Forgiveness can be a hard won battle. And it is a battle. We teeter, at least I do, between the anger and the releasing. How do you let go of a transgression that caused so much pain? I’m talking about truly letting go, absolute and complete release, so that there is no longer a remnant of the pain or resentment. I found myself in this position. The pain was palpable, as if I had been physically cut. I knew that I could not afford to hold on to the anger, but I was having a difficult time in forgiving the person(s) that hurt me.
I did the normal things, like venting to my confidants. I yelled, cried and prayed, yet I still had not forgiven the person(s). The hurt feelings and anger began to build instead of retreat. The tightness in my chest and belly would not go away. I kept replaying the incidents over and over in my head. Could I have done something different? How could this person do this to me? Was my response too excessive? I decided to remove the transgressor from my life completely. However, they were still a part of the loop in my brain and the pressure in my chest. I had to dig deep and look outside of the box.
I needed help. I went in search of enlightenment and found it on YouTube. Who knew that was possible? I searched for forgiveness and found two videos that put it all in perspective for me. I wish I could say that after watching the videos I was able to forgive right then and there, but that is not the case. I can however say that I did learn a few things and forgiveness is coming. It’s okay that it is coming in small increments. The point is that I’m moving more in forgiveness than anger.
The first video I watched was “The Law of Forgiveness” by Bob Proctor. My first impression was that Bob kind of looked and sounded like a minister. That was a little bit off putting, but I quickly bypassed that feeling to focus on the message at hand. The four points that I took from this video were:
- Let it go completely.
- Don’t hold on to resentment. It is not healthy.
- You cannot hold on to bad thoughts in your mind and move in a good direction. (6:40)
- Form a habit of letting go of things that make you feel bad.
All of these points have their own difficulties. Letting it go, includes 86ing the resentment, anger, bad thought loops in your head…all of it. That’s hard work. Number four is truly the best step in the process because if you can make a habit of letting go of things that make you feel bad you are one step closer to peace of mind. I believe having this habit will make it easier to forgive. Point three is the one that really sticks with me because my goal is to continue to move in a good direction. I can see how the negative emotions are hindering my growth and remembering this point helps me tremendously on my journey of forgiveness.
The other video I watched was Bishop T.D. Jakes at Lakewood. This video was almost an hour long, but well worth the time to watch. There were so many things I gleaned from Bishop Jakes’ wise words. The top three points for me are:
- Forgive the way you want God to forgive you.
- Unforgiveness is not natural (22:26) and is a learned behavior (28:46).
- Unforgiveness holds you back.
When Bishop Jakes mentioned the Lord’s Prayer and paused at “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” to make a point that we as Christians/humans want God to forgive us completely, so in turn we should forgive just as He does. Ouch! That was definitely a wake up call for me. Bishop Jakes further explained that not forgiving is a learned behavior and is unnatural. He gave the perfect example of children still loving you even after getting in trouble. I knew by the end of this video that I had to release the resentment and anger because it was keeping me in a state of unhappiness.
There was hope for me because if this was a learned behavior I could definitely unlearn this destructive practice. I no longer felt bad about having such a hard time forgiving. My focus is now on learning new behaviors that will enrich my life and increase my happiness. I highly encourage you to watch the videos. You may find a treasure of wisdom that touches and changes your perspective too.
What helps you when it comes to forgiveness? Is unforgiveness holding you back in your life?