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The Power in Forgiveness by Laurie Denham, L.P.C.

May 22, 2013

“The moment when you understand, compassion is born in your hearts. Now it is possible for you to forgive; not a moment before that.”  The intensity of our pain may prevent us from expressing compassion for the one who has caused the pain.  Our pain becomes a stumbling block, and then it becomes difficult to move forward.  Perhaps, if we can step into the shoes of the one responsible for the pain we can then begin to understand the question, “Why”?.  What about a parent who was physically abused for most of their childhood only to grow up and become an abuser themselves? Can we forgive?  If for a moment, we step into the tattered shoes of the parent (abused child), we may be able to understand that this parent is a product of his or her environment.  As we look through the eyes of the abused parent, we may see what he or she has experienced most of their lives.  To express understanding doesn’t mean we think something is acceptable. Rather, it creates compassion in our hearts.  In that very moment, we can begin the journey on the road to forgiveness. As long as we continue to hold onto the pain caused by the unfairness of life, we can never move forward and become emotionally healthy adults.

Within our ability to “understand” we can change how we feel on the inside, perhaps decreasing our sadness and sense of low self-worth.   Many of us are afraid that if we have compassion for the one who has caused our pain we will somehow validate that person’s behavior.  Not true!  It’s not about agreeing with the behavior or condoning it.  Forgiving this person provides us with freedom.  This person may not deserve to be forgiven, but we deserve to be free!  This is not easy to do, but it is worth it.

God gives us the power to forgive and forgiveness gives us the power to let go.  Forgiveness is a journey that begins with a decision. It is a process that takes patience and time.   Forgiveness requires great strength, and we cannot attain such without the power of God.  Unfortunately the value of forgiveness is only learned through the experience of heartbreak.  Once our forgiveness journey has been traveled, we still remember…but, with a different emotion.   Many people spend their entire lives holding on to anger, resentment and bitterness.  Holding onto these negative emotions can be poisonous, becoming extremely unhealthy and unproductive.  As a child of God we can forgive and thus be free!

 

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