Forgiveness is such a struggle…as we dive deeper into The Real F Word series, I really believe God is going to open a lot of us to experience true forgiveness to help us wrestle with those we haven’t forgiven. Jeff rocked the first message last Sunday, and you don’t want to miss this coming weekend’s service! It is going to rock your world.
I was skimming through an article from a past issue of my Radiant magazine, which is a spin-off of Relevant magazine exclusively for women, and I was blown away by what I read. It’s a little long but worth the read…check it out here:
The Power of Forgiveness
~Dr. Dick Tibbits
According to a Gallup poll, people who are willing and able to forgive tend to be more satisfied with their life. This reminds me of a statement I once saw: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.” Forgiveness does not change your past. Instead, it changes your feelings about the past so that you can walk without hesitation into the future.
Furthermore, an orientation toward forgiveness reduces the number of times you’ll have to forgive in the first place. When you fully realize that you always have the option to forgive, you also realize that you have the choice not to take offense in the first place. And when you don’t take offense at what someone else does or says, you wil have fewr incidents in your life that are difficult to forgive.
With such an orientation toward forgiveness, you automatically reframe the situation when something goes wrong. You automatically look at how the incident is making you feel. You ask yourself how you are going to let this affect your future. You prevent the buildup of a grievance story and spare yourself the hard work of having to reframe it later.
Making forgiveness habitual means that you’ve shifted your worldview. You know that life isn’t fair, so when bad things do happen, they don’t turn your world upside down. In fact, you expect bad things to happen; you even anticipate them. And before they ever take place, you’re prepared to deal with them.
Such an attitude completely changes your experience of life. It doesn’t take away the hurt, the disruption or the undesirability of the offense, but it gives you the ability to deal with the offense rather than be overwhelmed by it. With this orientation toward forgiveness, you refuse to expend a whole lot of energy thinking about how others have wronged you. Instead you use your energy to focus on what you need to do to achieve your most important life goals. After all, the primary question you must answer is not “Why is my life the way it is?” but rather “What do I want my life to be like?” While none of us can know for sure where life will take us, we do know there will be potholes and detours along the way. To think that your life will be perfect and nothing will ever go wrong is a serious self-deception. So, since you know you will need to forgive someone in the future, why not practice forgiveness every chance you get? Become an expert at living the forgiving the life. Each time you forgive, it becomes easier to forgive the next time.
Also, since wounds take time to heal, realize that you may need to walk through the forgiveness process many times in order to come to terms with certain hurtful events. But each time you successfully forgive that nasty event in your past, you’ll find it easier to release the hurt and reduce the impact of that event in your life. Each time you repeat the forgiveness cycle, the power of your grievance story is weakened.
So ask yourself: What is your typical reaction when someone hurts you?
>You try to win an apology
>You begin to resent the person who treated you unfairly
>You react with anger
>You fantasize revenge
Why do you think you tend to respond like this?
What usually happens when you react in this way?