Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Forgiving when it's hard to forgive

#When A Woman Finds Her Voice, no. 5

Forgiveness is as personal as you and me. It does not come easy to anyone, not even for the most God-fearing person. I find myself able to form the words I forgive you, but another transaction is needed. This one in my heart, to truly forgive in my heart the one who has hurt me. The second of the two is the more difficult. To forgive goes against the grain. The wounds slice deep in our heart of emotions and are poisonous fumes in our tender psyche. It seems contrary to nature to let them off the hook, that person who did the wounding.  
It seems impossible to forgive what seems unforgivable

We may think the words, "I forgive you," even say them, but still not forgive. We may find ourselves bound to the unforgiveness inside of us. It steams like a volcano ready to spew its molten contents from deep inside our heart's abyss, its toxic embers waging war in our thinking---the body's natural response to our pressurized feelings of pent-up anger. The emotional wounding simmers and churns, waiting to release its ugly molten mass
Left untreated, it will take us down in the process.

I learned some things about forgiveness. In me there was a shallow forgiveness, well-intentioned but not complete. God revealed to me a whole abysmal level of unforgiveness deep within me.  It was then that I sorrowed and grieved for that which was lost, releasing it into the arms of my loving heavenly Father.

We can stop this insane self-punishment that seems to be unending.

We can deal with our unhealed hurts, unmet needs, and unresolved issues.

It is possible to forgive a person who is undeserving of our forgiveness.

Forgiving another person is giving yourself permission to let it go, to release its hold on you, to remove its power from your internal hard-drive.

You will be able to forgive the offender because God will give you the capacity to say, "I forgive what you did to me," and mean it.

Forgiving does not excuse the the injurious act. Faith puts it in God's hands. God comes in and ministers to us in the process.

I woke up in the early hours, wide awake and unable to sleep. As often happens, my mind was working overtime while I was slumbering. The thought had awakened me. My mind had figured out a commonality between my husband who had left me and my injured self. Its insightful tune sent reverberating messages like spinning ping-pong balls bouncing back and forth in my thinking. In the next few moments while sitting on the edge of my bed, I knew that the problem wasn't just my erring mate that had caused pain in our relationship. It was also me. Though I had absorbed much pain, somehow I had failed to realize how much he and I were alike in our angst. In this moment of revelation I began to see my part in causing him pain.
It was convicting to know this about myself.

A Godly sorrow leads to repentance. That morning, I looked at our years of history together, the hard parts that had stung, repeatedly penetrating into the soft layers of our hearts---the twenty-one years of trying but rarely understanding each other. There were many wrongs, most I had forgiven, but their pain was still real. I knew that I must release him, his part in it, and let my silent, white anger go. Then, deal with my part. I found myself writing a list stating the times when I had been ungrateful or unappreciative of his efforts, the times I had caused pain by my words or actions---my tears blurring my vision as the list grew in length.
It was painful, heart-felt.

I called him up and he came over. I knew that I needed to say it, and he needed to hear me say it. I read my list to him after making an apology, briefly pausing when my voice would catch.  I sorrowed for what we both lost in the painful interactions that had snuffed out the life in our marriage. I let go of the silent "you owe me" mentality that had lain dormant, unvoiced, in my mind. Mentally, I released him from the many painful episodes that had damaged me. It was quiet between us when I finished. He stood up, thanked me, then left. He may not have been moved by what I said, but I had changed in my attitude. My chains were gone.  
I was set free.

My acknowledgement that day changed 
my inner person.

It was a cleansing of my heart and mind. 

The light came in and I was different.  New.  Free.

God led me down the path to an offering of  forgiveness and seeking of forgiveness.

It was a new day, a better day, a right thing to do.

I've never regretted it.

The offender's response didn't matter, that wasn't the reason.

What mattered?  I did what I needed to do.
I forgave from my heart.

Healing comes in many forms.
Forgiveness is just one of the many facilitators of this process. Forgiving the one who owes you is to remove yourself from their power over you. The memory of their actions will no longer ferment inside of you because you have given freely of your will in the matter. The torment is defused. By releasing the injury and the person, you are able to live again. No, it isn't fair. No, they didn't get what they deserved. That's not the point. You cannot change them, you can only change yourself.  
Forgiving someone who has wronged you is a spiritual act of divine proportions.

Forgiveness gives you wings to fly again.
Read more about forgiving and healing in the lives of Jo Ann Fore and other women who have chosen to overcome despite the difficult circumstances in their lives. Each woman's story is the stuff of life. This book is a gripping read that will draw you into the challenges that these women face and the healing they receive.

A spiritual book of #FAITH, #HOPE, and #HEALING.

Norma Brumbaugh is part of the When a Woman Finds Her Voice Book Launch Team.

All Rights Reserved


  1. Thank you for sharing this, for your open heart and loving voice. Bless you!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Not an easy subject to write about! Blessings ...

  2. Norma, what a beautiful post about the freeness forgiveness can give us. Bless you in your journey. <3

    1. Thank you for reading it and for the well-wishes. Blessings ...