This is part 6 of a series intended to focus on what has worked for us as we learn to walk the path laid out for us. For us, what has given us the strength to grow is a program called Celebrate Recovery. We hope that, if you haven’t already established a support system for yourself, you will give Celebrate Recovery some consideration. Although this site is dedicated to mental well-being, Celebrate Recovery is a program for anyone with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. This includes substance abuse, struggles with faith, and even temporary issues that require a healthy support system. This series has a goal: to create awareness and raise money for further training for us as Celebrate Recovery leaders and mental health champions. This August, we have an opportunity to attend a training summit in California to further our ability to walk with others on this faith-based healing journey.
Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me.
But, I don’t want to. Forgiveness is hard work. I would rather hold on to those old hurts and wear them like a badge of honour. But who am I really hurting when I don’t forgive? Me. It is for my own healing that I need to let go and forgive. If I refuse to forgive, it will (I know from experience) eat away at your peace and your joy. It will begin to hurt those around you because unforgiveness will eventually make you bitter. Forgiveness makes you better.
Who cares if I don’t forgive those who have hurt me? God does. When I refuse to forgive, it hurts His heart. It also blocks my own forgiveness. Wait, what? In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6:14-15 the Message I had to look at another translation to make sure I was understanding this. If I don’t forgive then I am not forgiven? If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. Matthew 6:14 New Living Translation Wow. So offering forgiveness really is for my benefit. I don’t know about you, but I want to be forgiven!
There are people in my life that I still need to forgive, including myself. So, what is holding me back from offering that forgiveness? This is hard. This is real. This is truth. When I don’t forgive, I am still the victim. Being a victim can be comforting. It is like a tattered old blanket that you cling to. It feels safe and secure, but what you don’t realize, is that there is a beautiful new, soft, blanket that Jesus wants to wrap around you. I like that old security of victim-hood. It is hard to admit that, but it is true. Sometimes it is easier to be a victim than to offer forgiveness. But, you know what? I want to be wrapped in that new, clean, soft blanket that comes with letting go of my tattered past.
God blesses those who WORK for peace, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9 New Living Translation.
There’s that word again. Work. Recovery takes work. Forgiving and finding peace take work. Being made whole takes…. WORK. Does that mean that you have to work to be saved? NO! Does it mean if you want to live the full life that God has for you that you need to put the work in? Yes! I will say it again. Forgiveness. Is. Work. Recovery. Is. Work. So, I think the question I need to ask myself is, do I want to be well or do I want to be a victim. Do I want to trade in the tattered and worn blanket, for something fresh and new? Do I want to remain chained to my past by unforgiveness, or do I want to walk in freedom?
What about you? Who do you need to forgive? Is there an area in your life where you continue to be a victim? Today is the day that you can let it go. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, it will never come. Take a leap of faith and forgive. Stop living like a victim and be a victor. You are worth the work.
*Disclaimer. For anyone that has experienced abuse. That is NOT your fault. You can offer forgiveness to your abuser in a safe way; write a letter, talk to a friend, journal it out. If you do not have anyone safe to talk to, please feel free to reach out via our Facebook messenger and we would be happy to listen. You do not need to ask for forgiveness for being abused. It is not your fault.