Forgiveness is a Process not an Event

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is not to…

  • Condone
  • Forget
  • Tolerate
  • Ignore
  • Approve
  • Excuse
  • Minimize
  • Pardon
  • Deny
  • Absolve
  • Reconcile
  • An invite to hurt again
  • Surrendering justice

Forgiveness is a decision to not

  • Retaliate
  • Exact revenge
  • Seek compensation
  • Judge

Forgiveness is a decision to

  • Release them
  • Release ourselves
  • Be released

What is the process?

Accept the facts: Betrayal = a reflection.

Open your mind, memories and heart to remember the hurts, the wounds, where and when you have been let down, dishonored, abused, lied to, cheated on; diminished in spirit and emotion; diminished physically and financially.

Bring to your mind, to your memory and to your heart a picture of the betrayer: your father, mother, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, relative or friend. Have you been betrayed by your school, church, the judicial system, healthcare system, legal system, the government?

This is the reality: it did happen. We have been betrayed, hurt and deeply wounded. Name it and accept it. It’s tragic and it’s true.

Be willing to decide to release them and yourself: Forgiveness = a meditation.

It is also true that we can be healed from these soul wounds.

To forgive is not to condone or excuse the behavior.
What was done was wrong.

To forgive is not to pardon. That’s not ours to give —
we don’t have the power of absolution.

To forgive is not to forget. We are saddened by
the memory and must grieve the event.

To forgive is to release from debt; to release from the
demand for retribution or retaliation.

To forgive is to surrender the right to get even.

The reality is that as long as we hold onto these hurts, they possess
us. Actually, they poison us emotionally and spiritually.

To forgive is to take responsibility for our part, which may only be
that we have been holding onto these memories, these feelings and have allowed them to continue to devastate our emotional and spiritual life.

How long are we going to carry these wounds? How long are we going to be shackled by the chain towing this garbage barge of hurt, anger and shame?

All spiritual traditions believe that we are forgiven just to the extent that we forgive; all spiritual traditions believe that we are released just to the extent we release others.

Look at our own brokenness — the many betrayals for which we have been responsible. Look at our motives, our role, in the events in which we find ourselves betrayed. Where were we selfish, dishonest, angry or afraid?

In light of our own brokenness, look at their brokenness. See them like us — those who hurt us are themselves hurt, fearful, wounded, sick people — human beings twisted by their own personal histories.

We are all weak, wounded human beings, full of defects, attempting to survive the difficulties of life and find a little peace and happiness.

Forgiveness is the release of others and the harm they have caused us. But forgiveness often follows deep acceptance of and repentance for our own harmful actions to others.

We are powerless to name and accept the truth of the harm we have done; we are likewise powerless to release the hurt others have done to us.

Am I willing to pray for the power:

  • To ask for knowledge of the truth?
  • To ask for freedom from the bondage of my own history?
  • To wish for the spiritual healing of those persons or institutions who have harmed me?
  • To forgive myself — to let go of self condemnation, morbid reflection, remorse, our temper, our addictions, our vanities, our arrogance, our smugness; to let go of our failures and to do what we must and be who we are?

Am I willing to pray for the power:

  • To love them as I love myself?
  • To see the world and the people in it from God’s point of view?

Invite the healing Power of the Universe:

  • Into our minds — that our memories may be healed.
  • Into our hearts — that our feelings may be healed.
  • Into our souls — that our human spirit may be healed and flourish.

Healing Spirit of the Universe:

  • Enable me to be willing to let go, to forgive, to release.
  • Enable me to be willing to find freedom.
  • Enable me to be willing to be restored to sanity.
  • Enable me to be willing to be taken to a place of serenity.

Holy Spirit, breathe Your Spirit into me.

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