Welcome back to this week’s blog. This week is a tough subject, forgiveness. A lesson we must all learn that feels like it takes a lifetime to get right, with others and ourselves. Whether you are a Christian or a non-believer, this life lesson applies to all of us, not just some of us but all of us. None of us can live a life of peace if we don’t discover humility to first forgive ourselves and then forgive others. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32.
Over the course of my life, first I’ve had to learn to forgive my biological parents. When I was six years old, both parents signed the adoption papers when they decided they no longer wanted me as their daughter. Forgiving my mother took 26 years of therapy, as two doctors and three social workers diagnosed her as a paranoid schizophrenia who severely abused me from the age of 0-6. What I learned about this lesson of forgiveness is she was very seriously mentally ill, and was not cognitively aware of her actions, thoughts or behaviors in her role as a mother.
Sometimes in life it’s easier to forgive someone who has wronged you when you take into consideration they were or are suffering with an illness as a result of their actions. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. – Luke 23:34. Doesn’t make the pain and the loss any less, but it helps with discernment. In my life, my mother had a very serious illness that provoked her to severely physically, and emotionally abuse her daughters. I had to learn to forgive her for robbing me of a childhood. I had to learn to forgive her for not loving me as a normal mother would love and nurture her children.
I had to relive my childhood and the daily abuse in order to bring closure to the pain and loss and abandonment my little girl carried around her entire life. With many years of therapy, and a lot of spiritual growth, I found peace to forgive her so that I could go on with my life. I live out my reward today. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15.
I no longer have to carry the weight of my anger, bitterness, revenge, hatred, hurt and the loss of not growing up as a normal child, and not knowing my biological family because of my mother’s illness. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with our own internal work.
Forgiving my father was next lesson of forgiveness in my life. I’m still pondering if I’ve really forgiven my father for not fighting for me, but signing the adoption papers knowing full well that he may never see his daughter Debra ever again. I’m close to forgiving him, but this too is a process. The hurt and sadness still surface. I’ve learned to manage the “trigger points” of life that cause the flooding of emotions that come back to me due to the loss of my earthly father. One thing that I have learned that’s been valuable in my life; you can forgive someone who has wronged you, but forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to have them be a part of your life today.
Forgiveness is always the healthy thing to do, more for ourselves than for anyone. With forgiveness comes comfort and peace that it is over and closure is now resting. Even though I’ve forgiven my parents who have wronged me in my life, doesn’t mean that I have to include them in my life. We can forgive someone, but free will allows us choose to walk away so that we can live out our lives in peace. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14.
Scripture time and time again demonstrates what God commands of us when it comes to forgiveness. He teaches us in scripture how to first forgive ourselves of any sin, any wrong doings we have done to ourselves or to others. It’s hard to get down on bended knee and confess what wrong doings you have caused others. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. – Mark 11:25.
Admitting that we’ve done wrong is truly humbling and frees the soul from the guilt and shame. Guilt and shame will always take up space in our heads if we haven’t learned to forgive ourselves for hurting or causing someone else pain. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
If we don’t learn to forgive ourselves, we live in a whirlwind of disarray. Disaster follows disaster in our lives. We find ourselves depressed, filled with anxiety and shame. We quickly learn to disrespect our bodies and our lives as a result. Shame and blame take turns stirring in our minds a continual message that convinces us that we are worthless and not worthy of anything good in this life. Carrying this burden is not God’s will for our lives. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13-14.
If our Heavenly Father has forgiven us for our sinful ways, then why is it such a struggle for us to humble ourselves and forgive those who have wronged us in our lives? We need to love one another above all else, which is pleasing to the Lord.
Blessings until next week,