I feel sooooooo free…Part of me wants to jump up and down. Another part stands in awe that nothing ties 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 forgiveness offers. It also shows the process may be painful.
To forgive means: to—
- send away,
- give up,
- let go,
Getting real about our losses pushes us smack dab up against our pain. If something hurt when it happened, it often hurts to let it go. That’s why forgiving may get Emotional.If something hurt when it happened, it often hurts to let it go. #healing Click To Tweet
I’ve sat with countless women, like the one who sent the above email, as they forgave people who’d wronged them. Some hurts were scratches and easy to give up. Others were deep wounds.
Expel the Hurt
Letting go of some 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 poison you and possibly harm others.
Some fear they can’t face the swirling pain of anger, grief, rejection, and betrayal. It will bury me, and I will never recover.
I’ve found the opposite to be true. Women who expressed gut-wrenching emotions through deep sobs returned the following week in liberated peace. They told me they slept and felt better than they had in years.
Jesus Feels Your Pain
Don’t avoid forgiving because you fear the pain. Jesus knows your agony.
- was overwhelmed with sorrow tothe 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).
- prayed with loud cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7).
- pressed through for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).
Ignoring pain doesn’t remove it. We exhaust ourselves trying to hold lids on our boiling emotions aware that any bump could spill their scalding contents. Or, suppressing them limits our capacity to feel pleasant emotions like joy.
How much better to invite the Lord into our pain and let Him empty our boiling pots. Allow your emotions to surface before God, and perhaps a trusted friend. Forgiving, like vomiting, can be messy, but oh the relief expelling the toxins brings!
The loss is real. The process may be painful, but relief and freedom follow.
A woman, I’ll call Jana, forgave the person who broke up her parents’ marriage. A year later, Jana saw ‘the enemy’ at a family function.
“Forgiveness is supernatural,” she said. “God used it to heal my emotions. Instead of feeling angry, I felt sorry for her.”
The process of forgiveness may stir our emotions before it heals them. Press on. Freedom awaits.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness” (Is. 35:10 NLT).
The Forgiveness Brings Freedom Series continues with Have You Counted the Cost of Not Forgiving?