Were you able to ride a bicycle perfectly the first time you tried? How about driving a car? My four year old is busy learning her letters and she practices constantly – she’s so determined to learn to read before school starts in September.
Forgiving others is like so many things in life. Practice makes perfect. That’s why a series like this works so well. Each day you’ve had reminders to think about and practice forgiveness. We have covered so very much, but you may have noticed that I was repeating the key points over and over again, and that was very much on purpose.
During the first few days of this series, you might have found it difficult. By now, though, I hope you’re finding it much easier. Not only to be forgiving, but I hope you’re finding it easier to recognize people you need to forgive.
Perhaps I should have said this much earlier, but please don’t think I’m perfect at this.
Just before I sat down to write this, a good friend of mine and I were discussing a very difficult time in my life. If you’ve followed all along, you know that I had an astrocytoma surgically removed in 2008.
Shortly after I came out of the hospital from my brain surgery nine years ago, some people decided to hurt me very badly, taking advantage of the fact that I was weak and healing. It has been years since I thought about that, but when talking about it today, my eyes filled with tears. It still hurts and I haven’t forgiven them.
Of course they don’t give me a single thought these days and might not even recognize my name!
And so, over the next few weeks, I will be working on facing and dealing with those memories and the pain associated. I will spend a lot of time in prayer, and I will work through this until I get let go of the pain and anger that I’m still feeling.
We all do that, you know. We ignore those people that are hard to forgive. While it is perfectly fine to work on the easy ones first, know that you will have to eventually face those hard ones. You will have to face the ones that, nine years later, leave you shaking and almost spitting in blind rage.
It will get better.
Like me, you’ll be coasting along, thinking you’re getting good at this and then you’ll get smacked between the eyes with the thought of someone who must still forgive.
Think back over this series. What tools and tips have you found helpful? If they worked then, they will probably still come in handy.
Journaling works for you? Keep writing daily and be sure to include those areas of forgiveness that you find challenging.
Affirmations? Rewrite them and expand on them. Remind yourself that you can forgive the unforgiveable.
Maybe prayer is your best tool. It’s one of mine. I focus on the three types of prayer and, if I’m struggling with forgiveness, I spend my Bible time in the Psalms. Remember that King David had people who were trying to kill him – including his own father-in-law!
Forgiveness isn’t always easy.
Keep in mind that you’re doing this mainly for yourself. You need to find peace and closure to be able to move on. Forgiveness is the path to a happier life and it is often the things that are hardest to forgive that make the biggest impact in our life when we do. Remember that when you think it’s too hard, or even impossible to forgive. Keep your eye on the ball and use the tools you have and the support of your loved ones to keep trying and keep working at it.
As you practice forgiveness daily, you will get better at it. You will get stronger, kinder, and more forgiving. As a result you’ll become a better and more content person overall. If you ask me, that’s a goal worth striving towards. Keep practicing and don’t give up.
You can do this!