Forgiveness can be a sensitive area for many of us depending on what we may have experienced in our lives. The biggest hindrance that many of us have in navigating through our healing journey that keeps our spirits captive with unforgiveness is the brainwash misconceptions of what forgiveness actually doesn’t mean. There is a relief in our spirits being lifted, improvement with our relationships, we become better parents in our journey , and we open ourselves up to receive all the blessings God has for us when we make the decision to forgive. When we forgive we move on in with taking ownership of our healing journey. Forgiveness truly is a gift from God ; it’s a gift that we can offer ourselves in discovering the benefits to live a life of peace.
I started a three-part series on the process of healing centered on forgiveness. I found that the third component of my healing and forgiveness series was the hardest for me with expressing since it was something that I too needed a breakthrough in understanding. I had to get rid of the misconceptions of what forgiveness doesn’t mean from fairy tale quick fix quotes that don’t apply to real life. I decided to really focus on the root of unforgiveness within my healing journey to properly operate in the spirit of forgiveness to cleanse my heart. I took a few years to focus on healing in addressing somethings following my divorce. Many areas of my life begin to improve along with me gaining clarity as I dived into what it truly means to release in moving on, and the biggest gain was the deeper connection I had with my children who also were going through the same. Check out the following two articles on my healing and forgiveness series right here.
As you grow to understand forgiveness I pray that your break some harmful misconceptions of what many think forgiveness is that keeps them stuck from healing in moving on to have a life more fulfilled.
5 Things Myths That Forgiveness Is Not
- Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Forgetting: It’s a cute quote, but the truth is forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting what happened. There are scenarios that it would be practically impossible to forget what an offender may have done to us especially in cases of abuse, neglect, or severe mistreatment. It is a very misleading quote that minimizes deep wounds. It can also be emotional devastating depending on what occurred with the infliction of the wound. There are some incidents in life where I may have honestly forgotten a trivial offense, yet they are some wounds that I have to speak to God often in prayer to heal my heart. I pray that you give those wounds to God in studying his word along with going to prayer to heal the heart and pain.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
– Matthew 5:23-24
- Forgiveness Doesn’t Give the Offender A Pass: Forgiveness doesn’t give our offender a free pass to what they have done to us. God sees and knows all. It may look like the other party is living carefree on social media in living their best life, but God sees all in beyond worldly facades. A loving parent forgives with compassion, yet disciplines their children. It isn’t for us to hold grudges or seek personal justice in being superheroes wearing capes. It is for us to trust God as our heavenly Father to fight and protect us. Vengeance is the Lords’ not our own, and forgiveness doesn’t mean we give the other person a free ticket. Forgiveness is a gift for us to move on to live a life of peace, fruitfulness, and joy.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
– Romans 12:17
- Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Reconciliation: Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to restore a relationship to what it once was. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to maintain a relationship with someone that isn’t healthy, beneficial, productive, or safe (emotionally or physically safe) to be around. Yes, we are to forgive as the bible states, but we also are to be wise in protecting our space and our loved ones.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you.
– Matthew 6:14
- Forgiveness Doesn’t Equate Trust: Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we open ourselves up in making it easy for us to allow the person who hurt and offended us to repeat the same behavior. It is imperative within forgiveness that we set rules, boundaries, and use wisdom to what extent we will have interactions with the person. We are to forgive others from the Lord’s strength and courage in not being doormats or push overs. If you choose to have a relationship with this person be leery and aware of any mental manipulation of the other party using guilt, shame, intimidation to mask their behavior to keep you in a toxic cycle.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
– Matthew 18:15
- Forgiveness Isn’t A One -Time, Climactic Event: Forgiveness is truly ongoing in being something that we have to apply in grace, mercy, and compassion in living in the world daily. It’s forgiving at times multiple events within a day, not just climactic events for which I have learned. It’s forgiving the person who almost gave me a fender bender, the co- worker who snubbed me in not giving a simple greeting in the morning, it’s forgiving my children when they misbehave in being disobedient, and etc.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
– Ephesian 2:8
I pray that you find hope, healing, and inspiration to forgive from this series. There is so much more to life than living in bitterness and holding grudges. I found that as I opened myself to forgiveness I opened myself to blessings. May you glow from the inside out.