Step one: Forgiveness of self
At the hospital, the most difficult groups I do are on the topic of forgiveness. You can guess why:
- people don’t understand its function,
- they don’t know its power,
- they underestimate its results.
We are going to look at forgiveness like a statue in the middle of a room, something we can walk around. Forgiveness is really just a small series of steps that, after the heart is engaged, become a repeatable system. When you get that system down, then you apply it to the other parts.
That’s not to say it becomes mechanical, it doesn’t! If it does, you’re doing it wrong. Because the heart has to engage to begin the system moving. It is the impetus, the key that starts the engine. Without the passion to heal, the desire to love, then it runs the risk of becoming a nonproductive, even dangerously manipulative landmine that will flashback on you.
The Three Phases of Forgiveness are, in order:
1. Forgive Self
2. Forgive others
3. Asking forgiveness
This post is on forgiveness of self.
Forgiving Self – Why this has to be done first, is because, people who never forgive themselves, never correctly forgive others. There are reasons why these people arrest at this phase: poor self-worth, depression, disbelief. All of these are re-trainable but start with the belief that you are capable, able and good enough.
So HOW do you forgive yourself?
1. Acknowledge-No one is perfect or flawless. Acknowledging that you aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean you’re something less that you should be, it means you know where your strengths and weaknesses are and know how to maneuver through tests and trials successfully.
2. Know you are already forgiven by God through Christ – So, what special power or knowledge are you in possession of if you think you should not be forgiven. Do you think your sin is more powerful than God’s ability to forgive? You think you stink more than any other, but you’re wrong.
This is an act of will. Faith it, till you make it. Have faith in God, or at least yourself, to have the ability to do it. Yes, you can will take you farther than No I can’t. You’re forgiven, start acting like it!
3. Begin again – Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Don’t wait to be ready to begin, just begin. There are no green lights or starting guns in life. Just begin a task and adjust as you go. Don’t worry about failure. The only reason you fail is because you’re trying. Keep trying!
4. Begin Again – Yes, I’m repeating myself because it is expected for you to try again then you should expect to fail again. All people who succeed, know their failures outweigh their successes at first. Eventually, you’ve primed the pump, learn the process and push through. (Repeat 3 & 4 as needed)
Is it really as easy as that? No. I’m honest. No. It’s the actual practice that is always the hang-up. You know, before people learned to fly, we understood some of the mechanics.
The French understood warm air rises because it is lighter and had many experiments with hot air balloons. Others understood certain principles of the wing, but that doesn’t mean from the drawing board to actual practice is only one step.
There were countless crashes, accidents and mishaps. Many were injured, many walked away, and some died. However, many persevered to see the world as none had before.
All this to say, this will be a daily restart, expect to be responsible for you own motivation. Never expect others to constantly encourage and motivate you, they are dealing with their own battles.
A main complaint most have is they believe if they forgive, they will be viewed as vulnerable or weak and therefore, used. Well, the thing is, you’re going to be used anyway. Those seeking to heal always are! At least it’s for a good cause, be a contributor, a giver, not a taker.
Again, it’s going to take some repeated, difficult application to get your belief system aligned with your will to want to forgive yourself.
You can do it.
But you’re going to have to step out. No more waiting for the right time.
The time is now!