Most of us carry baggage from our past; however, when abuse was present by the people we trust, in our childhood, we tend to carry hidden baggage on a deeper level. We can be left with many things that are triggered as we journey through life.
We did nothing wrong, nothing to be ashamed for, and we are not responsible for any abuse during our childhood.
The only way we can move forward into wholeness is to forgive those who hurt us and to let go of our need to make them pay for our unhappiness. I’m not talking about getting justice; indeed, that may or may not come, with time.
For me, forgiving those people for betraying my trust, their deception, the pain and shame they inflicted on me (a child). Forgiving them for making me feel worthless for most of my life, was the most freeing experience, and continues to be. The gift of forgiveness we offer others is not earned, it’s a gift we give ourselves and it’s an ongoing choice.
I realised the alternative (to not forgive), meant I would pay a substantial price; indeed, bitterness, resentment, depression, revenge, and hate, which would keep me powerless and attached to the abuser on an emotional, spiritual and psychological level. I knew that my healing and restoration could only come as I forgave them for what they did.
Our struggle comes in the form of our choice to walk through the painful experience and learn new beliefs about ourselves and about the perpetrator, learning to be free from the cords that tie us to the abuser and the abuse. This will involve being real and honouring our emotions like anger and grief, etc.
The struggle also comes in the form of our choice to forgive our abusers. Unless we forgive them, we give them the power to hurt us again and again for the rest of our lives.
Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened to us. It is not a cheap grace that we claim for ourselves, or offer the abuser. It frees us up from the blocked emotional energy that is locked within our memory. Forgiveness was invented for those unworthy of it. Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.
TO FORGIVE: - to give up resentment against or the desire to punish. To pardon an offence or the offender. To cancel.
Forgiveness is not a one-time decision.
God understands the struggle we have with forgiveness. In Matthew chapter 19:21 (The Message) Peter got the nerve up to ask Jesus, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?
Jesus replied, Seven! Hardly, try seventy times seven.”
That’s 490 times for the one offence. So He understands the cruelty of holding onto revenge and anger. He understands the destructive power it has over an individual and has given us a way out.
Forgiveness is an ongoing choice until we let go of it. “It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.” We cannot run from the past, what happened to us happened, there is no undoing that; however, forgiveness is the first step to moving on from it.
The offence will always be there, attached to our memory, because it did happen; however, when we forgive (an ongoing decision) it loses its power and attachment to our emotions.
Forgiveness is not easy, it’s not an emotion; it’s a choice!
Forgiveness isn't giving in to another person; it's getting free from that person. When we forgive we release ourselves from the pain we have experienced at the hand of someone else. Forgiving them disconnects their control, or the memory of what they did, over our emotions.
We won't forget what happened to us, but it loses its emotional control over us when we forgive and let it go; likewise, it loses its power to taint our future.
Forgiveness empowers us.