Insight: Forgiveness can be difficult. When we do not feel worthy of forgiveness it becomes difficult for us to receive it. God has offered us forgiveness of all our sin. God knows everything we have done or will do and Jesus sacrifice covered it all. God sees you as worthy. Once you believe that God sees you as worthy it becomes easier for you to believe that for yourself as well.
Forgiveness is about loving yourself. If you do not love yourself you will struggle with this a lot. Forgiveness frees you from being held captive by the pain, however if you feel unworthy or you do not love yourself you will determine that you deserve to live with the pain. Another reason for unforgiveness, is punishing the other party. In all reality whether or not you forgive the other person very little will change for them. In most cases the people we are holding unforgiveness towards do not even realize the pain they have caused us and have no idea that we have been holding these actions and the pain caused by such actions in our hearts.
The place to start is when the negative thoughts come and tell you that you are not worthy of forgiveness, tell them to stop, take a few deep breaths to focus your mind and think of three positive things about yourself. Another thing that is helpful is to think of a statement of affirmation that you can say to yourself at these times. It could be something as simple as I am worthy!
Above all remember forgiveness is a journey. It takes time to get there, so be kind to yourself as you go. Our worst enemy can be ourselves when we are dealing with things. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be.
Issue: I find myself in a place where I want to be free of the pain of my past, but I really do not have it in me to forgive some of those who have hurt me. Do I really need to forgive in order to be free?
YES. God has every right to find us all guilty of sin. Instead He made a huge sacrifice and sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for the sins of every other person. God made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We need to come to a place where we are willing to forgive others. This process may take time. Take the time that you need to really come to a place where you can forgive others. In the Bible we are called to forgive people over and over again. In fact when Jesus was asked, His answer was 70 times 7. That is 490 times. In other words just keep forgiving.
Issue: My mom is disabled and I hated her for it. I even told her that. Since I have grown closer to Jesus I have seen her in a new light and I realize how much I love her. How do I repair the damage I have caused?
Insight: God has forgiven you. My question for you is have you forgiven yourself? You need to forgive yourself, in order to be effective in repairing things with your mom. She needs to know you are coming from a place of love and not guilt. Once you have forgiven yourself and allowed all of the pain to fade away, face your mom. Tell her the truth about how you felt, what changed and how you feel now. Ask her to forgive you and continue to treat her with love and respect and I am sure the damage to your relationship will be healed and restored.
Issue: I have an easy time forgiving others but have a difficult time forgiving myself and moving on from the mistakes I have made.
Insight: It is great that you are able to forgive others so effectively, many struggle with forgiveness more than others. I can relate to your situation, as I have always found it harder to forgive myself than to forgive others. I expect a lot of myself, in fact, I think I expect more of me than God does. The way that I have dealt with this is to try to see myself through God's eyes. He created me, and He sees me as perfect, not because I do nothing wrong but because Jesus has already paid the price for my mistakes.
The only thing that happens as a result of me punishing myself is I am hurting myself. This breaks God's heart. He does not like seeing His precious children in pain, especially self-inflicted pain. It is when I saw myself in this way that I found it easier to forgive myself. I also find that my love for God grows deeper each day and as a result all I want to do is make Him happy which actually helps me make less mistakes. When you make a mistake you can either run to God or from God, my question is: if you harbor unforgiveness towards yourself are you being drawn closer to God or farther away from God?
Issue: My best friend started dating the person I like, when my friend knew I liked this person. I don't want to tell my friend anything anymore and I feel betrayed. I don't think I will ever be able to trust my friend again.
Insight: My question to you is have you told your friend how you feel since this happened? Your best friend may think you stopped liking that person, or your friend might have thought it was alright if that person liked your friend but didn't like you in that way. You need to find out why your friend did it before you can decide if your friend has broken your trust or not.
If your friend has betrayed you then you need to decide if you want to continue the friendship or not. If you do, then you should probably forgive your friend and move on; however you may want to be cautious of what you share with your friend until the trust is rebuilt. If you decide not to continue the friendship, then I would suggest you still forgive your friend. Forgiveness is not letting your friend off the hook, it is setting you free from the pain your friend caused you.
If you have already expressed how you feel and your friend doesn't care that you were hurt by it, you may want to evaluate the friendship. Once again, you would need to decide if you want to continue this friendship or not. If you decide to keep the friend, you might want to distance yourself from them and find a 'best' friend you can trust. If you decide it is time to move on, you might want to let them know why you have decided not to be friends anymore. Either way, you should still forgive the person, which will enable you to move on from this situation in a healthy way. Always remember, there are consequences for our actions at any stage in our lives.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.