Everyone of us has been wounded by someone close to us. In some instances the wounds are so deep so abusive as to have altered the nature of our person hood. As we seek to recover we often see those who harmed us as having escaped suffering, while we have had to deal with the awful hurt. That makes it seem impossible to forgive. Our nature wants the offender to hurt as much or more than we have.
The truth is as long as we hold our offenders as captive to our revenge we remain the victim and open ourselves to roots of bitterness that will eventually strangle our soul. We become imprisoned to a life of misstrust, suspicion and shallow relationships. We do not open our hearts for fear they will be crushed again. One cannot LIVE this way only exist.
In order to embrace life again we must forgive.
"You must make allowance for each others faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. (Col. 3:13)" New living translation
So where do we begin in order to forgive? The first step may well be to forgive yourself. Victims often blame themselves for the abuse they suffer even when it clearly it was impossible for them to avoid. Start with the understanding that all people wound and hurt other people. Hurt people will Hurt people. We have all been victims.
The real key to forgiving other is in accepting the forgiveness we have in Christ and offering it as a gift to those who hurt us. In Christ we are not only forgiven but scripture tells us that God also forgets our sins. At first glance forgetting deep seeded wounds seems impossible.
We have spent years Repeating the wounds, Rehearsing them and Reliving them to ourselves and others. The above formula should be familiar to all of us. It is the formula we have used all our lives to help with memorization and study. While in school we prepared for tests by Repeating, Rehearsing, and Reliving what we had been taught.
To begin our journey toward forgetting we have to stop using the formula:
1. Stop Repeating: Do not retell this story or hurt.
2. Stop Rehearsing: Do not act out the events.
3. Stop Reliving: Visualization is a powerful memorization tool but it can be our enemy as we rewind the film of our hurt and replay it over and over in our minds.
Ask God to help you forgive. It takes His divine power to heal us and fill us with the grace we need to forgive these deep wounds.