I have been fascinated by the topic of Forgiveness since about 2002 when I found myself in a place where I had to make some very deep decisions regarding forgiveness and what to do after it. Since that time I continue to read and listen to information and messages on this subject that affects everyone!
“The Book on Forgiving” by Desmond and Mpho Tutu introduces the Fourfold Path of Healing Ourselves.
Step 1 Telling your Story
Step 2 Naming the Hurt
Step 3 Granting Forgiveness
Step 4 Renew or Release the Relationship
To be honest, I started reading it thinking, “I know that, and that and that.” Same information I have already studied, and then as I continued obediently through the book, I felt old information flow through me in a new way.
When we have done wrong and seek to make it right, we show the depth of our humanity. I have constantly fought the tendency to play the victim role in both of my hurts that come to mind that have not found resolution. This isn’t easy, especially when you have been wronged. There is a need within us as humans to fix or repair the broken relationship and find understanding and a larger purpose after we have lost something or someone dear to us.
The part I heard in a new way is after you have forgiven someone who has wronged you, whether they repented or not, there is another step. The decision to renew or release is a personal choice only you can make. It’s easier to renew a closer relationship than it is to release. When we choose to release a relationship, that person walks off with a piece of our heart and a piece of our history. Renewing a relationship is not an act of restoration. This is the part I think hit me the most. We do not make a copy of the relationship before the hurt. Renewing a relationship is a creative act. We make a new relationship. It is possible to build a new relationship regardless of the realities of the old relationship. You need to have the desire to create meaning from the suffering and to move forward after and heal after the trauma.
We can take responsibility for our part in a way that frees us from being a victim and allows us to open our hearts. We are always at our best compassion enables us to recognize the unique pressures and individual stories of the people on the other side of our conflict. This is true for any conflict from a personal dispute to an international one.
If a person is not sorry, does not take responsibility for their part, or show any remorse, you may have to release the relationship. Please understand how important it is for your own health and well-being that you forgive this person completely, even if they do not “deserve it.” You will know you have done this properly when you no longer wish any ill will on them. When you think of them you do not have negative vibes shooting through your body and mind. You feel a peace, a true sense of a greater love, in spite of the wrong-doing. That is the test. If you don’t pass, go back to working on forgiving them without condition. It isn’t for them, it’s for you. It’s a tricky thing to understand, until you have mastered it.
There are always consequences to someone’s wrong actions. This is a fact, whether you see those consequences or not. Trust that they are there. They come from a different place than you. So it is important to release any desire or thoughts for those consequences to come, or for you to witness then to feel better. The healing comes when you release those thoughts of retribution or revenge without having them satisfied. This is true freedom. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. We do and say things we do not mean when we are hurting. Make sure you have taken responsibility for your own actions and words in those times. Take time to reflect on extending forgiveness to anyone involved and to yourself.
Bring your understanding of HUMANITY to the next level.