I was told years ago that one of the reasons that I was having trouble getting through a difficult time in my life was because I didn’t forgive myself. I looked at the one doing the counselling and said “excuse, forgive myself, what are you saying?”
I had been abused in prior years and knew that I needed to get some help to work through it finally. I was locked up inside from the pain of the past. It isn’t important to share the details, that isn’t the point of this post, and is buried in the recesses of the past. What is important is to share that the advice to forgive myself came at a cost. I thought the counsellor was blaming me for what had happened, it wasn’t that at all. He picked up on how I held myself responsible for not telling anyone through those many years. I blamed myself for not getting help to get out of the situation. The counsellor carried on to tell me that forgiving the persons involved didn’t mean that I was saying it was ok, not at all. It was letting the forgiveness free me of the pain of carrying something I couldn’t change. In order to learn a new forgiveness of someone else I had to first learn to forgive myself. That was hard to chew because I didn’t know I had done that. The more he left me to just babble (and if you have followed me for awhile you know I can babble well). In talking I “heard” out loud for the first time what had happened, and how I was blaming me. I spent time learning to forgive me for things I thought were my fault that weren’t. I spent time learning to forgive those involved that caused me such harm… forgiveness. Freedom wrapped in a journey of pain, prayer and then…. learning to pray for the individuals that God would help them in their lives in what was done to me.
So what is the cost to forgive? You have to be willing to work through letting those memories control you. As painful as they are, they have become part of you and the pain can control much of your thoughts, consciously and unconsciously. You have to find the courage to say that it is ok to let it go and let it rest where it should, in the past. You have to see that in learning to forgive (not that it ever goes away, you still know what happened), but the grip goes with forgiveness. Jesus forgives me, and in the journey to learn to forgive these people I found a new love for Jesus and his forgiveness of me. I have learned this lesson many times over the many years I have behind me. And I have had to go to others and ask forgiveness of them.. there is indeed a cost. Have I covered it all … no but I continue to work at it.
Job prayed for his friends before God… and the Lord heard his prayers and his friends were granted forgiveness by God. Job was verbally and emotionally abused by is “friends”. The friends didn’t get away with it that easy, they had some things to do. Read Job 42:7-9
Don’t let the cost of working through forgiveness scare you away. Trust me, it gives you freedom to live free inside from some of the grip of the pain from the past.
Hugs n’ Prayers