I have been dealing with the ART OF FORGIVNESS for some time now…..and God knows that lately that I have had to put it to the test… especially this afternoon – let alone the last few years of my life. However, I have gotten to a place to deal with learning how to forgive quicker and quicker now….. Sometimes we can feel that we have totally forgiven someone and then God will allow something to transpire and YOU SHALL SEE THE TRUTH on if you have or not!!
The first phase is defining it. Your views on forgiveness are more important than how others define it. Take some time to ask yourself, how do I define forgiveness? Who are the people in my life that have influenced my understanding of forgiveness? Who are my role models of forgiveness or un-forgiveness?
The second phase of the process of forgiveness is understanding the interpersonal transgressions (incidents of hurt) in our lives. This involves asking yourself: Who has hurt me? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? What was the person thinking of when he or she hurt me? (Why did they do it?).
The third phrase, is to examine the maladaptive transformations that take place when one is emotionally hurt. Our thinking, feelings, behavior, and even our physiology is impacted when a significant offense occurs. Especially, when we hold on to it for a long time. We need to understand what has happened as a result of a deep interpersonal transgression (emotional hurt). It is during this phase of the forgiveness process that one is waiting for an apology. Sometimes, it never comes.
The fourth phase, conversion takes place when we decide to make some serious changes in our emotional lives. We start to replace maladaptive thoughts and behaviors with more positive constructive ways of viewing and interacting with ourselves and others. The crucial factor in this phase is realizing that when we are joined to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) we are a new creation and the “old” has gone. Paul (Ephesians 4: 17-32) explains what this awesome conversion is all about. I encourage
you to read the passage. A sure sign that we are changing is when we begin to feel a sense of compassion towards the offender and ourselves.
The final phase is the healing stage. It involves forgiveness and reconciliation. As you can see, forgiveness is at the tail end of the process. At this point of the forgiveness process we no longer feel angry and resentful. We now understand what has happen to us and can start to forgive ourselves and others. Once we forgive, we can decide if we want to reconcile with the offender.
Reconciliation is always optional. It requires that we feel that it is safe to return to a relationship but you have to also understand that forgiveness is JUST THAT……. FORGIVING someone who betrayed you in some form or another….. IT DOES NOT MEAN that you have to maintain the SAME TYPE of relationship. Trust had to be earned to even establish a relationship and if you feel that the bond has been tainted / broken etc. it is your choice on whether to allow the individual to HAVE THAT SAME SPACE!
It is still forgiving but it also trusting yourself with your own feelings as well. TRUST AND LISTEN TO YOURSELF and know that when people SHOW YOU who they are the VERY FIRST TIME……do yourself a favor and BELIEVE THEM!