“Always forgive your enemies.
Nothing annoys them more.” :o)
Forgiveness is another one of those misunderstood actions that need a good FLIP.
“But they don’t deserve my forgiveness.”
That’s the famous war cry of the grudge-holder.
The Shack by William P. Young does a beautiful job of depicting one of the toughest scenarios dealing with forgiveness. Mac eventually came to the place of choosing to forgive the man who murdered his daughter. This is an extreme example of course, but nonetheless, all the working parts are the same as you face the prospect of forgiving your boss who lied or your partner who deceived you or your cousin who betrayed you or your dog that just ate your favorite couch.
We've got this forgiveness thing backwards as if it's something to give to someone else. We think of it as letting the other guy off the hook. We somehow think that, by refusing to forgive, we are actually punishing our perpetrator. It’s a power play. We feel betrayed and now we have the upper hand.
Forgiveness is not about if the other guy deserves it. Oh gosh no. Forgiveness is about you not deserving the burden of having to carry around the weight of resentment. And it’s about 42 lbs heavier than you may think.
Now, your ego can refuse to acknowledge the weight of that grudge, but it’s there and I assure you that it’s slowing you down more than you might think or more than you’re willing to admit. Hanging on to that grudge is like popping a poison pill in your mouth and expecting the other guy to die. Your refusal to forgive is doing damage to yourself more than to them.
My friend Mattie told me of a simple 3-step process that will bring power and closure: Forgive, Release, then Bless. It’s a powerful 1-2-3 punch that will set you free from your anger's shackles:
I FORGIVE YOU. I simply give you the right to be who you are and I acknowledge that I don’t know what I don’t know. You have your reasons and I have mine. I don’t have to like what you did or even agree with what you did. I simply give you the grace to make your own moves and choices in life without my judgment.
I RELEASE YOU and your actions or words. I make the choice to let go and let God. I’m not in the business of keeping score and hoarding ill feelings like a packrat. No, I intend to soar in life, and to do so I must shed this baggage. And so I hereby cast off this burdensome resentment. Whooosh! Amen.
I BLESS YOU. This is perhaps the most empowering and completing part of this process. This is where I choose to go far beyond simply letting go of my thoughts and feelings of your words or actions. I choose to step beyond that and ask God to bless your life. I will not flick you away like a gnat and then wash my hands of you. No, I choose to keep you in my prayers as I earnestly desire love and healing and joy for you.
Wayne Dyer said, “Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others, much larger. Some are villains and others are good guys. But all of them are necessary, otherwise, they wouldn’t be in the play.”
Know that there are no coincidences. Everything and everyone has their purpose in crossing your path. Open your senses and raise your awareness of this. Look for the learning. And keep those barnacles called “grades & scores” from forming in your soul. Take the cleansing spiritual bath of forgiveness.