I have to admit that forgiving someone who has hurt me or someone I love is probably the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to do. I am ashamed to say that even though I am a Christian my initial reaction is retaliation. I want them to feel the same kind of pain they have caused. It is usually about this time I get a nudge from God reminding me that I am no longer slave to that old me. The new and improved me - is Christ-like - and should be responding with unconditional love and true forgiveness. I struggle with this.....A Whole Lot! I have found over the years the one of the most important parts of 100% forgiveness is releasing the hurt and letting go of the pain. When we don’t, it becomes it can hurt us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In the past I have let un-forgiveness literally make me physically ill. It ate at me like a cancer and one day I knew that something had to be done. It was either be forgiving.....or stay sick. I chose to forgive. I later learned that un-forgiveness is now classified as a disease in medical books? According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and prevents their recovery. In fact, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases such as cancer. "It's important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone's reactions to cancer treatments, even someone's willingness to pursue treatment," Standiford explained. Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and author explains that, "Harboring negative emotions such as anger and hatred creates a state of chronic anxiety. Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which are your body's foot soldiers in the fight against cancer." The really hard part for me about true forgiveness is that it always requires sacrifice on my part – that seems so unfair to me.....and even now I struggle with the justness of this. Why should I have to sacrifice anything? Why can't the person who hurt ME make that first move....Why? Why? Why? I have a lot of questions on this one. I have to be still for a moment and know that God's forgiveness defies human logic....and just look at what he has forgiven me for. Talk about Amazing Grace....that is the definition of the concept. Forgiveness is our greatest need.....and one of the many of God's great gifts to us. To forgive...and to forget...is a deliberate choice on our part. We can choose to do this....or choose not to do this....the choice is ours in the long run. We must remember that God is the final judge...not us. Let me tell you....forgiveness is empowering. It frees us from the past and allows us to walk with our heads held high into the future. Why cling to the pain of the past? I choose the Joy of the now...and the promise of tomorrow. What say you?
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
5 months ago