shutterstock_155852234-[Converted]How do you forgive someone who has wronged you?  Mistreated you, demeaned you, left you out, took something from you or lied to you or about you?  The real question is, how do you not?

How do you live with the feelings of resentment, humiliation, anger and fear?  The truth is, longevity demands that these feelings be released through forgiveness.

The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”  Mahatma Gandhi

The person who offended you may not be worthy of your forgiveness, but you are.  You deserve to let go of it all.  It doesn’t mean that you should do so without boundaries.  Forgiveness does not mean letting them do it again.  You can protect yourself and still forgive.

We all have terrible pains that can be released through forgiveness.  Sometimes you just forget how important it is.  I had one incident…2 years it bothered me.  Then one day I was praying…it wasnt’ thoughtful prayer either…it was just praying- I thought I was praying without feeling…and it just came into my head…forgive them…and that second, I did.  It put me into a place of relief, understanding and love and it took me out of a place of loss, hurt, shame and humiliation.  I forgave myself too.  Sometimes you need to accept your part in it too…and let it go.

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

Now, I do a review, because these things can creep up on you and you don’t realize you need to forgive unless you deliberately take inventory.  As I write this, I need to forgive a few people this year…a couple doctors, a radiologist, a family member and …I think that is it.  It is unhealthy to carry this stuff around.

Take these steps to forgive:

  1. Think of the person you need to forgive.  Look at the situation realistically, including what part you take in it.
  2. Look at your feelings thoroughly and honestly.
  3. Look at what may have caused your offender to commit the act you need to forgive.
  4. What can you do to prevent it from happening again?
  5. Forgive…let it go.

There are other people, you make allowance for.  If you aren’t terribly connected, you face it at the time, see the reasons for other peoples actions and you forgive and let it go.  We ran into a couple instances of people stealing our programs and even copying them or ideas.  I forgive them, but that doesn’t mean I let them do it.  That is a good example of forgiving with boundaries.  This type of thing truly does hurt you to hold on to – more than the offender.  Often, they don’t even see that it is wrong.

It is important to forgive your loved ones.  Resentments ruin marriages, friendships, family relationships.  We love these people unconditionally.  Someone I love very much told me “you have to take the bad with the good…and just be grateful there is a lot more good than bad”.  I love my children unconditionally.  I love my parents and my husband unconditionally.  That doesn’t mean that you let them do anything…that is where boundaries come in.

There is some debate on the value of forgiveness for victims of sexual abuse.  According to Psychology Today, there may be one exception:

Mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, instead of allowing anger toward them to eat away at us, is the course of action recommended by most psychologists. An exception to the belief that burying the hatchet brings peace to the soul may be sexual abuse: Some victims of these crimes are empowered when given permission to not forgive.

Is there someone you need to forgive?  Try the five steps above.

Is there something in your life that forgiveness released for you?  Share it below.

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