Category Archives: Spiritual Practices

Forgiveness is a Gift We Give to Ourselves

6042029343_7d4aea1a30_zForgiveness is something we know we should do. So we usually put it in the category of “I’ll get around to that someday”. But with recovery we learn that that little pile we’ve built of the things we’ll do someday is the very pile we have to clean out before we can move on. Bitterness, regret, hatred, etc. all use our energy negatively. God can’t plant flowers until we till the soil. That means get out those big lumps. Forgiveness gets rid of a lot of the big lumps. Let go and let God.

How others learned to forgive:

1.  From  karenlessscripted  (A Life Less Scripted): “Why I Forgave My Bully”:

Kids are being brutalized by other kids. Children are taking their lives because they can think of no other way to end their pain. Some studies show rates of bullying as high as 81% for school-aged males and 72% for school-aged females. The girls who got bullied by Teresa bullied back. I, in turn, bullied Heather. In the 33 + years since these incidents occurred, I never considered myself to be a bully. That leads me to wonder if all bullies know what they are. In the right circumstances, the victim becomes the perpetrator.

I forgave my bully because I recognized a generational pattern of aggression and hate that I refuse to perpetuate. I’m doing my best to model the values to my kids that I want to instill in them. When someone is mean to me, I pray for the strength to show them love. I follow Jesus and remember the Sermon on the Mount and pray for those who persecute me. This isn’t easy. I spent many years building defenses so that I wouldn’t be an easy target. Those defenses hardened me and I’ve had to work to not expect the worst in people. I couldn’t live with myself if I mirrored that to my children and they became the same way.

Behavior is a continuum. We are all capable of loving behavior and hateful behavior. It never feels good in my heart to meet hate with hate and it’s my responsibility to show my kids another way. I will lead with my most valuable strength: Love. You can’t overcome darkness with more darkness.

I pray for my bully every day. I pray that she lives a joyful and purposeful life. I pray that she hasn’t built defenses against God’s light and that she doesn’t live in shame. If she has children, I pray that she loves her children more than she hates those who harmed her.

The cycle ends here.

2.  From  Annette (Journey of recovery…search for serenity): “Grateful”:

Someone commented on an old post this morning. It was this post. I went back and read it and I was so surprised….I had forgotten about having all of those hurt, angry feelings toward my mom. I think back on the 6 weeks we spent together before she died and I am SO INCREDIBLY grateful for that time. Really, there are no words. It was so honestly the right thing for me to do for so many reasons. And I am so glad and grateful that I got to give that to her. So much healing took place for she and I and hopefully for my siblings too.

Awhile back a friend started an ACA group and wanted me to come. At first I was excited to go and then it dawned me I wasn’t in that hurt place anymore. I had just had this beautiful time with my mom and I didn’t want to dredge up all of that stuff that I really felt like we had just wordlessly worked through. I recently ran into the same friend and she told me that someday even though my mom is gone, it would “still do me good” to go to the meetings. I just knew in my heart that that wasn’t the truth for me.

That I was really ok and not still all wrapped up in the past and my childhood. Those things happened, many things were hurtful, yes, she wasn’t a glowing mother most of the time, my emotional needs were unmet in some large ways, but she did love me so much and I believe completely that she truly did do the best she knew how to do….and what more can I ask from anyone? So today I am grateful to love my mom, to feel that we both are free in forgiveness, that I can see so much growth and change and progress, I am grateful to not be mad anymore.

3.  From DAAve (higher powered): “Amazing”:

The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time.

And that’s why when one has become a forgiving person, and has managed to let go of the past, what they’ve really done is they’ve shifted their relationship with time.

~ Caroline Myss ~

Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.— GARY CHAPMAN

Photo credit.