This is a big word for me this year. I have listened to several teachings about the act of forgiveness and how much it benefits me more than the person I am choosing to forgive. I will be the first to admit that I can hold a grudge like the Statue of Liberty holds her torch! I have a strong sense of loyalty and when I feel disrespected or that someone has done or said something to cause me hurt or pain, I will be the first at the table to walk in unforgiveness and pain. I openly admit to this.
What I have learned is that the only person I am hurting is yours truly. I choose to hold onto the action that person did to hurt me. It festers and grows and in reality, holds me back in more ways than I can write about in one post. The act of being unforgiving has led me down some dark roads that I have yet to recover from fully. What I have learned is that holding onto the anger, the bitterness, and the hurt is just too costly to my mental and emotional health.
I can choose to forgive, but I can also have a healthy boundary.
I can choose to forgive, but distance myself from toxic people.
I can choose to forgive, but I do not have to rush into letting go of the hurt because all wounds will heal in time.
The most important part of forgiveness is that I am choosing to release that person from owing me a debt that will never get paid.
How did this revelation on forgiveness happen? I believe in signs and divine timing. I was listening to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast (linked below) and they discussed the six practical steps to forgiveness. It was another a-ha moment for me to learn how this tangible process of forgiveness can be a step towards moving forward and putting it behind me. Writing a true Statement of Forgiveness lays it out there and is like a pseudo affidavit that puts your feelings and thoughts into action and hopefully, with mercy, we can choose to forgive. When I was writing out these “statements” of forgiveness, (Trust me, I have plenty to forgive!) I recognized the most important person I have to forgive is myself. I am my own worst judge and jury at times and I have not forgiven myself for mistakes I made when I was young and foolish or the big mistakes that I made when I felt alone and broken. After decades of living with regret, I think I finally found a way to forgive.