7 Thoughts to Understand Forgiveness

Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 5:08 PM
  1. Forgiveness is a Choice. Choice empowers clients to engage in a healing process that promotes relationships with mutuality and satisfaction, and frees them from debilitating emotions and resentment-filled relationships. Forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing. Forgiveness is a process of readying oneself to let go of a deep betrayal or inflicted emotional wounding . Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened. In Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25 we learn God requires us to forgive, because He forgave us for our sins.
  2. Forgiveness is a JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION that involves jumping the hurdle of difficult emotions and self-preservations that block the desire to renew trust. Initially, the choice to forgive gives us a fresh perspective. Secondly, it prepares us to work through difficult emotions. And thirdly, it challenges us to transform our pain and suffering into a significant, meaningful event. "Forgiveness is a path to freedom." R.D. Enright.
  3. It's OK to REMEMBER while forgiving. Forgiving does not imply forgetting. Forgiveness begins by perceiving the offense. Clients are often unwilling to forgive because they fear forgiveness eliminates justice, overlooks a grievous wrong, or provides an offender with an easy way out. This misperception is clearly stated in the idiom "forgive and forget." Forgiving does not mean forgetting. Individuals learn to forgive in order to HONOR THE SELF and eventually LET GO of DEBILITATING EMOTIONS. 
  4. It takes great courage to forgive. We must forgive because God forgives us and expects us to forgive. It is not healthy to carry bitterness and vengefulness in our hearts. Just as letting go is a process, so too, is forgiveness. One of the hardest things we will ever do is to forgive ourselves. "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong." M. Gandhi
  5. Forgiveness has two sides: MERCY AND JUSTICE. For integrity to exist in relationship, the harmful behavior must be entirely stopped. Reconciliation is an ideal following forgiveness. In order to reconcile, the following is desired: an honest heartfelt apology, assuming responsibility and making amends for the wrongdoing, asking for forgiveness, and promising it will not happen again. If the offending party is unwilling to work toward this goal, then (if married) professional marriage counseling is recommended. The only choice for the wounded party is to maintain SELF-RESPECT, DIGNITY, and SAFETY.
  6. C. S. Lewis - "don't excuse the wrongdoing, forgive it. Real forgiveness is a tough process; but it is absolutely necessary for mental health. James instructs us to submit ourselves to God and get rid of anything impure. "Cleanse your heart" means to examine your motivations and feelings that are displeasing to God. Through the cleansing process you become ready for all that God has for you. 
  7. Because forgiving involves changing emotions, it takes a very long time. Trauma disorganizes our worldview. It obliterates our sense of security, causes loss, and destroys our belief in justice. We may obsess about the tragedy, ask why, or what we could have done to prevent it. Retelling the story is the brain's way of reducing the anguish and pain and reconstructing a new worldview. Forgiveness in traumatic events is not always won.