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Forgiveness 6: Steps to Forgiveness and Healing

 

There are several steps to forgiveness and healing. You need to realize that forgiveness is a journey. It is your journey. 

You cannot forgive, heal, and move on with your life if you pretend that the violation, act, abuse, did not happen. 

Forgiveness is prevented when we make excuses for the person who hurt us, or we downplay what they did to us.  

 

Forgiveness Does Not Give a Person Permission to Continue Hurting Us

Forgiveness, reconciliation, and trust are not related. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. We have to forgive first – then make a second decision whether we should reconcile with the person. Even if they want reconciliation, we must ‘own’ the right to forgive in our time, in our way, all the while respecting our need to heal and work through our pain.

 

Forgiveness Does Not Dismiss Your Pain and Suffering

One of the biggest misconceptions in the church is the belief that we have the power to wash away our own bad memories, pain, and suffering. That all we need to do is forgive someone and then we are instantly healed. This is not the truth.

Forgiveness requires that you acknowledge and accept your own pain. That you come to terms with your own actions that caused you to become a victim. It requires that you come to a place where you can forgive yourself for allowing an abusive person to have power over you.

You also need to accept the pain and the consequences of that pain. You have been changed forever. You will never be the same person that you were before someone else – violently – changed your life.  You think differently. You act differently. Your values are different. Sometimes, you don’t even see those differences. The only way you realize that you are different is in the fact that others (most often the Church family) shuns your friendship and avoids you.

 

Forgiveness Does Not Require Confrontation

There are many people who push victims to confront their abuser and tell them they are forgiven. This is not forgiveness. This is, in fact, setting the victim up to be hurt more. The motive behind this is the secret wish that the abuser will state that they didn’t mean to cause so much pain, and possibly say they are sorry. It won’t happen.

 

Forgiveness Requires an Act

 This act doesn’t need to involve the other person. It can be as simple as writing a letter and burning it. Or, you can keep a journal and periodically throw it off a cliff into the sea while screaming at the top of your lungs, ‘you have no power over me.’

 It doesn’t really matter. Make your own ceremony of ‘letting go.’

Added by Caddy007

Because forgiveness is a journey and oft times our pains so great, there may be, for many of us, a need for a daily CHOOSING TO FORGIVE.  A daily reminder, each time we start to feel that anger again, each time we start to let the offender take us back, we need to remember then that we have made the decision and we will continue in that decision because it is for our greater good, not our destruction.


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