The Process of Forgiveness: Part One
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do, especially in the society we currently live in - where revenge, punishment and judgements run riot on our streets, in our hearts and through our minds.
I believe the first step to learning forgiveness is to be able to acknowledge that there is something that needs to be forgiven. Once this is done the process can begin. By acknowledging that there is something that you need to forgive, you have taken the first step in helping yourself and thus the first step in self-love. Maybe you feel though that the person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven; if that is the case you need to try and rethink that attitude because don’t you deserve to have a peaceful life? The kind of peace you get by being someone who forgives consistently, honestly, openly and without judgement? Trying is just as important as acknowledging. If you hold a grudge against someone and you refuse to forgive them then they are still holding a spectre of control over you and ultimately you and you alone will be the one suffering.
It’s not about letting them off the hook or forgetting what they’ve done but as I said at the start, it is acknowledging what they’ve done and looking deeply into the situation to try and understand why they did it. Often it was done with no malice aforethought and these situations become easier to forgive, especially if you can see that the person is showing signs of changing. However, on those unhappy occasions that it is malicious you really need to dig deep and try to forgive.
Always remember that holding a grudge is like eating a small amount of poison everyday with every meal. The effects don’t show themselves straightaway, but over time they start to take a hold and some very severe purging is required.
Don’t brush off any misdemeanours and try to forget that they happened. All that succeeds in doing is adding stuff to the pressure cooker…eventually the release valve needs to be activated and the more suppressed you’ve become the likelihood is the bigger the mess! Acknowledge what you feel. The Bible tells us to forgive and forget; but by forgetting you are not learning. You need to remember what happened and how and why, then you can armour yourself against repetitions…though this, like the whole process, takes time!
In part 2 I'll give you some methods that will help you in your practice of forgiveness.