If others could forgive horrendous offenses so can you and you too can experience freedom.
There are things that happen in our lives that cannot be fixed. It hurts so badly and the pain won't go away it seems. How can peace be found after such horror as murder or rape or any violence against us or our loved one? We feel violated. Something has been taken from us that we can not replace. Even if there is no violence and we lose a person to death or just a break up there is pain too.Thus the mental anguish of questions such as why, how, and for what reason did this horrible thing happen. Pain in our loss seems to increase with every thought. Pain causes some to withdraw while others retaliate. Some withdraw mentally while others commit suicide to remove themselves physically and completely. Still others resort to anesthetizing themselves with drugs and alcohol to stop the thoughts that cause the pain. But those "solutions" really don't fix anything. The pain remains. Pain is inevitable in this world. Pain affects us all differently. Some people hold everything inside but pain always has a way of slipping out to others if not properly dealt with.
Evolutionary theories don't offer any kind of pain relief. If we consider being originated from pond scum it is hard to grasp any real purpose for our lives. But from a creation belief (which all evidence points to) we can find meaning and purpose to go on regardless of the trauma in our lives. Knowing that we are made by a Creator may also cause one to blame Him for our problems. Since we are not God to understand and determine if what God allows or does is wrong it seems unreasonable to become angry and thus add to our pain. People who don't serve God sometimes cry out to Him asking why.
A small child doesn't understand the pain associated with hospitals working for his healing. I am not trying to say that God allows things for our healing. I am saying that we don't know why. But we can work with Him in our life's process to become all that we were intended to be. Pain can prove to make us better people.
Reasons can be offered, but no one really knows exactly why things happen. We do not hold all the answers on this earth. So if we have no answers can there be any solution? Yes.
Azim Noordin Khamisa, whose son was murdered, said we must have a souliar shift. If the cell is the basis for our physical body then the soul is the basis for our spiritual self.
There must be a shift in how we see things.
Vulnerability increases our absorption. We will either absorb hate or we will absorb love in those incidents. Those who are open to love will become incredible humans that others will look at with amazement. How can the son of a murdered man love his father's killer? How can the father of a son who was killed reach out to his son's killer and the grandfather to form a worldwide organization of healing and forgiveness? How can someone raped by eight men find joy in giving birth to that child conceived in violence AND forgive her attackers?
There is a desire to have no pain. When someone is desperate they will "try" anything. OK how desperate are you? Pain can draw you to know God in the most intimate of ways.
Not only is unforgiveness a mental torment but it has been proven to cause 87% of all illnesses. So that means you'll have to fight pain in your body eventually as well as your mind if you don't forgive. The will to forgive is paramount. You must desire to forgive before the feelings come. You may ask, isn't desire the same thing as feeling. No. You can desire to get up in the morning but you don't feel like it. If you go with the feeling you'll lay in bed all day!
Desire: you know and want to do what is right. Forgiveness is a choice. That's the first step.
1. Say it aloud: I want to forgive. Then say the words: "I want to forgive ________ for __________." You can even write the offender's name and offense on paper. Once you've said it then crumble that paper and throw it away symbolizing the throwing away of unforgiveness. You've now started the process. Your brain needs to hear your mouth speak those words to start reinforcing your actions that follow. Our brains actually form grooves (ruts) as we do things. Ever heard the term "stuck in a rut"? It is difficult to get out of these ruts but not impossible.
Know that each time you say you've forgiven your offender there will be another voice to convince you you're stupid for doing so.
There is an enemy of good, an enemy of love and ultimately an enemy of God. God loves us and his enemy hates us simply because God loves us. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for us while we were still sinners. He paid the price for all of our sin. Well you're thinking this is about the sin done to YOU, but we must understand we also have offended. We have offended God. (If you are perfect then you don't need any of this)
So when we know that we can be forgiven for all that we've done it is easier to pass it along to others. Now if you're thinking your offense isn't as bad as someone else's it is necessary to understand how God thinks of sin. He says no one who has sinned can enter heaven. That's any kind of sin. So if you lie, to God it is sin. Murder is too. So looking at it from that standpoint we all need forgiveness. Jesus said if we don't forgive we will not be forgiven. So that ought to be a major motivation for eternity but freedom from the pain now should also motivate you to forgive.
2. Now's a perfect time to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to take charge of your life. He's waiting. Make Him the commander of your life. He knows better than anyone what is best for all of us. His ways may seems strange but they work for our good every time we follow them.
3. Train your mind. When your thoughts bring you back to unforgiveness and how "you don't deserve what happened to you and someone has to pay" remember unforgiveness
makes YOU pay! So just as you would change a conversation with another person, change your conversation with yourself. This is the hardest part and may require moment by moment training. Repeated actions promote habit. Trade those anger and victim thoughts for freedom thoughts. Recognize the burden is no longer yours.
Fill your ears with truth. Read the bible aloud so that your brain can regroove! Scripture is what Jesus used when He was tempted. If it worked for Him it absolutely will work for us who believe. You can also pick a song that is uplifting not one that attacks or complains. Start singing it. You can't think two thoughts at the same time.
4. If there is an opportunity to talk to your offender and tell them you forgave, then reach out.If you happen to see the offender be pleasant.(In the case of sexual offenses protect yourself physically without being sucked into the emotional fear and anger again)Remind your self you have forgiven and relax. For violent crimes against you please don't be alone with your offender but always have someone with you so that another offensive opportunity doesn't arise.
Be warned that some may find you offensive for doing that. In some cases people doesn't think they have done any wrong. If you tell them you forgive it could end up getting very ugly. Just keep it in your heart between you and God. You can share also with close friends. Some people however won't understand how you can forgive and actually may incite you to become angry. This will set you back into unforgiveness. So at first keep it to yourself until you are stronger and able to hold onto your new freedom of forgiveness.
5. If you happen to see your offender don't let those feelings take control, no matter what that person says to you. If they become offensive verbally you can share that you've forgiven them and stay calm. Remember what Jesus has done for you. Remember you have an enemy that wants you to fail. He's ready to laugh at you when you blow it. Stay calm and think before reacting. The bible tells us to love our enemies. Show that even if you don't feel it! You will walk away feeling victorious.
These are the simple steps to forgiving. Is is easy? Well nothing worth having is easy right? The greatest treasures are worth working hard for. So keep doing the steps over and over until they are not formed and established in your mind. Imagine what you will say to your offender if you see them. Think of them as hurting too and having made the wrong choice with that pain. You might be the one to help them to their freedom and start a chain reaction that just might change the world. YOU DO MATTER. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. You don't have to follow all those who perished in their unforgiveness.
You are making yourself better. Keep that in mind. Forgiveness is for YOU. But once you have freedom you can make an impact on the lives of others. Imagine a world where everyone was able to forgive. You can start a ripple that will travel the world.
My life was started with a major offense that has turned into a fulfilling destiny to help others. You too can rise above your offense and let God turn it into your destiny for a better world. If your thoughts tell you that you are a hypocrite because you don't "feel it", let me remind you that you can't possibly do or not do all that you feel. You don't feel like working, but if you don't you won't eat. If you feel like running into someone with your car you certainly will NOT do it because you know the consequences. Forgiveness is the same way. We must realize the consequences of unforgiveness is physical as well as mental illness. Forgiveness is for the offended more than for the offender.
I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is waiting to help you. May He bless you with a free heart and mind!
I am available to help you sort through things and walk into forgiveness if you need help.
Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org But God is always available.
There is nothing that you can't rise above with Jesus Christ. He is foolishness to those that are unbelieving but to those who are perishing and believe He is salvation.
Check back for stories Victories Against the Odds. These are stories of people's pain being turned in amazing joy and meaning.