Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Forgiving in order to heal, how do you do it?

i've actually been wondering all night if you might have a post on this topic. specifically, when one *wants* to forgive, and has even said the words "i forgive you", and then tried to carry on as though forgiveness has actually taken place, but nothing has changed on the inside. what can you do? how does one invoke the atonement? for big things specifically (in my case). all i want for christmas is peace and freedom from this multi-decade hurt. i've recently had the chance to vent and the person who hurt me listened, apologized, and then wrote me a letter further apologizing and asking me to forgive them for all the ways they hurt me and it's impact on my life. i have (in the past) said I forgive them, and tried to have them in my life as if all was well. but it wasn't. isn't.

so how does one move from this point to a healthy place. how does that mysterious atonement work?
is there a magic word i need to utter? some level of despair i have to attain? some amount of humility and contriteness i have to conjure up before i can finally be free?

That was the question I was asked.

There is no magic word that I know, though the things that tend to help some people are the process of praying for God to bless the other person and the process of keeping a journal and writing it all out. Buy a simple wire bound spiral notebook, if nothing else, and write about everything, pour your heart out in words.

They pray every night to God to bless the other person and to aid you in forgiving and moving past.

That is where I would start -- and I'm hoping that people who read this blog will chime in and add their thoughts and suggestions in the comments.


Victoria Pynchon, said...

Yes, I learned to pray for the happiness of people who I am so angry at that it throws my serenity out the window. I don't know how or why it works, but it is one of the few prayers (in addition to "please let me be of service") that is always answered.

Papa D said...

"Pray for them that spitefully use you and persecute you."

That's the only way I know, as well.

Bookslinger said...

If you're looking for a mantra, the one I use is "Jesus paid for it" whenever I have a flashback to a PTSD-causing event.

Unknown said...

One thing that has lead me to WANT to forgive... I realize that not forgiving is impacting my life... and the perpetrator of the hurt is still hurting me, by my not forgiving them. Does that make sense?

You have to know that you didn't deserve to be hurt. That it wasn't because of anything you did. You can be healthy, you can move on. Don't let any of the yuckiness that happened to you tinge your life further.

Very practical, not spiritual at all:) But it's what I (someone who has also struggled seriously with this) have to offer.

Stephen said...

NoSurfGirl I think that is the very reason why Christ said that if someone does something wrong to you that offends you and you fail to forgive, to let go of the offense, that is a greater wrong than the original wrong.

Failing to let go is the only harm we can take that goes with us into the next life.