Most people have very little actual understanding of what forgiveness is, why it should be part of your daily life, and who exactly forgiveness benefits. Forgiveness is a choice that you must make daily.
Forgiveness. Although the word is used often, forgiveness is not something that our society seems to value much. More importantly, though, it seems as though most people have very little actual understanding of what forgiveness is, why it should be part of your daily life, and who exactly forgiveness benefits.
First, we’re going to look at the fact that forgiveness is a choice that you make daily – and it’s often a difficult choice to make!
Welcome to Day One of 30 Days to Forgiveness.
Even Christians often treat it as something we do out of duty or to gain a reward for good deeds done.
Why should we forgive anyone?
I came across a quote about forgiveness the other day that I would like to share with you.
“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life”. Joan Lunden
Can you honestly say that you’ve never had one of those days when you’re clenching your teeth? It really didn’t give you anything more than a headache and a sore jaw, did it? It’s hard to forgive and find our way back to a place of joy. We often feel as though we need to hang on to that anger and hurt, nurture it in a little safe place that belongs to us alone, while we dream and plot about a way to get revenge for the wrong done to us.
Truthfully, that person who wronged us has long since moved on with their life – or maybe they have no idea that they hurt us in the first place!
What about if we do get our revenge? It happens, after all. We get that chance to lash back and hurt them as much as they hurt us.
It’s a Pyrrhic victory, though. When it’s all done, there’s a hollowness inside because we all know, deep down, that causing more pain never cancels out the pain we received. Hate never has been overcome with hate.
There’s a better path, though.
We can put our time and energy into understanding why and how to forgive. We can redirect hatred so that it meets up with love. We can stop being afraid of letting go of that hurt and pain, because love will always cast out fear. During this 30 day series, I’ll get a little spiritual on you, but that’s because I know the secret to forgiveness. You aren’t going to be able to do it entirely on your own strength, but that’s okay.
The first step is going to be the hardest, though.
You need to make a decision to give forgiveness a chance. A real chance, that is, not a ‘yea, yea, I read that stuff but I can’t do it’ chance, because that’s cheating you. By doing so, by making that very important decision to forgive, you’ll be able to get the laughter and lightness in your life back. It won’t happen right away, but it will happen.
The good news is that it’s definitely achievable. You might have read about Amish communities that forgave mass murderers. People have forgiven their rapists and family members who betrayed them. It happens. I can promise you that it happens because I’ve seen it in my own life. There are many of us who have forgiven the unforgivable.
It is possible.
To get started, the very first step is yours – you need to make the decision to forgive.
I know. That’s scary, maybe even terrifying. We’re going to deal with all of the reasons why it’s scary and I will share with you a lot from my own life. Writing this series has been raw and real and I’ve cried more tears than I’d like to think … and you will do the same if you join me through it.
But if you stop and think about it, about the fact that it’s YOUR decision to make, well, that’s also an incredibly powerful thought.
Forgiveness is a choice that you make … for you.
Because that’s the case, it means you have full control over the situation. We often feel like a victim when someone hurts us or takes advantage of us (and I will be addressing that, too), but part of the problem is that we have made ourselves into victims. Every step of the way, you are in control.
Forgiveness is the tool that lets us find happiness, but it is also the key to free us from a self-imposed prison of resentment and anger.
This is just an overview of the topics we’re going to be covering, and we’ll deal later with what happens to us when we hang on to anger and pain and when we refuse to forgive others. We’ll address false forgiveness and opening dialogues and who the most important person is who needs our forgiveness.
There is so much to talk about and I am positive that your questions and concerns and worries will be addressed over the next thirty days. But you might want to keep your tissues ready when you work through this. I needed them while writing it.
For now, I want you to focus on one thing.
Forgiveness is your choice to make. You hold all the cards.
It’s not always – okay, it’s usually not – easy, but it is something that you can do for yourself.
That’s what this in-depth focus on forgiveness over the next thirty days is all about. Every day for the next thirty days there will be a post here on the blog giving you tips, advice and strategies to help you learn how to forgive.
Ready to join me?0