If you are a single parent, there is no way you haven't been hurt by someone or something. Whether it be betrayal, abandonment, maybe even God allowing a spouse to die, we have all been wounded in some way. We have good reason to be angry for what we have been through. Often, the idea of forgiveness isn't something we even want to do. We know God tells us we should. We have heard it is the right thing to do. But no one can just flip a switch and act like nothing bad ever happened or was done. If you have struggled with forgiveness, we have found six steps to be helpful in working toward forgiving those who have hurt you.
Ephesians 3:17-20 says, "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
First, let's define forgiveness. Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness.
Equally important is what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is NOT saying:
-You were not hurt by what the other person did.
-Your pain is gone.
-Life can now pick up where you left off or feel the way you did before, as if what happened never happened.
-You no longer believe the other person was responsible for causing harm.
-You excuse the other person's behavior.
-You no longer view what happened as important.
-You share the blame for what happened.
-You can ever forget what happened.
Entering into forgiveness does not mean any of those things. Forgiveness does not deny hurt or pain. It does not excuse what happened or make you forget. It also doesn't mean you are responsible in any way, nor does it mean you need to reconnect or stay connected to someone you need to forgive. Rather, forgiveness is a step that brings you greater freedom as you discover the grace to let go of the need to exact justice or vengeance, or to carry the weight of anger and pain any longer. Forgiveness allows us to take back our freedom and ability to move forward, lighter and with less pain.
There are many benefits to forgiveness. A John Hopkins study concluded the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
Forgiveness also benefits our kids.
They are watching - every action, every word you speak, every facial expression, every action is being seen by your children, who will eventually emulate millions of things you and your ex do. For their sake, we need to intentionally move toward healing. We need to take steps toward forgiveness. We need to be free of our anger and bitterness so we can leave a legacy of grace for them.
A significant reason for moving toward forgiveness is because God commands us to do it for our good. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Whenever God commands us to do something, it is always with our best interests at heart. His perfect sovereignty and knowledge of what we need to thrive as humans is rooted in His deep love for each one of us. If He calls us to do something, we can be confident He wants what is best for us and knows better than we do why it is important. And He doesn't leave us alone to walk it out. It is His Spirit that empowers us to take each necessary step toward forgiving those who have hurt us. It won't be by "might or power" that we are able to forgive but "by His spirit", a foundational truth to stand on as we consider the steps we need to take to forgive.
So, how do we forgive? In talking this through with our solo parent team, and in researching the act of forgiveness, we identified six key steps.
For the complete show notes and links click here - https://soloparentsociety.com/2020/09/14/forgiveness-six-steps-toward-greater-healing/