Have you been hurt by someone you loved? Has someone betrayed your trust or violated your love?
Despite popular belief, we all have experienced hurt. Whereas some of us have been hurt by family, friends or our church community, some of us have been hurt by the heinous words and actions of our significant others and lovers. And as a result, we enter a world of bitterness, hate and dissatisfaction.
If you are going to live a life of joy, peace and happiness, then you need to adopt and embrace forgiveness.
In this article we’re going to address what forgiveness is, what the benefits of forgiveness are and how to implement forgiveness in your life today. Afterwards, you’ll have the power you need to walk in the newness of peace, joy and happiness.
Table of Contents
Watch this video: Personal success coach Ellard Thomas and speaker Dwayne Deloatch discuss the power and importance of forgiveness.
What is Forgiveness?
Ephesians 4:31 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Did you feel an “uggh” or a little bothered after reading the scripture above? If you did, it’s okay. That just means you’re struggling with forgiving someone who as hurt you. We’ll get through it together though. First we must understand what forgiveness is before we can truly learn how to adopt this process in our lives.
The collegiate definition of forgiveness stems from the word forgive, which means, “to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt., etc): absolve…to cease to feel resentment against.” Thus, forgiveness then is, “the act of forgiving; state of being forgiven.”
Easier said than done, right? But not impossible, though.
Are you aware that you might be carrying around years, months or days of toxic weight in your heart and spirit—failing to realize that the culprits of your anguish are living happier lives? And you’re missing out on yours?
The Goliath of Unforgiveness, as pointed out in the hit book Defeating Goliath, has hindered many people from entering into a state of happiness. It has destroyed homes, severed relationships, and led millions down the path of hopelessness. As a result, these individuals rarely experience joy in relationships, as distrust becomes the foundation of their connections. They sadly find themselves makings the following statements:
“Why must I forgive the people who hurt me when they do not deserve it?”
“If I forgive them, doesn’t that mean they got away with it?”
“I’d rather hate them than give them the satisfaction of my forgiveness!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. You share the same struggle with millions of people, but after today, you’ll be stepping into a better space. First, let’s find out why forgiving others is so hard to do?
Inability to Forgive Psychology:
Three Reasons Why Forgiveness is so Darn Hard!
Not forgiving someone who had hurt you is understandable, perhaps even justifiable. Seldom is it the solution to a promising future. Here’s why forgiveness is so difficult:
Reason 1: Forgiveness is a spiritual design. It requires us to bypass our natural feelings and to tap into the power of our spiritual selves. Unfortunately, this action creates internal conflict, as the natural self often opposes the spiritual persona (Galatians 5:17)
Reason 2: Anger holds you back. It’s normal to get angry when you’ve been betrayed, hurt or violated. Unfortunately, many people never escape this emotion as they continue to replay the hurtful scenarios in their minds—reliving the experience repeatedly. When you’re operating in the spirit of anger (and hate), forgiveness is never considered. For some, anger becomes an aphrodisiac.
Reason 3: Too afraid to get hurt again. Millions of people do not forgive because they do not want to get hurt again. They do not ever want to feel vulnerable. And as a result, they want to control how they feel and refuse to forgive those who’ve hurt them.
Unfortunately, this behavior is a false sense of security, as it prevents the opportunity for true happiness and bliss. Think about it. The key to any relationship and friendship is to feel a certain level of vulnerability. Adverse past experiences usually impedes forgiveness.
5 Steps to Forgiveness: The Power and Benefits
Unbeknownst to many people, there’s power and benefits to forgiving our culprits. Forgiveness has the power to transform anger and hurt into healing and peace. Additionally, forgiveness can help you overcome the feelings of anxiety, depression, anger and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. Through the power of forgiveness, you’re giving up the suffering of your past and opening up to a brighter and happier future.
Here are five steps you can follow to embrace and practice forgiveness today.
Step 1: Acknowledge what happened
It’s okay to acknowledge your hurt the reasons why you’re hurting. It’s completely normal. One of the best ways to acknowledge your hurt, who hurt you, etc. is to start a journal. Sometimes putting all your feelings on paper will assist you in creating a strategy to moving forward.
Step 2: Consider the impact
Your hurt and pain are impacting you in many ways. Whereas some people’s hurt causes them to isolate themselves, others seek healing in recreational drugs and casual evenings of intimacy. We all have different ways to cope, and may not even be aware that our behaviors stem from what someone else has done to us.
Step 3: Accept reality
Whatever someone has said or done to you is in the past. No matter how much you wish the pain or hurt could be reversed, it’s not going to happen. It’s during this step where considering to forgive begins.
Step 4. Learn what forgiveness means to you
Most people believe that forgiveness is the benefit of our culprits. This isn’t true. It’s actually for you. Consider Lewis B. Smede’s statement, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
The hate, anguish and anger you’re feeling are keeping you within the bars of dissatisfaction, discontentment and unhappiness. Once you learn how to forgive, and to actually summon the courage to do so, you’ll find yourself on the path of personal restoration.
Part of learning what forgiveness means to you is to also differentiate the difference between forgiving and forgetting.
Some people believe that forgiving someone who has hurt them means forgetting what has occurred. This isn’t true at all. You can forgive someone and still remember what has taken place. The point of remembering is to ensure you’re setting a standard you’ll not anyone else violate ever again. Makes sense?
Step 5. Forgive
Forgiveness is a difficult decision, only if you’re willing to hold on to the grief, agony, anger and feelings of betrayal. If you don’t want to hold on to these any longer, then it’s time to forgive.
The first place where forgiveness happens is in your heart. It’s your heart (and body) that holds the heaviest of the hurt and pain. So, it only makes sense that you get your heart free.
The best way I’ve come to learn to set my heart free is by praying for deliverance and meditating daily. Until your heart is free, you cannot fully forgive. And, once you’ve gotten your heart in order, you can forgive your culprits in person, in writing, or just in your heart—without ever speaking to them. Depending on the level of offense, you don’t have to remain connected to someone who has hurt you.
No one desires to be hurt, especially by someone they trust. Millions of people around the world are struggling with unforgiveness, finding ways to heal through destructive activities and behaviors.
Allow me a moment of transparency. It took me 20 years to forgive a family member, only after I realized that my hate and anger towards him costed me a beautiful relationship and several financial opportunities.
Within you is a resilient power and the ability to forgive. You must come to realize that you deserve happiness, but you may be delayed because of the unwillingness to forgive. If this is you, I challenge you to the forgiveness challenge. Simply, contact me and let me know who you forgave (no names needed). Also if you need further help on forgiveness or if you simply want a shot at a happier life, check out the following resources. Stay strong and keep moving forward.
Morning Ritual Mastery: This is a great program that reveals the best way to start your day to ensure
you're in a mind for happiness, and that you're accepting to a better life. Check it out here!
Elllard Thomas is a top personal success coach and founder of Power and Success Ministries, an organization that's dedicated to helping people with overcoming obstacles so they can live happier, successful and more fulfilling lives. You may contact me directly for any questions, follow us on Facebook or join us here.