Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Freedom Through Forgiveness

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B Smedes

For years I carried anger and resentment toward someone who had caused emotional pain in my life. When I felt I'd had enough, I decided to work on forgiveness and release. It was work, and it took time, but one day I examined my feelings and realized I was free. I still occasionally see this person on the street somewhere, but when I look inside at what I'm feeling, I smile. Even in his presence, I'm free. And that feels good.

When another person has done something to hurt you, you can't go back and change that person, but you can change your feelings that hold you captive. You may feel right and justified, and maybe you are, but would you rather be right or happy? You can't always be both, so choose happy and let go of right and justified. Do this for yourself, and grab hold of freedom.

When we think of forgiveness, we usually think of forgiving someone else. But what about forgiving yourself? Think about how you feel when you hurt someone, or when you do something you wish you hadn't, or you feel you don't measure up. The same feelings of regret, guilt, or self-reproach are there inside no matter who or what the situation. We hang on, justify our feelings, get sick, and wish it would all go away. What a waste of body and soul when we have this great tool for freedom within our power. To quote a friend, we do the best we can according to our growing ability. And learning to use forgiveness is an important part of our growth. So while you can't go back and change something, you can love and forgive yourself for being imperfect. You are worth love and forgiveness. Set yourself free to grow and become more of what you envision for yourself.

While we need to forgive ourself and others, we also need to forgive situations in order to transform our painful responses to them. Forgive your car for breaking down, forgive those times when Aunt Susie gets on your nerves, forgive your body for getting sick, and so on. It's all a crappy part of life, and it will nag at you until you forgive it for being crappy and then release those painful responses to it.

Let nothing painful in life sit with you without expressing your love and forgiveness to yourself, others, or a situation. Every painful emotion can be an opportunity for growth, but only if we answer and grow with it. Choose your freedom every day, and the rocks in the road won't seem so big.

I wish you a smoother road ahead.


1 comment:

  1. What a great post. Everything you say is spot on. Wonder why it's so hard to do!