Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
Forgive, as a word, and as an ideal, is very misunderstood in our world. Not only is the idea misunderstood, but the word itself is often intensely disliked.
The act of Forgiveness does not release the perpetrator from responsibility for their crimes, nor condone the behavior. Forgiveness is about letting go, a process that releases us from another’s destructive hold over our lives. It is not about accepting, trusting, or increasing future suffering. To the contrary, Forgiveness is simply releasing pain from the past in order to end future suffering.
Ultimately, forgiveness is not about someone, or something else. The idea that we must forgive someone else is only a step in learning the real Truth about letting go. This step helps to teach us where the real suffering of unforgiveness is experienced…in us. It is ourselves that is released through forgiveness, and until we forgive, we are likely to repeat the past.
Forgiveness is how we let go of the resentment that is harming us, and I speak from experience. In fact, the only way to I know how to help others is by sharing my understanding through my experience. Personally, I receive very little benefit from people that offer advice and opinions from a perspective that does not include actual personal experience. All of the healing that I have experienced in my life has come from God, and those that have personal experience with overcoming difficulties through faith and forgiveness.
Most people have their own understanding of forgiveness based on where they are in life and this article is in no way meant to criticize another’s perspective. I do not ask others to do, or believe what I write. That is up to the reader.
I am not sure how to say what I need to say without sounding like I am taking credit for something that I had very little to with, but feel the need to use my own personal experience to show an example of what Forgiveness in action looks like.
It is God’s Grace, faith, and forgiveness that changed my perspective, and with it, my life from hell, to heaven.
My dad is a serial killer. He abused my mom, used me to help him destroy evidence so I would not go to police and has threatened to kill me. I know what evil looks like. I’ve been to hell.
I also know what unforgiveness looks like because I have experienced that as well. Unforgiveness looks a lot like hell to me. It causes physical and emotional illnesses, including migraine headaches, chronic back pain, nightmares, sleep apnea, drug addiction and many others…all of which I have personally experienced.
Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison, and hoping the other person dies. It is toxic both physically and mentally. This is a medical fact as well. Many studies have been done on what resentment (or unforgiveness) does to our bodies, including raising one’s blood pressure when simply discussing someone they have not forgiven.
Forgiveness is not a lack of responsibility or action. It does not mean that we are to be passive and perpetual victims. To the contrary. Forgiveness requires great courage, faith, and action.
Yes, forgiveness does require action and the results may surprise you…it did me. I thought forgiveness was for sissys, but I was wrong!
Next week, in part II, I will write about how forgiveness gave me the courage to face my fears, my father, break the cycle of abuse, right the wrongs of the past, and what it looks like in action.