Lord, I hated that day, and now that I think about it, I probably should go back and forgive the day too! (HaHa) I have been taught about forgiveness all my life and the importance of its role in the health of the whole body-spirit, mind, soul and body. I even published a few blog posts on forgiveness some years ago, but I never realized there was more to forgiveness than the verbal words “I forgive you.” I began to notice simply saying the words, and even meaning them wasn’t serving me, because my heart was full of stone instead of radiating the warmth of Christ (love).
Forgiveness is a gift given to mankind by God for the purpose of healing, keeping our hearts pure and full of love; and to allow abundance to flow freely into our lives. For most, forgiveness is a verbal response of “I’m sorry” or “Please forgive me” to an action that caused pain to another. However, the true test of forgiveness is to forgive someone who has never offered you an apology. Forgiveness is easier said than done, and it’s a process of healing that must become a lifestyle.
Isaiah 43:18-19 reads “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” When a person hurts you, whether (s)he comes to you with a contrite heart asking for your forgiveness or not, you must forgive him/her with a sincere heart-and that was the part I missed and the part I didn’t like.
I once believed “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” and life taught me otherwise. I learned that not too many people care about me the way God does and because of that, I experienced a lot of pain and rejection; even if it was inflicted by my own self destructive thoughts and the mental walls of isolation I built, thinking I was protecting my heart from others. What was I protecting though? In my mind I thought I was protecting myself from ever getting “hurt” again by anyone. I thought the walls that I had built around my heart were somehow visible to others and served to send a forceful message telling them to: “LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY or LEAVE ME ALONE!!” A deeper understanding of forgiveness taught me otherwise.
“Forgive and Forget” is as cliché and seemingly untrue as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s impossible to forget something and someone who has hurt your heart, because words do hurt! The word forget in Hebrew means to ignore, neglect, forsake and willfully act in disregard to a person or covenant. It is to act as if you have forgotten; meaning you must refrain from holding the hurt inflicted upon you by the person over his/her head. Furthermore, you cannot continue reliving the situation by bringing it up every time you see or talk to them, because it keeps you in a cycle of un-forgiveness.
I understood forgiveness was a non-negotiable so I forgave willingly, but I didn’t know what to do with the pain, so I suppressed it. By the time I reached 30 years of age, I realized something was different about my heart…it wasn’t open, pure or full of love any more, and as a result my emotional health began to deteriorate and I began to withdraw from people and life in general. I was only living through the existence of my life cycle: wake up, go to work, go home, take care of family, go to sleep and wake up to do it all over again. I noticed what I desired for my life somehow wasn’t what I was attracting to it.
I realized my heart center was cold, hardened and full of fear from suppressing all the pain from every situation attached to every person I had ever forgiven. “Is this what forgiveness is all about God?” Saying “I forgive you…” with no intention behind it, just to satisfy some universal law, in an effort to avoid retribution from my past that could block my blessings? This couldn’t be it because I wasn’t winning, my heart center was ugly and I was beginning to feel the emotional effects take a toll on my life. Writing was and still is my comfort and therapy, so I began to take an inventory of what was in my heart to determine why I wasn’t thriving in the areas of my life I desired to thrive in.
- Relationships: I had an issue with trusting others because my trust had been violated so many times by people who said they loved me.
- Self Esteem: I didn’t believe in myself because my belief system was non-existent.
- Self Image: I was emotionally dead and my physical appearance reflected just that.
- Love: I had a distorted perception of love because the love God showed me was not what I was receiving from the people I was in relationship with.
- Peace: the one fruit in life I longed for and did not know how to keep…
I was in chaos internally, and didn’t want anyone to know. I somehow wanted to escape the lonely life I created by barricading myself in the clouds of negative thoughts in my mind concerning my life, even though part of me was fearful of leaving that comfort zone to embark on the unknown. I didn’t understand that I created this downward spiral to mal-attractions simply through my own negative attachments to the hurt living in my heart.
I needed to release everyone and every situation “I forgave” attached to my heart so I could heal, and that’s the part of my new awareness that required all of my FAITH! I needed to use my faith to see myself well, whole and thriving! I realized forgiveness had nothing to do with being vulnerable or weak, and everything to do with healing and being whole. The moment I began to activate my faith and release the hurt I was using to create blockades in my heart, the more my heart began to turn to flesh and I knew I was healing.
Ezekiel 36:26 reads, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” That’s exactly what I needed God to do, and He did it through my willingness to forgive and heal. In return, I became aware forgiveness is for ME, and what and who I was attracting to my life began to align with my true heart’s desires as a result.
Forgiveness is a lifestyle that must be lived daily. Healing is a process that requires your faith and a renewed mind. In return, you begin to align with God’s perfect will for love and experience life on a level that far exceeds anything you could ever ask or think!
Ask yourself: Who do I need to forgive?