“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Buddha
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
1) If we bury our feelings and don’t work through them, they fester in our subconscious and come out in ways we are unaware of. God has created us so complex – with emotions that can affect us deeply if we don’t address them. We first need to expose and tend to the wounds. To grieve over our pain and what we have lost. If someone forces forgiveness as an immediate duty, it can pile on more guilt and shame, and our wounds will fester even deeper. We can draw even more into ourselves as we feel like no one understands the struggle.
2) “Sometimes granting forgiveness too quickly can be damaging because we haven’t yet taken the time to acknowledge and work through our hurt.” Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz
3) Forgiveness is not necessarily reconciliation. We don’t need to have to have warm, fuzzy feelings about them and forget what they have done to us. It doesn’t mean we need to trust a person who continues abuse. Some people still are not “safe” for us to be around. God wants us to set boundaries to keep them from hurting us more.
4) “Biblical forgiveness doesn’t erase the memories or hide the hurt, but it is the beginning of restored freedom and renewed health.” Ken Nichols
5) Greek meaning of “forgive” is to “release” or “send off” – release it to Jesus!
6) “When Jesus took on the weight of your sin and carried it to the cross, He also carried the sins committed against you. When you insist on holding on to the hurts inflicted on you, you deny the power of His crucifixion.” – Jennifer Kennedy Dean, He Leads Me Beside the Still Waters
7) God is gracious. He knows our weakness, and He has promised to give us the power to do what He asks of us. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
8) “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
9) I have hurt my Savior far more than anyone on this earth has or can hurt me. If I comprehend more of the magnitude of His love for me, I will more easily forgive those who have hurt me.
10) If we forgive someone, that doesn’t mean that person will not be brought to justice. It doesn’t mean we have let them off the hook, that what they did is not wrong. They still are on God’s hook and must reconcile themselves with God. “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled…” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
11) Forgiveness is often a process that must be worked through. God understands that it is difficult for us to forgive instantly and completely. He is patient with us. Jesus understands our hurt and will help us to be kind, to pray for them, and to not seek a path of revenge towards them. He understands how hard it is, and He longs for us to run to Him and cry out our hearts to Him.
12) Forgiveness frees us and makes our lives better, but healing is a continual process, especially when we have a deep soul pain. We may need to forgive over and over again. Sometimes just when I think I have forgiven those who have hurt me, memory triggers invade my life and destroy my peace. Then sometimes bitter feelings flood into my heart again as I think of all that my abusers have stolen from me. Again and again I have to plead for Jesus’ grace and strength to forgive.