I think I can safely say, we’ve all been hurt. There is no way around it. If you open yourself up to any kind of relationship, you’re going to get hurt. No matter how big or how small the hurt is God wants to bring healing to your heart. The best way to do that is through forgiveness. Now, I’m not a psychologist or counselor, but I’m going to share my 5 steps that I use to forgive so I can heal and move on.
1. Face The Pain
No one wants to hurt. We tend to bury all the pain and try to forget it. The problem with that is that it’s still there. The hardest thing to do is face the pain. I’ve found though that it is a crucial first step. How can you forgive if you won’t acknowledge that someone hurt you? So let it sink in. Yes someone hurt you and it’s uncomfortable. Remember, when you’re done with these steps you’ll be on your way to healing and moving on.
2. Think Through The Pain
Now that you’ve acknowledged that you’ve been hurt, think through the pain. Go step by step through what happened. This will allow you to see a couple of things. First, you’ll see if there was something you could have done to have prevented the situation. Many times our troubles come upon us because of our own actions. Did you play a part in bringing on the pain? If so, you need to own it. Does it give someone the right to hurt you? No. No one ever has that right. However, you can learn to control your actions so in the future you can avoid the same thing happening again.
The other thing you will get is clarity. You’ll begin to work out how the situation came about. Again, this can help you avoid the same circumstance in the future. The pain will be fresh and it won’t feel good, but hang in there, there is a method to the madness. Now, I want you to remember how much God loves you. Remember all the things you’ve done that hurt him and he still loved and forgave you. It’s your responsibility to offer that same forgiveness to others.
This is the hard part, realizing that you need to forgive. When you’re hurt you want to hold on to that. It’s natural. You may even want to get revenge. I advise against that, especially if you want to heal the wounds and move on. I vaguely remember a quote I read that says, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” I don’t know who said it, but they were a genius. It’s true. Holding a grudge will only make you bitter and hateful. It will only lead you into a prison of darkness.
3. Let Go
Sounds simple enough right? It doesn’t have to be hard. This may sound silly, but this is what I do. I put all of my hurt into an imaginary balloon. I don’t hold any of it back. if you hold onto any of it, it becomes a seed that will only grow resentment again. So, I put everything into that balloon (it’s a helium balloon by the way). Then I imagine myself letting that balloon go. I watch it soar out of sight. Then I turn from that spot in my mind and leave. It may sound crazy, but it works.
Once you let go of it, you’re able to forgive. I suggest that you contact the person, if you can, and let them know you forgive them. You never know what is going on with them. God can use this as a huge stepping stone in their lives or in your relationship.
Also, if you’ve truly forgiven them, don’t bring it up again. If something happens in the future don’t go back dig this hurt back up. Let it go completely.
5. Begin The Healing Process
Move on. Now that you’ve forgiven them, it’s time to forget it. I have a hard time with this one. To heal though, you have to put it in the past. God can help you with that. The freedom that comes from having forgiven someone is amazing. Go walk in freedom!
Okay there you have my 5 steps to forgiveness and healing. If you’ve been looking for a way to work through the pain, try this process. It works for me and I hope it works for you as well. If you would like to read about how I let go and was able to forgive my father, check out this post.