When coming from a place of distrust, conflict will be ever-present because everything is being viewed through that lens. You will see anything they say and do differently than you would if that distrust was not there. The mind is so powerful and it interprets our sense of reality according to it's own precepts. This is why people can see things so very differently - we all have different experiences in which we draw from. Someone can be genuinely trying to do right by you but you won't receive it - you can't receive it - until you have dealt with your unforgiveness and are able to have an open heart toward them.
This is so contrary to my flesh to do this. I tend to be very open and trusting until I am hurt bad enough by someone that my heart closes off. I am in self-protect mode. That person can't hurt me now but they also stand no chance with me either because my heart has become hard and cannot receive it. My distrust taints everything they do from here on after. Now the major problem with this is that humans are flawed and imperfect and we all will hurt one another from time to time so I'm basically on a fast track to isolation. I can keep everyone at arm's length and not allow them in so that I can't be hurt but then I am still alone deep down where it really counts. The very nature of love requires us to be vulnerable. So what's the answer? Grace. Forgiveness. Nothing new, right?
I was just dealing with something of this myself when I got in the car and a radio show was on KJIL about unforgiveness. It spoke of the 5 steps required to truly forgive someone and set yourself free. I wrote them down. This morning I read Matt 18:21-35 The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant as the author on the radio suggested. My take away from it was HOW CAN YOU EVER EVER HARBOR UNFORGIVNESS WHEN THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE HAS FORGIVEN YOU OF SO MUCH! The Master has shown grace and delivered you. (You are the servant. Read it, it's good.) So if you want to be forgiven, ever, of all your flaws and mistakes and imperfectness then you have to be willing to forgive others. SO, since I know what a mess I can be I know I have to get this one right! And to pray that when I mess up I will have grace extended to me as well.
So here goes...
#1 Open your heart - yikes already..you have to allow yourself to feel the hurt because hiding it away only makes it worse anyway. Admit what you feel..open it up..acknowledge how they hurt you.
#2 Extend compassion - sometimes an apology is all you need to be MOVED to compassion..it wasn't intentional, they're sorry, you can understand they just messed up. BUT sometimes that apology never comes. Or sometimes you've grown tired of their apologies. Or sometimes you just flat out don't trust them. Maybe they don't even acknowledge that they've done anything wrong. SO instead of being stuck waiting on them you have to choose to EXTEND compassion..all on your own. Truth is you just never know what someone is going through and if you did you might feel differently so giving them the benefit of the doubt is really all you can do. This is GRACE! You must remove the person from what they did that hurt you. Still see them as a person - not a villain. Just like you don't want to be identified by your transgressions you can't define someone else by theirs.
#3 Release them - this means NO DEBT OWED. Like Christ did for us. God is our avenger so we keep no record of wrongs. We get to lay that down and be free from that burden. So go down deep into your "heart prison" the author said..and look at who you've got held captive. So many people have wronged you over time. Are you still holding on to them? Do they still "owe you" for the sense of injustice you have? It's time. Release them and in turn open that space up in your heart!
#4 Forgive them of all their trespasses - you can list them or categorize them, but address it all. Don't hold on to the big one and say everything but THAT. No matter how awful of an offense it is YOU deserve to be free from that pain. Emotional Pain is physiological..it's deep. It affects us in ways we don't even realize. As my pastor said once it's like a cancer that just rots and eats away at you. Cut it out!
#5 Bless them in prayer. Pray for their hearts, their marriage & family, their blessings..if you've forgiven them you can do this. If not, back track and try again. Just get to a place where you honestly wish them well. Luke 6:27 -you knew I was going there didn't you?
Now here's your clean slate. The damage was done but you have stopped it from continuing. You will feel lighter because of the weight you were carrying around that you have now freed yourself from. Peace will surround you. Moving forward you will find that you will start to see them differently. Your perspective has changed now that you aren't harboring resentment and distrust. Now you can judge situations as they occur with fresh eyes. Grace changes the game - it changes everything. Now watch God move! Don't be surprised if this brings a change in the other person as well.
Forgiveness is not saying what the person did was okay..and it's not enabling them to mistreat you.
It's just setting the captive free.. and realizing it's you.
The Freedom Factor by Bruce Wilknson
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