurt and disappointment you caused. The person may not even be seeking an active apology from you. On the other hand, you are riddled with guilt and shame for the things you have done and the many hearts you have broken. Self-forgiveness is just as, if not more, painful than forgiving others because the person you need to forgive is yourself. Many times, we can be our worst adversaries. I want to encourage you not to be afraid to look into the mirror and allow yourself also to heal. 

If allowed to apologize, please do so. An authentic, sincere apology says that you hold yourself accountable for the emotional devastation you caused, that you understand the depth of pain your actions had on someone else, and acknowledges that you would not behave in such a manner ever again. In essence, you are also apologizing internally to yourself never to offend anyone else. I would even hope that it would mean that you would not knowingly hurt anyone in any manner.  

Self-forgiveness can aid in lessening the times of becoming a repeat offender to not offending at all.  Suppose you allow yourself to truly reflect on who you are and who you want to become. In that case, self-forgiveness can lead to self-compassion, which can ultimately lead to becoming a more compassionate person towards others and losing the desire to offend others. Just as unforgiveness can attack your health, not being able to forgive yourself can have the same detrimental effects on your body and mind. Suppose you are unable to or struggle with forgiving yourself. In that case, it could cause mental and physical distresses like sleep deprivation, aches and pains, heart health, depression, and anxiety, as previously mentioned above. Self-forgiveness can address wronging oneself and wronging another.  Remember, life is a journey. When you can, when you are ready, release yourself and others from the hold of unforgiveness. Walk in the peace of God that surpasses all your understanding and will guard your heart and mind.  My prayer for you is that God will help you to let go of the hurt, disappointments, and guilt and that you will live to become an overcomer. Shalom.


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Stay safe, be well, by watching your distance, wearing your mask, washing your hands, and know that #OVERCOMINGISANACTIONWORD. Books Worth Reading by Marilyn.

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Comments

  1. Very nicely written with a touch of personal. Great read

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  2. I heard a sermon recently about anger. The pastor said release yourself from anger, so God can fill that space with something healthy. Sometimes I think we get wrapped up in feeling that we need to get revenge on the person that wronged us. Revenge is not ours to get. I loved your message about being able to release the emotions of forgiveness. It really is more for us than the person who wronged us.

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