There is another chain that needed breaking called “the chain of unforgiveness.” To break this chain, I needed to learn about forgiveness. It’s easy to say “I forgive”; however, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Though I did forgive those people, I had to let go of the pains and the hurts that I was holding on to. I needed to surrender them to God.
For some people, it is not a one-time affair. In some cases, I had to struggle with letting go. For this reason, I kept going to Jesus and saying, “I do forgive these people and I choose to let go.” I had no problem in asking Jesus for help. The people who inflicted such treatments were not the only ones that I needed to forgive.
For one, I needed to forgive the people that hurt me. In this case, I am talking about the abuse I suffered in the summer of ’83. Did they deserve it? No, there is no justification for treating any human being like that. Their behaviors were shameful and evil. I can assure you that Joe was dealt with.
Why would I forgive these people? Yes, the Bible does teach that I should forgive those who have acted wrongly against me. It is for a good reason. If I don’t choose to forgive people, then my heart gets weighed down by bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. I’ve heard that these things can also affect your physical health and not just your emotional health.
The problem of unforgiveness gets worse. Guess who is not affected by your bitterness, anger and unforgiving attitude? It’s the people that you’re angry at. That’s right. It is totally wasted and you’re the only person suffering for it. Isn’t it time that you forgave that person?
In my situation, I chose to forgive those people and to let go of the anger, pain of humiliation and any bitterness. I surrendered it to God in Heaven. Is it easy to forgive someone especially in the case of abuse? No, it is not easy and I needed help in saying “I forgive Joe.” I can assure you that God was helping me the whole time. I can still recall the pain in my voice. Jesus was right there and helping me.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in doing this very important step. I felt a need to forgive and Jesus supplied the needed strength. When you forgive someone, it’s really for your own benefit. If you’re having trouble, then I’d encourage you to talk with God about it. Yes, it’s okay to talk with a trusted friend, pastor or counselor, too.
If anyone is without sin, then let the person cast the first stone. It’s easy to point out the failings in other people; however, no human being is perfect. It’s hard to admit to our own shortcomings and I’m thankful for God’s help in doing so. Do you recall my talking about my old role playing group?
Some years ago, it was on my heart to call Mark. He was a member of my old group and a fellow Christian. I felt a need to forgive the guys in my group. As I talked with Mark, he pointed out that I needed to acknowledge my wrong behavior and ask for forgiveness. Mark was right and I did apologize for my own misbehaviors.
I could have used other examples; however, the above one is an easy illustration. Forgiveness is a two-way street. Yes, I needed to forgive certain members of the group; however, I needed to acknowledge my own faults and ask for forgiveness. It’s not always easy, for it requires humility, courage and prayer.
It requires humility and courage for one simple reason. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. What if the person reacts in anger? What if the person doesn’t remember the incident? What if the person warmly hugs you and says, “I forgive you.” I have been on both sides and I can appreciate the effort.
The above is from my first book, A Lesser Human: An Anthology of Overcoming. If you enjoyed what you have read, then I invite you to buy the actual book. It’s currently available on Amazon.
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