Monday, February 7, 2011

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things we ever do—and one of the most healing. For those who have suffered horrific abuse, forgiveness can take time, but once completed, it allows us freedom and peace. We are free from the bitterness, pain, and suffering that the abuser inflicted upon us. We are free to live with peace, joy, and happiness.

For huge offenses, sometimes we need a power greater than our own to forgive. Remember the story of the man lying by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight long years, waiting to be healed. Jesus saw the suffering man and asked him a simple but profound question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” or, “Do you want to be healed?”

At some point, we need to ask ourselves that question. “Do we want to be whole?” If we choose to remain in a state of unforgiveness, healing cannot occur in our lives. We will see ourselves as a victim which will motivate us to behave in self-defeating ways. If we make the decision to be healed, we allow a Higher Power to free us from past hurts so that we can enjoy present peace and future happiness.

The following are some suggestions from the amazing book, The Forgiveness Formula by Kathleen Griffin, a sexual abuse survivor:

• Begin by forgiving yourself.

• Write down a list of those you have not forgiven.

• Divide the list into hard and easy offenses.

• Forgive someone who is easy to forgive.

• Take your time, remembering you are in complete control about whom you will forgive and how long you take to do it.

• After you have completed the easy list, then tackle the hard one.

• Ask for help from a Higher Power as needed.

• Do not rush the process.

• Notice how much better you feel after you have forgiven.

• Use that positive energy as a motivator to continue on your journey of forgiveness.

Griffin shares this statement from A Course in Miracles that is so powerful:

What could you want that forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect in can never be upset? All this forgiveness offers you.

Griffen ends her book with these words: “Forgiveness is the key to all our futures. It opens a whole new world of possibilities for us all. To forgive it to say, ‘It stops here. Now. With me.’”

© Carol Brown

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