I have written on this subject quite a bit. The reason for that is most likely because it’s something that has been top of mind for the last several years. Prior to losing my husband, I never really had to think about forgiveness very much, it just came naturally. It actually used to drive Jonathan crazy because he always thought that I let people take advantage of me. I just always had a forgiving heart.
My previous posts were about talking through forgiveness and the possible reasons why it was now so difficult for me. The reason for writing about this again is because I’m finally on a different side of the subject.
As much as I hated the fact that I wasn’t able to let go of certain things and as much as I tried, it just kept creeping back up. That told me that I hadn’t fully dealt with it. It finally became more than just wanting to be free from it; I needed to. The biggest struggle was that I wanted it to be real. I could say over and over that I had forgiven, but I was desperate for it to feel genuine. I realized that I had to set the feelings aside. You can’t trust your feelings, they change.
Much like (believe it or not) love is not about feelings, it is a choice, the same can be said for forgiveness. Love without action means nothing. I realized that I had to choose to forgive, regardless of how I felt. I made the decision, I wrote out some feelings that I needed to get out, I prayed for each person that I had been hurt by, and gave it over to God; for real.
Here is what really made all the difference for me. Forgiveness doesn’t negate what someone did, how they affected you, or made you feel. It doesn’t mean that suddenly it’s okay or that you magically forget what has happened. It doesn’t mean that you open your heart and life up to those people and let them walk back in. It’s actually best if you don’t if they aren’t safe or healthy for you. It’s about making peace with the past and being able to move forward from it.
Lastly, and most importantly, God commands us to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 says that if you do not forgive others, your heavenly Father won’t forgive you. It’s also super important for you to understand that you don’t forgive solely for the other person, you do it for you. It’s essential to have a clear heart; it’s freeing and releases all involved. God is more than aware of what has been done to you and He is clear in His word that He will defend you. He will fight your battles. He will protect you. Isaiah 49:25 says that He will contend with those who contend with you. Once you truly understand and get that into your heart, you can have the faith to let go and let God handle things in His own way.
I can’t begin to adequately express the weight that is lifted and the freedom you can feel from forgiving and letting go.
No longer to be continued…
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