Wounded people are frequently left to figure out what to do with the pain in order to survive and go on with life. For many, the easiest way to deal with the pain is to tuck it away, never letting it see the light of day.
For those who would face the pain, there is a process necessary for one to heal and move on. The process includes confronting the past by embracing it, as well as grieving losses sustained as a result of the wounding. A necessary part of the process is forgiveness.
Forgiveness may be defined as releasing a debtor from a debt owed. However simple the definition may appear, the living out of this blessed experience is far more complex, because it requires a power that we don’t have.
The power behind forgiveness is that God has first forgiven us. The ultimate expression of God’s forgiveness for us was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Christ’s agape love expressed in His death is the seal of forgiveness. It is the only power through which we may forgive those who have hurt us.
As we enter into the death of Christ through our crucifixion, we enter into the experience of His agape love. Forgiveness is inseparable from agape. We receive the capacity of Divine forgiveness when we receive Divine love. Just as agape is a gift as the Scriptures make clear in Galatians 5:22: “but the fruit of the spirit is love…” And Romans 5:5 has the power of the Cross as an abiding symbol of what is required for this gracious act to take place.
As healing is a process, so is forgiveness. These steps all bathed in prayer include recalling the events that caused wounding, experiencing the pain, asking the Lord for comfort, going to Gethsemane, accepting forgiveness from God to bestow to the offending person, a prayer of blessing for the person, and reconciliation.
Although this is a quick overview of the process of forgiveness, the experience is not quick! The pain and agony of prayer in Gethsemane, as well as pausing to hear what God has to say about the offense can take as long as necessary for the offended one to be healed.
A sweet highlight of the process of forgiveness has to do with how God restores what was lost in the wounding process. If you want to learn more about this marvelous process please check out our book, "Cleansing the Sanctuary of the Heart: Tools for Emotional Healing on the Product link.