I think we can all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it. In order to be completely free from our resentments, anger, fears, shame and guilt, we need to give and accept forgiveness.
My daughter shared with me a recent experience where she made a bad decision and broke trust with one of her teachers. Although I was curious about this “bad decision” I wasn’t overly concerned because my daughter has a long history of making good decisions. None the less, it was the perfect time to teach her how to make a proper and healthy amends. We talked about the ripple effect of our decisions. Like trowing a rock in a pond and watching the ripples our decisions, good or bad, have a ripple effect. How many people did this decision effect? What damage has it caused? We discussed taking ownership of our actions and specifically admitting our wrongs followed by a sincere apology and accepting the consequences. I concluded our lesson by further explaining, “with time and consistent behavior you can gain your teacher’s trust once again.”
After our lesson, she expressed her fear in delivering her amends and facing her instructor, “Dad, she is going to be so angry with me!” My response was letting her know that anger is an emotion that helps us process through the hurt. Her teacher needs to feel and express her anger (in a healthy way) in order to release her hurt of broken trust and come to a place of forgiveness. If she holds onto that anger then she will remain in it therefor blocking her ability to forgive. However, my daughter has no control over her teacher nor her reaction. The only thing my daughter can control is her own thoughts, feelings and actions. Taking the proper actions and making amends will help my daughter forgive herself for making that bad decision. “God, grant me there serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and thew wisdom to know the difference…”
In the movie, “The Shack”, Mack came face to face with the challenge of “Forgiveness.” He was challenged to forgive the person that caused him the most harm in his life. Mack wrestled with this unimaginable thought before coming to the realization that he didn’t know how. Often times we want forgiveness to be like a light switch; turn it on and off. Instead, forgiveness is a process. We have to take the proper steps that lead us to a place of forgiveness. Even then it can still be difficult and we have to intentionally remind ourselves over and over through a soft and gently voice, “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you….”
Thanks for letting me share. And keep coming back…it keeps getting better!