Forgiveness is concept that has eluded me my whole life. I’ve often felt if I don’t remember, who will? They will have won. That is a lie the enemy sold, and I bought at far too high a price.
Sometime ago, I had a girlfriend and at the time it was my deepest and darkest secret. Unfortunately, I trusted the wrong person with this information and it led to catastrophe—as trusting the wrong person with your secrets often does. I was forced by my church to tell my roommate about it, and she responded rather undesirably.
Shortly after my confession, she quite literally absconded deciding I was not taking the steps I needed to dedicate myself to the Lord and rid myself of my homosexual past. At her behest church leadership got involved and it went from bad to worse. The situation imploded. They said and did some of the most hurtful things. Worst of all they lied, and I started to accept their lies as truth. It was heinous. It broke me, but thank God it did not kill me.
For over two years I withheld forgiveness allowing what happened to disturb my peace and infect my relationship with the Lord. I would go from depression to fury and got stuck. I had no trust in The Church or its leaders. I wanted to know why? But the forgiveness I was withholding was not hurting them it was killing me.
Forgiveness is a sign of maturity. Not forgiving is disobedience and it cost me my peace. Nelson Mandela said, “Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”
But how do you forgive? How do you move on when you are still so angry? Don’t they know what they did was wrong? If not, then they need to!
1. Identify the real enemy. While what happened did hurt, they are not the enemy. The enemy is the enemy. Who you are allowing to steal from your present by having you live in a hurtful past.
2. When you forgive, forgive everything not just some of it; or else you will think of something new and start it up all over again.
3. Forgiving is not forgetting, it is releasing. God has not asked us to forget lest we wind up in the same predicament thus you must remember. Additionally, forgiveness does not mean they got away with what they did. Leave room for the Lord's wrath.
4. Say it out loud, "I forgive, I release, and I love." "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matthew 6:14
5. They say hurt people hurt people; I say hurting people hurt people. Whether or not they will admit it, they probably know what they did was wrong; but pride won’t allow them to make amends. Move forward.
6. For a long time I wanted answers. Why? You will never get an answer to your why. Moreover, you do not go back to the feet of those who broke you looking for absolution. Don’t tangle yourself in a web of why. Forgiveness is freedom from the why. Say that with me, “The why doesn’t matter.”
7. If you’re looking for an apology, look no further, “I’m sorry.” Now move on because you won’t get it from them.
8. You do not have to agree with the things other people say about you. I don’t know what was said about you, but I do know you can choose to reject it at any time. Aristotle said, “Whatever lies within our power to do, lies also within our power not to do.”
9. Stop talking about it. All people will tell you is how sorry they are for you. You don’t need their sympathy. My Mother said, “We all choose our own path. They have chosen theirs all that’s left is for you to choose yours.”
10. Forgiveness does not mean going back. Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
11. Seek truth. I have found more often than not, people have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. They just sound like they do. If you don’t know who you are when you leave the house in the morning, someone will tell you while you are on your way; and since you don’t know the truth you will be forced to believe them. Open your bible and read the truth about who you are from your Father who loves you. Choose truth.
Say it with me:
I am not responsible for the things other people do.
I am not held accountable for the lies other people tell.
But, I am punishable for the un-forgiveness I have been harboring in my heart.
I forgive. I release. I love. I move forward.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37