TWSC Series: Broken but Beautiful – The F-word

Photo: Justus Nandwa
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ― Carl G. Jung

This is not your usual F-word, perhaps it is. The thought of it gives me chills and emotional instability sometimes. It’s the word that many of us avoid because it demands us to walk on unpleasant paths we’d prefer not to travel on. Truth is, though it leads to peace and freedom, it is a painful process. Forgiveness is what I’m talking about.

So, what is forgiveness? What does it mean to you? Was forgiveness demonstrated in your home growing up? Do you remember forgiving anyone in your childhood? I’m inviting you to reflect on how you experienced forgiveness in your childhood because what we experienced in our developmental age shapes our judgement in adulthood to some extent.

I don’t remember much about forgiveness in my childhood, but I remember saying it in The Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” And what does this mean btw?

I also remember someone preaching about that line and they said God will forgive us our sins how we forgive others. Hmmm…

This sent me into the guilt prison. It didn’t make sense and I struggled approaching God because I couldn’t forgive the people who offended me sexually. I even stopped saying The Lord’s Prayer since I believed that He had not forgiven my sins.

Perhaps you can relate to my struggle. But I don’t think an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving God would choose to forgive us based on how we forgive others. God’s love is not based on who we are or how we behave, His love for us is based on who He is and nothing can change that.

Consider this: a parent cannot stop loving their child just because they are rebellious. God, our loving parent, loves us even when we reject Him. We will understand what the line in The Lord’s Prayer means in a future article. But first, here’s what I would like you to know: God’s forgiveness for you is not based on how you forgive others. He forgave us even before we knew Him. Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

What does the death of Christ mean?

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7

You are forgiven! Knowing that we are forgiven makes it possible for us to forgive others. You see, forgiveness is a price we pay to clear off a debtor. And you cannot pay the price if you have nothing in your hands. See why it’s necessary for us to accept God’s forgiveness for ourselves? And this we have to do daily.

Forgiveness is a process and not an event. It has layers like an onion, it is deliberate and not passive. It is uncomfortable and painful but the end brings peace and freedom.

Forgiveness demands that we acknowledge a wrong done to us, and many times we deny the wrong because it’s uncomfortable to believe that someone you cherished and loved chose to harm you. Denying the wrong done to us or minimizing our pain, makes it hard for us to forgive and to find healing. So, the first step to forgiving others is to stop getting to where you want to be and be still long enough to see where you are.

How do we do this?

(Find a quiet space, well lit, well ventilated; bring in drinking water, a book, a pen and a pack of tissues. Sit comfortably, and breathe through the process)

  1. Take an inside look. Think about where you are now in your life.
  2. See yourself as you really are without judging or criticizing yourself.
  3. Don’t take a quick look and then try to change.
  4. Reflect on where you are.
  5. What are you feeling? Name the emotion. Don’t rationalize what you’re feeling.
  6. Write it down. It’ll be uncomfortable. It won’t make you feel good. Acknowledge the offence. Name it without minimizing or excusing it.
  7. What happened? Describe what you can remember without holding yourself [back].
  8. Who wronged you? What did you expect from them?
  9. How did that make you feel?
  10. What have you lost as a result of that offence?

Now breathe. How did that feel? Talk to God about it. Until we state an offence for what it is, we will continue punishing ourselves and our self-protective behaviors will harm others. An offence swept under the rug is still an offence that will make the floor bumpy and cause you to trip and fall. Our inner-wounded person will not give us peace if we keep numbing our pain; because, “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”- Maya Angelou

You didn’t deserve the abuse you went through. You are valuable.

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