We’ve all been there. Someone we cared about really let us down.
They didn't follow through when they should have.
They said something hurtful.
They acted in a way that felt like a betrayal.
Alternatively, maybe you were the one who let yourself down.
You compromised your beliefs.
You didn't treat yourself fairly.
You acted in a way that wound up causing you harm.
Whatever the case, you're feeling the pain now of what just happened, and you're wondering where to go next. Especially when no one seems to apologize. Maybe they have, but what they did seems so big, you're not sure you're ready to let it go.
When you forgive those who have wronged you (and this includes the times you’ve betrayed yourself), you open yourself to a whole new life. Suddenly you're seeing the world in a way you never have before. You become surrounded by possibility. Your relationships improve. You even feel better about yourself.
Forgiveness isn't complicated, but it takes intentionality.
Let's begin our discussion by understanding what forgiveness actually is.
To grasp the power of forgiveness we need to dig deeper into the meaning of it. The idea of forgiveness is old and has been around since time began. Every major world religion talks about forgiveness somewhere in its teachings. We see it portrayed in stories and songs, from ancient legends to the most modern show streaming on your computer right now.
The problem is, we all think we know what forgiveness is. Yet it's easily misunderstood. To our way of thinking, forgiveness means letting go of something bad which happened, stepping somehow beyond it. We equate it with forgetting all about what happened, but this isn't what forgiveness is at all. Forgiveness is an understanding that the emotions of that event are binding you, and you want to unbind yourself from that event and the emotions it evokes. Forgiveness is coming to a place where you can think back on the event and NOT feel the heavy emotions any longer.
Forgiveness is about stepping past what happened and healing yourself.
It's important to distinguish between forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation is a separate step that may or may not happen after forgiveness, depending on how you assess the risks and benefits of continuing in a relationship with the person who caused you to hurt.
Think about this for a moment. Just how powerful is forgiveness, really?
What if you really could lay aside those moments which caused you pain?
What if you don’t have to be held prisoner to grudges or various hurts?
What if you could let it all go through one simple act on your part?
By itself, forgiveness suddenly seems a lot more interesting, doesn't it? But there's more you're not even seeing yet. Forgiveness is a force that works to move us past a crisis of some sort and affects our health and well-being in the future. It lays the groundwork for relationships and affects how you see yourself.
Interested in more? Watch The Power of Forgiveness.
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Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here.
I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life.
I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
Here's what I can do for and with you.