In Christianity, forgiveness is a prerequisite for a successful life. It opens the way for an unhindered relationship with God and connects you to the source of all wisdom and power.
I struggled for years with the ability to forgive others from the heart. I knew from reading the Bible that forgiveness is a must. But I couldn’t get my heart around this whenever people hurt me badly.
I tried to speak forgiveness, to reason forgiveness, but deep down, I knew there was more to this than just mere words or thoughts.
Deep hurts from a dear friend compelled me to seek help and to work on the root cause of struggling to forgive.
A personal story
Several months ago, I met a dear Christian lady on an internet course. We began to help each other with the coursework and also visited in person. I loved her and her husband so much. I felt as if I had found a very dear friend.
One day something silly happened. I had not been feeling well due to a viral infection and was disappointed because she did not connect with me for some time. Thinking back, I believe she had just been busy. I tried to make contact but used the wrong ways and words in doing so. A day later, she confronted me, pressured me, and stopped me short when I tried to explain myself in a safe way that would not reveal my embarrassment. It felt as if the elephant had entered the porcelain shop, and I couldn’t help but hide. I tried to explain, but she wouldn’t listen. She accused me in the worst possible way, ended the phone call, and wrote a manipulative and controlling email in the evening. She forbade me to talk to third parties about this but went and did exactly that so that another person blocked me on Facebook.
Feelings of despair, anger, worthlessness and desperate sadness
I had truly loved her and felt very hurt for weeks and months. Not only had I lost a very dear sister and friend, I felt misunderstood, trodden down, and destroyed. Unable to express my true feelings towards her and was left not knowing anything about our friendship. Her eventual request by email to forgive her, which I, of course, assured her, did not ease my pain.
Of course, I knew I had to forgive her. I spoke this out in my prayers. I said: “Father, I forgive and I bless her.”
I kept asking God for help.
I said: “Please forgive through me.”
But there was no peace of heart and mind.
My small amount of self-worth shattered, and I couldn’t help but think about the issue daily.
As much as I tried to forget, I couldn’t. It was like a curse that threatened to catch me.
Revelations that brought change
Do you remember what Jesus said when He hung on the cross? (Luke 23:34.) Jesus talked to the Father, asking Him to forgive His crucifiers because they didn’t know what they were doing.
Jesus did not take it personally. Jesus knew His worth and value. Nothing that happened to Him could shake His self-worth or devalue His identity.
He knew he had to die on the cross for the sins of the world. It had been His God-given assignment from the beginning of time. His torturers were acting in ignorance.
I began to work on my self-worth and identity.
I am Who God says I am.
He defines my worth and value.
As He created me in His image and likeness, I have been given the same worth and value as God Himself has.
The way God treats me defines who I am. People’s actions toward me, good or bad, are not relevant.
I am a unique human being. It is enough. Neither success nor failure in my life can change this.
These revelations changed the way I looked at the situation.
- I began to understand that my “friend’s” behavior had nothing to do with me but with her and her character. Even though I might have rubbed her the wrong way, she had no reason to act the way she did. Her reactions were none of my business.
- Realizing my worth and value freed me from feeling downtrodden by her.
- Realizing my worth and value helped me understand that whatever she had said and done could not change the worth and value that God had given me.
- Realizing my worth and value allowed me to accept her the way she was and reacted without feeling lower or lesser than her. It meant that I felt freedom from having to judge her or her behavior.
- Realizing my worth and value prepared a safe place for me to acknowledge that both of us were imperfect human beings dependent on the grace and forgiveness of God.
- Realizing my worth and value allowed me to forgive her from the heart since her accusations neither changed who I was nor devalued my self worth.
- My restored self-worth and value freed my heart from feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and disappointment. It was the foundation I needed to forgive from my heart.
There was room in my heart again for peace, joy, happiness, and right-standing with God.
I could go forward again in renewed strength to achieve all that God had placed on my heart.
I have written another blog about forgiveness. https://www.marianneherr.com/blog
I recommend my friend Robin’s book The Guts and Glory of Forgiveness.
My friend Mary Lingelbach offers truth-filled and successful coaching around lost identity.
The One who created you defines you, and never the way people treat you. Remember who you are. God created you in His image and likeness. You are priceless, of great value. Nothing that happens to you can destroy this. These revelations enable you to forgive from the heart those that hurt you. True forgiveness will free you from the burden of painful feelings. You will be glad and move forward on your path towards success according to God’s plan for your life.
Peace, joy, happiness, and right-standing with God will be at the forefront of your daily life.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
Feel free to write to me. firstname.lastname@example.org