Reflection: Forgiveness is a decision, an act of our will. It’s a myth to think that to forgive, you must feel forgiving. Forgiveness has very little to do with how you feel. You can feel hurt, betrayed and angry and still forgive, because biblical forgiveness is a choice you make.
Feeling angry and disappointed is a part of being human – it’s likely to come and go, but we can’t choose to stay there.
Anne Lamott, an American author, wrote very honestly about her anger toward her mother: “I prayed for my heart to soften, but my heart hardened toward her. I refused to be nice and I couldn’t forgive her for being a terrified, furious, clinging, sucking mass of need and arrogance.”
Later Anne took her first halting steps of forgiveness and said, “I discovered that I had forgiven her for a number of things, although not for any of the big-ticket items like having existed at all and for having lived so long! Still, the mosaic chips of forgiveness I felt that day were a start…”.
More recently Anne has written about her mother again and says that thankfully, she has reached a place of not needing to hit back and the burden she carried about her mother has lifted.
The reality is that forgiving is a journey, sometimes a long one. We may need some time before we get to the destination of complete healing, but the remarkable thing that we might not see until we look back is that we are being healed on-route.
Question: Have you ever had to embark on a healing journey because of being hurt or injured by someone you love? What helped you take and complete that journey?
Prayer: Lord, as you have forgiven me, so may I genuinely and completely forgive those who have hurt me. Heal me in every way, I pray, Amen.