A life of forgiveness sounds like a brave life. Like the bravest of all lives. And it sounds unattainable to you.
I must mention my life quote again, “The brokenhearted are indeed the bravest among us—they dared to love, and they dared to forgive.” as quoted Dr. Brene Brown in Rising Strong. This is a glimpse of what a life of forgiveness might look like–and it has a whole lot of brokenheartedness attached to it.
No thanks. Yet to love means the risk of heartbreak.
Before we go any further, I must tell you again what forgiveness is not.
- Letting go of healthy forms of anger.
- Allowing others to continue to disrespect your needs and boundaries.
Lying down and becoming a human doormat.
- Telling the wrongdoer that the past is no longer significant and everything’s fine now.
- Agreeing to become best buddies with the wrongdoer.
- Pretending to go back to normal relations as if nothing happened.
- Denying that you may still have to live with pain caused by the wrongful deed.
- Condoning of a bad behavior or the justifying of an offense.
- Waiting for an apology first, or whether the person will ever be talked to again.
- Demanding of reconciliation. Reconciliation, which is the coming together again of two upset parties, is not necessarily the outcome of forgiving.
- The easy way out.
I’m going to guess that when you reacted with a strong “no thanks,” you might have had one (or more) of these thinking errors as to what forgiveness is.
A life of forgiveness is how we move from victim to hero in our story. Forgiveness turns out to be more about you than letting the other person “off the hook” or continuing to stay in an unhealthy relationship or other bad misconceptions we have about forgiveness. A life of forgiveness is to be so brave as to be vulnerable enough to admit a wrong happened, that pain broke my heart, and yet I am choosing to journey through that pain because I am worthy of being loved wholly. Forgiveness is freeing my life so I can move forward and bless the world.
Remember those people in your life that have said hurtful things to you? Those things that your brain has regurgitated and now are a part of defining you? (Before you realized you have the ability to take authority over your brain.) You need to forgive them. Do this for you so you can heal and put up those proper loving boundaries. Boundaries as in BIG as in “what Boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my Integrity to make the most Generous assumptions about you.”
I’m telling you for your own good that you can’t just ignore those people who have hurt you. Or stuff down those feelings while you stay in relationship with those people who have hurt you. You need to forgive them. This does not mean that you have to stay in relationship with them or you get to continue to let them walk all over you. Something in your life is going to change because of this forgiveness. Do not be afraid of this change.
Time is also a part of this. Time that requires us to say in the holy tension of the pain that life has become. Time requires bravery from us also as we have to make those small brave decisions day after day to stay in that holy tension because redemption is coming.
Then you will go on to bless your world with your skin in the game. The world needs the heartbreak you risk.
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