Experiencing the True Freedom Of Forgiveness
At The Meeting Place Church in Nanaimo, we've worked with a lot of people who struggle with forgiving and letting go of past hurts. This is just a brief outline that you might find helpful if you struggle with how to let go and forgive.
1. Identify specifically who you are angry with.
Your tendency will be to point out people around you now who are taking the brunt of your anger.
Would you be willing to go back a couple of seasons of your life and see where you have an open account with someone who you feels ‘owes you’? With whom are you really angry?
2. Identify specifically what you are angry about. What was taken from you?
Get a pad of paper and something to write with. Start writing down what you feel that person took from you, at the core. Was it your ability to trust others? Your reputation? Your family? The property you had worked so hard for? Your sense of security?
Be specific. What exactly do you feel that person owes you?
This is usually not a quick process. This is a very personal thing, and may be a painful process. You may need to start a list, and keep this list open for a week or two. Carry it with you. Write down specifics. Spend some time on this. Pray and ask God to help you.
Check out this article on how to get rid of anger.
3. Cancel the debt. Close the account book.
Just as Christ canceled your sin debt, you can cancel the debts that others have incurred against you!
What very often helps us human beings to solidify something in our hearts is to make it a memorable, symbolic event - a one time ritual.
Take your list out somewhere and do something with it that will help you always remember that the book is closed. Pray before you do this. Ask God to go with you.
Maybe you and your closest friends can get together, build a fire on the beach and burn it.
Maybe you’d rather do that alone.
Maybe you need to take your list out into the forest, and bury it. Build a simple cross out of twigs and plant it over the list.
Every time those old feelings come back, the sense that the person who hurt you still owes you, draw on the memories of the ritual and remember. If you burned your list, maybe keep a piece of charred wood from the fire somewhere so you can look at it and remind yourself. Or a small container of dirt from where its buried.
Or maybe take a walk or drive by the beach where you had the fire - and remember: Gone forever! Remember, you took out the trash. There is no way for the person who hurt you to ever pay you back anyway.
4.Choose daily, with help from Christ, to not reopen the matter.
When memories of the past hurt surface, use them as opportunities to renew your mind to what we know is true. Memorize a number of bible verses on forgiveness. Recite them to yourself in weak moments, and you'll be surprised at what happens.
The day will come when you will see or think about the person who hurt you, and you’ll be shocked at how differently you feel towards them.
Forgiveness, and forgiveness alone breaks the energy of anger.