Forgiveness - grant pardon to an offense or offender.
Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult challenges we face. We are wronged. We wrong others.
Forgiveness is necessary for healthy living in body, mind and spirit. Not offering forgiveness can cause physical symptoms as well as harbor resentment and anger.
Jesus talks about forgiving others seventy times seven which means 490 times. I've also heard forgiveness explained like peeling an onion - there are layers to forgiving someone and takes time.
Forgiveness is often a "one way street." We forgive so we can be free of resentment and anger when the person who offended us may not offer reconciliation.
I am presently in the process of forgiving someone who recently wounded me greatly. Initially, I was overwhelmed, numb, and couldn't event think about forgiveness. As time passed, I knew forgiveness was the only way to get rid of anger and feelings of betrayal about an injustice that was causing me physical symptoms and emotional discomfort.
How did I start to walk along a path leading to freedom and peace?
1. I began by asking God to help me and give me strength. I knew forgiveness would not happen without God's leading and grounding.
2. Letting God know about my desire to forgive this person gradually shifted the energy in my heart, slowly releasing anger and resentment, allowing room for quiet and comfort.
3. Know Jesus forgave those who crucified him offered companionship as I walked through circumstances and emotions generated.
4. Exercise regularly. Experiencing a wrong can create a lot of energy. Dissipating this energy through exercise helps relax the body, release tension and open the heart and mind. The water in the pool at the Fishers Y continues to support my body as I released anger with each lap I swim.
Wondering how I would know when I had reached forgiveness was a question I frequently asked. Could I think about the incident with less anger? Did I have fewer flashbacks of what happened? Would my physical symptoms that developed afterwards go away?
Although I have not completely reached a place of peace , I know I am making progress, compared to where I was a month ago. My anger is reduced when I think about the person and what happened. Flashbacks occur with less frequency. I have stopped taking medication my doctor gave me because physical symptoms have gone away.
Inviting God into a desire for forgiveness, helped me feel like I was not alone on a difficult path.
Prayer: God, we try so hard to live with love for all we encounter, but sometimes we are wronged by others in various ways, and we wrong other. As you offer forgiveness so freely, strengthen and guide us when we need to forgive others, even when there is no possibility of reconciliation or acknowledgement. Amen.