There have been many things my stepdaughter has done or said to me in the past seven years which has really hurt me deeply. She’s never once apologized for anything she has done or said to me, which makes forgiving her even harder for me. The most recent offense she did was over a year and a half ago while we were on vacation when she said out of anger that I was a terrible mother. This hurt me terribly and she’s never once apologized for it and I am not expecting her to do so anymore. For one, she was never taught to apologize when she is in the wrong for something she has done, she’s not been taught to own up to what’s she’s done, unfortunately. I can choose to keep the hurt and bitterness I have towards what’s she has done or I can choose to forgive her and try to understand that hurt people, hurt other people.
Forgiveness is a process of these three steps:
1. Surrender the right to get even with the person who did you wrong.
2. You need to revise your caricature of the person who hurt you so much. Meaning you need to reconstruct the image of what you see in that person.
3. You need to revise your feelings towards that person. Meaning going from feelings of rage and resentment towards that person to feelings of wanting them to be blessed.
The longer you wait to forgive someone the more at risk you are of becoming a person defined by your anger rather than a person who has a grievance. People who carry hatred and resentment will invest themselves so deeply in that resentment that it gradually defines who they are. In Ephesians 4:32 it says: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. When you forgive someone it lets the control of the offense lift out of you and you feel like a big weight has been lifted off of you. Sometimes we need to forgive the same person over and over again. Let go, and Let God deal with the offense. Sometimes the person that we are holding an offense with doesn’t even know that they offended you. It’s better to just let it go. Only you can decide if you want to feel better, as Rachelle Katz said “Healing happens more quickly when you consciously initiate the process.”
God can take what was meant for your harm and turn it around and use it to your advantage. God will give you the strength that you didn’t even know you had. He’s done it for me and he will do it for you, but the first step is forgiveness.
Have you ever been hurt by someone close to you? How were you able to forgive and move on from it?
Katz, Rachelle. (2010). The Happy Stepmother. Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family. Harlequin