The “F” Word And It’s Not What You Think
Updated: Jan 28
We’ve all heard of the “F” word, some people despise the word and others spout it out of their mouths frequently. That’s the “F” word that is considered by many to be obscene language, but I want to talk about another “F” word that is almost as uncomfortable for many people. That “F” word is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a noun, the action or process of being forgiven. Forgive is verb, to be very clear, an action verb defined as to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense or mistake.
Offering forgiveness for the everyday person is sometimes difficult. It is difficult because it touches a nerve in us that sometimes is painful and raw, has caused us hurt feelings or anger to say the least. Unfortunately, in life people hurt us. Sometimes it’s the people we love the most that hurt us or betray us. It can be a friend, a co-worker, a church member, family member or even our spouse.
Sometimes being hurt or betrayed can seem like the end of the world, but it’s not. Life goes on. It is up to us how life does move on for us. We can choose to stay bitter and angry. We can choose to become depressed and isolated. Or we can forgive and move forward. I don’t mean to insinuate that forgiveness is always an easy task. It most definitely is NOT EASY! Depending on the degree of pain that person caused us, it can be a very difficult journey. I say journey because it isn’t a quick destination or action to forgive someone. Most of the time it takes much thought and processing our feelings to reach a point of forgiveness. Sometimes it is a lengthy process of letting go of years and years of pain and suffering which can take time. It takes facing things that are uncomfortable and many times reliving the pain we experienced before we are able to move forward and let go.
Isn’t it strange that we would rather hold on to that experience of pain and anger than to process it and let go? That is our human nature, but it is not what God expects of us. In Matthew 6:14-15 it reads “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” The Lord’s prayer, in which Jesus taught about forgiveness is probably one of the most important prayers in Christianity, but so many times we recite it out of habit without really listening to the words and definitely not living by them.
I would like to say there is no place in the scripture of the Bible that says forgiving someone is going to help the physical or mental health of the forgiver. Forgiveness sets you free is not from the Bible. There is a Chinese proverb that says if you are going to pursue revenge, you’d better dig two graves. I interpret that to say your resentment will destroy YOU!
Psychologists generally define forgiving as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment, anger or vengeance toward a person or persons who have harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Read that again it says they may not deserve it. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean excusing or condoning their action. It does not mean that you have to reconcile with them or release them from any accountability, even legally.
I do believe forgiving others is essential for your spiritual growth. I also believe that the thoughts of resentment, anger and hatred that you carry around in your mind are a slow and debilitating death to your inner peace and physical health. It zaps your energy and will eventually drain your mind and heart. As tough as it may be to acknowledge, you had to go through those dark times to get to where you are today. You survived and you are here now. Forgiveness is for your own personal growth, happiness and peace. If you don’t let go and you continue to hold on and harbor the past it will harm you much more than the offender. Forgiveness frees us to live in the present and allows us to be able to move on without the burden of carrying those horrible feelings.
I have had to forgive many people in my life as well as ask for forgiveness when I was wrong. Everyone has different stories of their need for offering forgiveness. By far, the hardest for me was being a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I can honestly say I have forgiven my perpetrator, not for him, but for me. I rose above the control he had over me and my life. My forgiveness came from a higher being than myself, that of my Heavenly Father. Was is easy? No! Was it quick? No! Was it worth it? Yes, because I live in peace and his punishment is between him and God. He no longer has any control over me. I am a survivor!
I challenge you to become a person who refuses to allow the actions of another person to offend or define you. If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you will find it impossible to be offended or defined by the actions of others. You are saying to yourself “I have control over how I’m going to feel and react to any situation”. Bring love to hate, light to darkness and pardon to injury.
I pray for your peace and healing on your journey to forgiveness.
Scriptures you may enjoy reading:
Matthew 6: 9-14
Ephesians 4: 31-32