Forgiveness, Do You Run or Stay?
Today, on facebook – I had a follower to ask me how I experienced forgiveness to the 100th Power.
She was referring to a post I wrote to show the power of forgiveness, because it seems to be the vein I’ve been traveling in all year. Might I add, she was the only one who came and commented. Forgiveness seems to be one of those hush-hush, subjects nobody wants to talk about. Why is that? Forgiveness, do you run or stay?
I call myself the “Forgiveness Coach” simply because of my experience with the need to forgive and move on with my renewed life. Several years ago I went through a devastating divorce. Before the divorce took place, I discovered my former husband and a church member were involved – having an affair – Before you gasp for air and say, OMG! Stop and just hear me out.
Although this experience was a depressing time in my life it was also self-discovery, a time of awakening to self and my purpose in this thing we call life. I’m grateful for the good and the bad. There were many challenges for me to overcome during this time, perhaps you may be experiencing some of them yourself.
The one thing I can say is, it brought me face to face with the reality that if I held onto UN-forgiveness, I was automatically doomed – no inner healing for me. I’m sure that is not where you want to end up in your experience either. Sure, in the beginning the hatred you may feel for someone who had wronged you feels kind of good but at the end of the day they have moved on with their life and you are still holding all the unhealthy and bad feelings. Not a good place to be in.
Forgiveness, do you run or stay?
Let me ask you, When the subject of forgiveness comes up, do you tend to clam up and run the other way or stand firm and face the feelings that you have run from in the past? When you run from the issue at hand it only delays your healing process. Yeah, Yeah! I know you are saying, “but you don’t understand” I say, “yes I do” and I want you free just like the Lord has led me to be free and live my intended life.
If you are still not convinced, let me share a few benefits of forgiveness. First, I have to tell you that choosing not to forgive is rooted in the perceived benefits of being the victim. If you are comforted and tend to enjoy the attention you get from being a victim – I challenge you to step outside that comfort zone and live your life to the fullest, lightly and carefree without all that baggage.
It took me actually feeling the physical effect of UN-forgiveness before I decided to throw in the towel and just give it up. Yes, the physical effects of UN-forgiveness are very real indeed. I use to suffer from migraines until I let go. Today, I practice fearless forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is almost a selfish act
because of its immense benefits to the one who forgives”
~ Lawana Blackwell
Now let’s move on to the Benefits of Forgiveness:
Forgiveness is good for your heart — literally. One study from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found forgiveness to be associated with lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as stress relief. This can bring long-term health benefits for your heart and overall health.
- A later study found forgiveness to be positively associated with five measures of health: physical symptoms, medications used, sleep quality, fatigue, and somatic complaints. It seems that the reduction in negative affect (depressive symptoms), strengthened spirituality, conflict management and stress relief one finds through forgiveness all have a significant impact on overall health.
- A third study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that forgiveness not only restores positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors toward the offending party (in other words, forgiveness restores the relationship to its previous positive state), but the benefits of forgiveness spill over to positive behaviors toward others outside of the relationship. Forgiveness is associated with more volunteerism, donating to charity, and other altruistic behaviors. (And the reverse is true of non-forgiveness.)
I hope that gives you something to think about the next time you are offended and need help in making the decision to forgive.
Before I leave you, I’d like to share a few steps that have helped me when I asked the question “How do I forgive?”
- Be Open
- Make a decision to forgive your offender
- When images of the betrayal or hurt flash in your mind, think of a calming place or do something to distract yourself from dwelling on those thoughts.
- Don’t seek revenge.
- Accept that you may never know the reason for the offense.
- Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the hurtful behavior
- Be patient with yourself. Don’t try to hurry.
I do realize that forgiveness is not what everyone wants to talk about but it’s what most of us go through in life without any assistance. We somehow think that if we don’t talk about it it will go away. Not True…
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Come on over to my facebook page and share one thing about this article that stood out to you and you would consider trying. I’d love to see you face to face.