Monday, April 25, 2011

Tattoo forgiveness?

A friend was helping me with an idea for a blog, and she did such a great job, I chose to simply copy and paste it as the today's entry (with her permission). We realize that many readers have suffered through divorce and other deep hurts that require forgiveness if they are ever to enjoy peace and healthy relationships again. Many of you know these things, but oftentimes we need to be reminded of what we already know:

Dear Linda,

Have you done a blog on forgiveness yet? A few years ago I came up with an analogy that has helped me immensely. I used to think forgiveness was a one-shot deal. I forgive someone then I'm done. And if I ever feel the bitterness or resentment (or rage or even hatred) again, I must not have really forgiven the person. Try as I might to forgive, I kept thinking I was failing.

I finally likened this to "tattoo forgiveness": you do it once and it's done, it sticks forever. Then I discovered that, as an incredibly fallible human being, it works a little different. I have to do "get in shape forgiveness": every day I pray for God's power to forgive, every day I have to choose to pray blessings for that person and lovingly act in their best interest.

It's much more like eating right & working out in order to get in shape. I have to choose to forgive every day. I can't say "Oh, I went to the gym yesterday so I won't ever have to do that again." And on the days the old bitterness and rage well up, I ask God to forgive me and to give me a forgiving heart. Then I pray blessing for my enemy.

So, I've discovered that forgiveness is not a one time occurrence like getting a tattoo. Rather, like getting in shape physically, forgiveness is an everyday choice.

I've been a single mother for almost 8 years now. My ex-husband is still taking me to court trying to get custody of our daughter. There are days when I still struggle with emotions from that abusive marriage and with emotions from this ongoing custody fight. For years I knew I needed to forgive him but I had no idea how. Now I know I have to choose to forgive every day, whether I feel like it or not. Forgiveness is the only way to release the hold pain and anger have on us. It's the only way to obey and be like our Jesus who forgives us over and over again.

Lewis Smedes wrote The Art of Forgiving: When you need to forgive and don’t know how. I found it very helpful. Maria

We encourage you to ask God to search your heart for any bitterness or anger that you may be harboring, and ask him to fill you with his grace and mercy so that you can completely and continually forgive. Matthew 6:12: .. and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

~ Linda
Cache' Connections

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