“I feel sooooooo free…Part of me wants to jump up and down, and the other part just stands in awe that nothing is tying me down any more…The wounds still hurt, but they don’t own me anymore. I never thought so much pain on Thursday could lead to so much joy and peace! I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
The above email expresses the freedom that comes from forgiveness. It also shows how painful the process can be.
Forgive  means:
- to send away,
- to yield up,
- to let go, give up a debt,
The word FREEDOM is taking us through the process of forgiveness. So far we have learned forgive:
Getting real about our losses brings us smack dab up against our pain. If something hurt when it happened, it hurts to let it go. Forgiving can get Emotional, but don’t let this stop you.
I’ve sat with countless women, like the one who sent the above email, as they forgave the people who’d hurt them. Some hurts were scratches and easy to give up. But others were deep wounds. Letting go of penetrating hurts is like removing a barbed arrow. It feels like you are causing more harm. But if you don’t remove it, infection will set in and destroy you.
Facing our pain can raise fears. I can’t face this. It will overwhelm and bury me, and I will never recover.
I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve watched women express gut wrenching emotions through body shaking sobs and return the next week in liberated peace. They slept better and felt better. They were free.
Don’t avoid forgiving because you want to avoid the emotions. Jesus knows how you feel. He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, sweating drops of blood as He prepared to pay the price for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane, (Matthew 26:36-44). He prayed with loud cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7). But He pressed through for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).
The loss is real, the pain is genuine, but so are the relief and freedom that follow.
Allowing your emotions to surface before God, and if needed a trusted friend, is cleansing and healing. Forgiving, like vomiting, is messy and repulsive, but oh the relief when the toxins are gone!
When we don’t allow ourselves to feel and release the pain, we’re still stuffing. We go through life trying to hold down lids on boiling emotions never knowing what will cause them to spill out. Invite the Lord into your pain and let Him help you empty your boiling pots.
One year after Jana forgave the woman who broke up her parents’ marriage she saw ‘the enemy’ at a family function. “Forgiveness is supernatural,” she said. “God used it to change my emotions. I no longer felt angry. I felt sorry for her.”
Forgiveness touches and heals our emotions. Press on.
Deborah W. Wilson