(This was my personal journey
and the steps I took to allow God to free me from the burden
of unforgiveness in my life).
Have you ever been hurt by someone you love? Maybe as a child, it was someone you trusted or thought you could feel safe with. You have been carrying that pain for years and you don’t know how to let it go. Understand God gives everyone the freedom to choose. In situations like these, you have two choices. You can hold on to anger, and resentment, and live your life in bitterness and misery. Or you can embrace forgiveness, allow God to heal you everywhere you hurt and move forward to live your best life now. This was a personal journey of mine and what worked for me. With God’s help, I did these three steps and made it out of the bondage of unforgiveness.
Forgive everyone who hurt you. See their faces in your mind, call them by name, decree out of your mouth (Their name), and say, “I forgive you for …” and name the offense. Then release them and see yourself as being free. (There are deeper and different ways you can do this first step but for now, we will keep it to just this one). Understanding this can be painful because no one wants to go back in their mind to a painful place and relive that situation all over again. However, if you want to be free it is something that has to be done. It is like ripping off a band-aid. It will only hurt for a moment, but afterward, the healing can begin. Next, God told me to pray for that person. Although I didn’t want to, my desire to be free was greater than my hatred toward that person and the bondage I was living in. In my humanistic brain, I don’t know how this happened, but as I prayed for good things to happen for that person, such as, “God show them how much you love them so they can begin to love themselves.” Lord, heal them at the core of their pain and give them peace. I had to understand that people who hurt other people do not love themselves and are miserable in their own life. The thought came to my mind that someone at some point and time in their life hurt them and the only way for them to get a shadow of peace is to hurt someone else. In their mind, being mean or hurting someone else somehow will take some of the pain out of their painful memories. The truth is no one knows what goes on in the private world of another person or the battles they must fight every day in their mind just to make it through the day. We have no idea how hard they have to work in their public world to convince people they are doing great, and that they are truly happy and living their best life when the truth is they are not. It takes courage to sincerely pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply. But your reward will be greater than your revenge or your unforgiveness.
Ask for forgiveness from others you have hurt. Before you go to them, whether it be in person or you call them over the phone, pray first and ask God to prepare their hearts to receive your request for forgiveness in peace. Absolutely do not text or send an email. The other person needs to hear the repentance in your voice and feel the true sincerity from your heart. Also, have different scenarios in your mind of the possible outcomes so you won't be disappointed if it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped. For example, settled it in your spirit that if they do not receive you when you ask for forgiveness, let it be OK because the main goal was for you to "ask" for forgiveness and be set free. Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Do not let them turn this into a conversation where they blame you for everything and make you feel bad. Make it short and sweet. In other words, say what you need to say and end the conversation quickly. When you end the conversation leave them with something positive about themselves. Such as, “Thank you for being willing to hear me out or take this call. I pray God bless your life abundantly”, or remind them of something they once did for someone else that was good. Never leave them wounded and bleeding emotionally but leave them in peace. Remember, you are not responsible for what they hold on to, you are not responsible for the story they tell themselves, and you are definitely not responsible for what they choose to believe. On the other hand, it is not your responsibility to make them pay for the pain they caused you. Only, God is entitled to that.
After you have done this, put a smile on your face, receive peace in your heart, and decree out of your mouth, “I did it and it’s done!”
Forgive yourself. This was the hardest of the three steps for me because sometimes when we make mistakes or wrong choices we feel extremely bad and it doesn't help when others constantly remind us of the mistakes, mess-ups, or wrong choices we've made. We tend to look down on ourselves, call ourselves names, and even treat ourselves like we don’t deserve anything good. For example, I have heard my clients say to me, “I was so stupid!” “I was a fool to trust him!” “I hate myself for doing that!” I have to admit, I too, have said those things to myself. But I have learned, and I teach my clients, judgment, guilt, shame, and blame help no one! Try to see yourself the way God sees you. He sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for your sins, mistakes, and mess up. I heard someone say years ago, if you were the only one who needed salvation, Jesus would have still gone to the cross. If God can forgive you of your sins who are you to hold on to them? Take some time to sit alone in a quiet place and apologize to yourself. You know in your heart what negative things you have said about yourself. You know what things you did to yourself by mistreating your body, putting yourself in dangerous situations, and connecting up with the wrong person because you believe that you weren’t worthy of anything better. It is not too late to change. If God kisses you with life and you wake up the next morning, He is giving you another chance to do it right. Start loving yourself, treating yourself with kindness, and seeing yourself as God sees you. One more thing, forgive yourself for taking on burdens that don’t belong to you. There have been people in your life who have spoken negative things over you, and you received it, not knowing any better.
Take those negative labels off!
It doesn’t matter who it was, don’t receive comments like “you have ADHD”, "you are just like your father" “you will never be anything!” or “you can’t make it without me!” “You can’t go to college, buy a house, or start a business!” Don’t allow anyone to dictate your worth or your ability of what you can and cannot do. God is in control of everything, but He put us in charge of our own lives, so you get to decide, it's YOUR choice, not the world's!
SO, TAKE CHARGE! Start making decisions for your own life. Again, don’t take on what doesn’t belong to you! Like me, you may have had people blame you for the unpleasantness in their lives which was caused by their own decisions. But they blamed you. Understand this God gives everyone freedom of choice. But along with those choices come responsibilities and consequences. You are not responsible for the choices people make in their lives or if those choices don’t turn out the way they had hoped. Forgive yourself for taking on what doesn’t belong to you and free yourself of that burden. Remember Jesus came to set the captive free and we are in bondage in more areas of
our lives than we know, but we don't have to stay there. Change your mindset, do the work, receive your freedom, and start living YOUR best life now!
Love and Blessings,
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