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Debunking forgiveness myths so Christians can find real peace, PART 2 of 2

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TRUE FORGIVENESS

Haven't read part 1 yet? Go here

To review: First and foremost, forgiveness is a one-time legal action and declaration that you are no longer judging that person for what they did or did not do. True forgiveness occurs when you sincerely and completely release someone (living or dead) from any real or imagined emotional debt or liability towards you. It’s also conscious, ongoing choice and a refusal on your part to entertain any further angry or hurtful thoughts about the person(s). This is no way implies that you completely forget the situation or what happened, or that you proceed as if it never happened, although that is hopefully a true consequence of forgiveness. True forgiveness should mean expressed or implied release of all anger or animosity, however justified, towards them. Obviously, that is not going to be the case in many instances. The hurt and the anger are simply too much and too overwhelming; the grief and the negative emotions rule the day. After all, we’re only human and reality and common sense tell us we will experience this.

FORGIVENESS AND JUDGEMENT

To not forgive someone is to judge them. Only God and those he appoints are to judge. To not forgive and judge is to place yourself in spiritual authority over them. Since we are all sinners, we occupy the same place before Jesus.

(Rom 14:10-13) You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

(Rom2:1) You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

(Mat 6:14-15) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

(Eph 4:29-32) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.,,, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

“PROACTIVE FORGIVENESS”

We advocate a process called “proactive forgiveness” when called on to forgive. Forgiveness simply means to declare that you legally release them from any sort of an emotional debt – real or implied; deserved or not. By doing so, you take yourself out of unlawful spiritual authority over them, and you quit judging them. The process is straightforward; practicing it is another thing entirely.

- Verbally, praying in the name of Jesus, pronounce that you release them and forgive them from any expressed or implied emotional debt
- Bless them in the name of Jesus
- Never talk badly about them again!
- Never talk badly about the situation again!
- When you think about the situation, praise God that he got you through it and that He is healing you. Feel free to cry out about how badly you were hurt and how hard it is to work thru the healing and restoration and recovery. Express our grief and sadness to Him. The point here is not to deny what has happened but to try and focus on your healing and not the incident or situation itself.
- Whenever you think about the person in relation to the same situation again, pray that God will bless that individual. No doubt, you’ll have to do this many times!

DEALING WITH THE HURT AND THE ANGER: SOME SUGGESTED GRIEVING & CATHARSIS (“PURGE THE EMOTIONS”) APPROACHES:

TRY TO DE-PERSONALIZE THE SITUATION

Many times, the most difficult thing is to deal with the hurt and the anger, In many cases, you, the offended, may be downright inconsolable. The hurt and anger can be absolutely overwhelming. To be sure, this is by no means unusual. Certainly, It Is perfectly fine to express your deep pain and anger due to the situation. This is only human nature. However, try (if you can) to resist the temptation to personalize it. Obviously, this can take some time. It goes without saying that calling them names is something to try and avoid.

If at all possible, try to begin substituting pronouns like “he”, “she”, or “them” for their name. Again, try to avoid the name calling. Depending on the level of hurt and betrayal, this may take several days to a few weeks to reach this stage.

FIND SOMEONE TO TALK TO: Many times, you simply need a sympathetic individual who you can trust to just listen to you. Job’s 3 buddies were great until they opened up their mouths! You may need a professional, or a pastor or an elder. Maybe it’s that very spiritual person you know

WINDSHIELD THERAPY/ “THE EMPTY OR OCCUPIED CHAIR”: No question about it, there’s those times you just have to “let ‘er rip”, and get it off your chest! That’s where your car windshield comes in handy. It doesn’t yell back at you; it doesn’t judge; it doesn’t criticize you for using four letter words; and it doesn’t take offense. It may be the best counseling tool ever. Take a drive and find a nice quiet spot where no one can hear you and have at it. It is very effective at letting your anger out – at least temporarily. Expect to do this several times. The Empty Chair is a similar approach - just use a chair instead of going for a drive. If you can get a trusted friend to occupy the chair, that may prove beneficial as well.

WRITE A LETTER THAT YOU DON’T SEND Many have found it very helpful to write a letter that you don’t send. Write it all out - vent you anger and hurt! Once you're done; RIP IT UP AND THROW IT AWAY. Many find this approach very therapeutic, indeed!

CONFRONTATIONS are not recommended. However, some choose to go this route. Should you wish to consider this, please contact us before you do, or talk with someone who you trust and has participated in these types of things.

FOR PART 1, CLICK HERE

OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

The Walk Applied Series: Part 1: Jesus bride is the reason why we are here

The Walk Applied Series: Part 2: Salvation is not a covenant of works

The Walk Applied Series: Part 3: Why the Fall?

The Walk Applied Series: Part 4: The Foundation of the Sinful Flesh

Mr. Marica contributes incisive and contemporary Christian commentary for Examiner.com on a regular basis. He holds an MA from Liberty University, and he is the Director of Godly Training Ministries. You can find out more about him by clicking here.

You can contact Mr. Marica at godlytraining@comcast.net.

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