I am grateful for learning what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is something I struggled with for a long time. Well, I have not struggled with forgiving, just understanding what it means. My therapist finally helped me understand it. I am thankful that I no longer misunderstand what forgiveness means.
Forgiveness is Not Selfish
My therapist said, “Forgiveness is for you, Jowanna.” I thought it was selfish. If someone committed a heinous act, isn’t forgiving them, forgetting about future victims? It is not so. When you forgive, you free yourself from the hurt. It allows to support other victims and to spread awareness without being blinded by my emotion.
Forgiveness is Not Excusing the Wrong
“The family walks around like it didn’t happen and they are mad at me! I refuse to pretend like we do not have an offender among us!” Yep, that’s me digging my heels in. I was wrong again. Forgiveness is not about excusing the wrong, it’s about self-healing. Forgiveness allows you to own your emotions instead of holding on to them. It is important to release the anger, resentment, and pain. Holding on means you are inviting unnecessary stress to your life. And guess what? Stress kills.
Forgiveness is Not Reconciling With the Offender
Have you ever watch one of the documentaries where the mother forgives and befriends her daughter’s killer? That’s what I thought it was — and I did not want any part of that! When you forgive, you cut emotional ties with your offender and the offense. You get your power back. You may choose to reconcile, it is totally up to you. Or, you can choose to walk away. Either way, it is up to you.
I have learned to forgive because it aligns with my values. I am grateful that God put people in my path that could help debunk the myths associated with forgiving someone. It has lifted a weight off my heart — and believe me, I will take any weight loss I can get.