I remember well when I said “Yes” to forgiveness. Bitterness had tormented for years. It contributed to depression and anxiety as I rehearsed all the negative and hurtful things a certain someone had done to me. I didn’t see my condition as bitterness or unforgiveness – I saw it as self-defense. I thought I was protecting myself from future wounds. So I reminded myself often of what they had done so I wouldn’t let myself get too close and be wounded again.
But this was all challenged when I watched a video produced by Rob Bell called “Luggage”.
“I forgive them from my heart”, I said, after watching this short film. It worked like magic.
All of a sudden that person became human again. They were no longer demonized in my mind. I recognized that they were a broken person in need of grace and forgiveness just like me. What I perceived as a mountain of offense suddenly became a mole hill. I began to see how they were suffering and because of their own pain and dysfunction they ended up wounding others. As the saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
What is Forgiveness?
Here is a quote I brought up in my interview with Wm Paul Young:
“Nobody gets away with anything. Everything bears consequences. I’m not asking you to excuse what he did. Im asking you to trust me to do whats right and know what’s best. Forgiveness doesn’t establish relationship. It is about letting go of his throat.”The Shack
Forgiving others means letting go of our resentment and surrendering our thought for revenge. As pointed out in an article from the Mayo clinic, “Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.”
Forgiving actually set the forgiver free.
Here’s the miracle: I found that when I forgave, it not only healed my heart, but it also protected my heart from future wounds! The person didn’t change. They still said hurtful things and treated me the same way but now it was like water off a ducks back.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a solid book about forgiveness then I would recommend picking up Reckless Grace by Bill Vanderbush and Brit Eaton.