(an excerpt from “Life’s Journey“)
Forgiveness is a process which involves assessment, decision, and action. First we must assess what we’re being robbed of if we don’t/can’t forgive. Just like assessing what items are missing after a burglary, we must inventory what’s been taken through unforgiveness – is it peace of mind, happiness, contentment, freedom of heart? Once we assess what we’ve been robbed of, we must identify what was put in its place. When we’re wounded I picture that we’ve been handed a piece of luggage. It becomes the receptacle and carrying case for all the harsh words and actions of the offender. It also holds all the wrong perceptions we formulate about ourselves – thoughts of worthlessness, inadequacy, shame. And all these thoughts, actions, and misperceptions become the stones/bricks that fill our luggage and make the steps of life’s journey difficult and painful.
After we identify what’s been stolen and what was put in its place, we must decide if we want to carry those weights through life. Do we deserve to carry the heaviness? Do we want to miss opportunities for moving forward because the weight of the unintended luggage restricts us? Can we afford to commit one more day, one more month, one more year to a weight that was imposed on us and keeps us from living a life of fullness?
If the decision is “no” we can’t continue under the weight, “no” we can’t sacrifice our future possibilities to past tragedies, then we must take action to set the baggage down. Despite the hurts and wounds, we must actively determine to sever the tie of unforgiveness so that we can move forward in freedom and liberty of heart and spirit. Forgiving doesn’t mean we forget, it just means the wounds no longer can tether us to their sadness and torment.