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Apr 26 2013

FORGIVENESS

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.
– Anne Lamott

prison - wires against skyHURT AND PAIN

Last week I told you about how I had to forgive my mother in order to move past my resentment, bitterness and anger. 

When you’ve been hurt by someone, the last thing you want to do is forgive. You tell yourself, “They don’t deserve to be forgiven. They’re the ones who hurt me. They should be apologizing to me.” Even though those things may be true, it doesn’t mean it will happen. Chances are they won’t. Chances are they’ll continue to go through life hurting people; they may even believe there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. It could be that they, themselves, have been hurt, which has caused all that anger inside of them – and you’re getting the brunt of it. They’re not dealing with their own pain. Maybe they don’t know how. Maybe they think it’s too hard. So they choose to stay trapped in their own prison and allow their anger to control them. 

FORGIVENESS

I didn’t want to be like that. When I realized that the only way to be free of the anger inside of me was to forgive my mother, I needed help. I did not know how to forgive her. 

A friend of mine who was like a mentor to me helped me. I remember talking to her about my pain. I remember that she prayed with me. God must have given me the strength to forgive – I have no other explanation! 

After that, it seemed easier to be with my mother. The anger gradually subsided. I could look at her with more of a loving attitude. It didn’t happen overnight. She continued to say and do hurtful things and (in my mind) I continued to say, “I forgive you.” 

FREEDOMFREE

My forgiveness didn’t change my mother. It changed me! I could be more compassionate, realizing she’d been hurt and didn’t know how to deal with it. 

She wasn’t the last person who’d hurt me. Each time someone hurts me, I have to intentionally tell myself that I forgive them. It frees me. They don’t have any control over me. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behaviour. Forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying my heart. 

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom,
I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
–Nelson Mandela

 

YOUR TURN

Who do YOU need to forgive? Can you do it on your own? If not, get some help. A couple of weeks ago, one of my coaching clients experienced the freedom of forgiving someone. As long as the unforgiveness was there, she was stuck. But after she chose to forgive, she was able to move forward in her life. It was a gift she gave herself.

A friend of mine, Annette Stanwick, wrote a book about how she was able to forgive the man who murdered her brother. Since that time, she’s helped countless people to forgive those who’ve hurt them. If you need help, contact Annette or me and we can help you.

Do yourself a favour – forgive! You won’t regret it. You will feel free. If you need help, contact Annette or me – we would be happy to help you find that freedom!
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.
– Bernard Meltzer
 Today is the first day of the rest of your life – find freedom through forgiveness.

 

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