When you forgive, you take that person’s negative power/control over you away. Forgiveness is not forgetting, but in time, God’s time, it is slowly taking the sting away from those memories. In short, its giving new meaning to the same memories. Or more specifically, giving meaning to our suffering. Suffering stops being suffering once we are able to find or give meaning to it.
Nor is forgiveness taking away consequences from one’s behavior. In fact, having someone arrested for a crime may be the first step in extending grace and forgiveness to them. The first step of forgiveness is actually acknowledging all of the wrong that someone has done to you. Forgiveness is often a very slow, delicate and complex process. Please take your time…
Initially, the pain can be very intense and feel overwhelming. Surround yourself with a healthy compassionate network of support. God has promised us that there is nothing that He and anyone can not bear and endure (1 Cor 10:13: God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it). We need to rely on God’s strength and His Spirit. In His time, this person (or event), who had the power to control you just by being, will no longer command your emotions or hook you into a never ending emotional whirlwind. True emotional and spiritual maturity rises above blame to belief. Forgiveness is a liberating experience for you. Forgiveness is a process that integrates and absorbs our pain. Refusing to forgive is the destruction of joy.
Indeed, you were victimized, but you need not choose to remain a victim. Bitterness is on us. Often, victims remain psychological victims because they prefer justice over forgiveness. And as long as someone else is responsible for your behavior, you will never get better. A key ingredient of forgiveness is ultimately deferring justice to God. You can choose to become a victor through Christ (Phil. 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me). In God’s time, our greatest and deepest hurt can become our greatest gift (2 Cor.12:9: My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness). The greatest injustice of all time is Christ’s crucifixion, and because of that event, the Resurrection is our greatest blessing. Do you want emotional healing and wholeness? You may have to walk out on a limb to get to the fruits of the Spirit. And as an old friend of mine once wrote, you need not worry if you fall off the limb. Why? Underneath are His Everlasting Arms……….