I’ve been chewing on this one a few days. My prayer is that it comes across profoundly and changes lives. I’m hoping God guides my fingers with this one.
So what is perception? Perception is your version of the truth. How your mind perceives things. It isn’t necessarily the truth. What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well….quoted directly from Wikipedia. I’d like to add to that definition that forgiveness is a selfish, but necessary act.
In my journey of self love and health, I’ve learned that forgiveness is a key component in my success. You see, holding onto hurt and pain only hinders my progress. That negativity eats away at me. It stresses me to a point that my mind is completely consumed by the wrong that left me this hurt. It affects my mood. It affects my ability to focus. It affects my ability to be and do good in a world of ugly. So how do you move forward and let this thing go??? It seems impossible. It isn’t though. Perception isn’t actual truth, so you can change it. You can choose how you perceive this hurt. Here are a few thoughts…
Let’s say the person INTENTIONALLY sought out to hurt you. It may be jealousy or genuine hatred for you and they just want to watch you suffer. Forgive them. Forgive them because they can’t hurt you in that case. If someone is that intent on hurting you, they have entirely too much power over your life. Cut the ties, love them from afar, and let it roll. It will eat them alive if you easily and willingly forgive.
So what if the hurt was unintentional? Hurt will rarely feel unintentional. When our feelings are hurt and emotions are high, it will feel like it was done on purpose. So you have to change your perception of the hurt. Maybe the ugly opinion was how the person was raised. Maybe they just don’t know any better. Maybe they’re so hurt and broken that they just want someone else to feel an ounce of that pain. Forgive them. Not because they deserve it, but because you do.
The tricky thing about forgiveness is often times we “forgive but never forget”. That isn’t true forgiveness. You see if you NEVER forget that pain, it will always hurt you. Every time you think of that person, you’ll remember when you hurt and then you’ll wait for them to do it again. You’ll never be able to love them wholly again because there will always be that thing holding you back. You’ll never be able to move forward from it because of that black cloud. Now that isn’t permission for someone to continuously hurt you. Sometimes you have to set that person free from your life. And that’s ok. Do it with love, not a grudge. Remember how Jesus forgave you? Not once did he remind you of the time you made him cry….even when he was hanging on that cross bruised and bleeding. He never once said I didn’t forget the time you…..
And lastly, forgive YOURSELF. You will never live your best life if you’re forever beating yourself up for the things you did or should’ve done. Every day is a new day to change what was broken.
If you read between the lines here, forgiveness is really selfish. It’s all about you. For one, you have a greater affect on the ones that hurt you by forgiving them, for two forgiveness sets YOU free. If you learn to change your perception, forgiveness comes easier. I pray often that God uses me to be His hands and Feet. That means seeing things through His eyes and loving with His heart. Life is really much better when you love His way. Once you start to shed some of the negativity from your life, your life will beautifully transform. I promise.
Luke 6:37 Forgive, for you have been forgiven.