I’ve learned that forgiveness is an empowerment that affords many rewards. One reward is that it silences the internal terrorist. The internal terrorist replays the event in your head repeatedly. You can tell when a person has become victim to the internal terrorist. Although the event occurred years ago, they rehash it at every opportunity. For some the tape continues long after the offender has moved on or died. Hence, unforgiveness keeps you chained to the offender. Forgiveness frees you from the offense and the offender. It silences the tape and allows your healing process to begin.
Another reward of forgiveness are the physical and mental benefits. It reduces blood pressure, relieves anxiety and depression, improves sleep quality, among a host of other things. Forgiveness takes the edge off the offense. It’s not that you forget the event. Rather, the significance wanes.
I believe one of the greatest rewards of forgiveness is the discovery of blessings God has sown in the offender for you. I can certainly attest to this. There was an individual I had a lot of animosity toward because of what they did. It was a struggle to forgive them. Little did I know what a blessing they eventually would become to me. Refusing to forgive this person would have prevented me from seeing the blessings God had stored in them for me. Truly God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Time and circumstance have taught me when I made the decision to forgive others, I realized I also needed to ask for their forgiveness because of my thoughts and attitude toward them. They may not have known how I felt but God did.
Last but certainly not least, forgiveness opens the door to more. More blessings. Greater peace and joy. It allows for the free movement of the Holy Ghost in your life and enables you to flow in your anointing. There are blessings God has in store for you that will only be released when you forgive. And the list goes on.
One of the most difficult aspects about forgiveness is learning to let go and move on. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13), even forgive when it seems impossible to do so. Here are a few ways you can let go and move on. First, abandon all thoughts of retaliation. Approach the situation prayerfully and seek God for help. If possible arrange a meeting in a neutral place with the individual. Writing a letter to the person is another option. Don’t text or inbox them. If the person has passed away or you’re unable meet with them for whatever reason, there’s something called the empty chair technique. With this technique you sit in a chair facing an empty chair. You talk as if the offender were seated in the empty chair. It’s important to note for some people forgiving is too difficult or painful to do on their own. If this is you, I encourage you to seek professional help. God has equipped people to come alongside you and help you process the event and your emotions.
It’s impossible to change the past. Trying to do so is like trying to unscramble scrambled eggs. Comedienne Lily Tomlin said, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.” While you can’t change the past, you don’t have to allow it to continue to control your future. Remember, forgiveness is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.
As the Easter season approaches, may this be a time of remembrance and gratitude for Christ dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Because of the forgiveness we’ve been given, now is the time to break the chains of unforgiveness and reap all the blessings God has in store for you. Remember, you’re anointed for more.
Until next time…Be blessed!
Rev. Cynthia Jackson