Of all the hoops and hurdles that we, as the betrayed, must face head on – forgiveness is probably one of the more challenging and weighted parts of the process.
Early on in my marriage with Jason, he opened the door into his secret world, told me a couple of things and then shut and locked the door tight.
My solution? Forgiveness.
I believed that if I could just forgive Jason and move on – the marriage would heal and we could live our happily ever after.
Obviously – I was wrong. And as the weeds of bitterness started to grow in my heart – I realized that forgiveness was not quick, was not easy and was not simple as I had always thought. Nor would forgiveness magically heal my marriage.
Oh the power I gave forgiveness.
To be clear – forgiveness IS powerful. And it works. But it doesn’t take away pain and grief nor is it the sole silver bullet we can use to heal our marriages.
I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness over the last 16 years, not only from my own personal experience but also while walking alongside others that are working the process. For that – I am grateful.
Below is a letter written to my younger self in regards to forgiveness. These are the things I wish I could have told myself back then.
Dear Me – I know you want to do the right thing and forgive Jason quickly – isn’t that what any noble and good Christian wife would choose? I know you want to push the pain down and not have to grieve. I know you want to move on from this nightmare and pretend like none of this ever happened.
To you, forgiveness would take all of this away. You could forgive Jason (for what exactly, you’re not sure) and then you could move on. Just skip over this mess that has become your life.
Please hear me say – this quick and easy forgiveness isn’t the way to go. If you are using forgiveness to circumvent the grieving process and to push it all under the rug – don’t do it.
Listen. Look in my eyes. Hear me say – forgiveness WILL come. You don’t need to panic. God equipped you with His power to do the forgiveness work. But first, you must sit in the pain. You must feel the feels. That in and of itself is a big part of the forgiveness journey – being true to how you feel and sitting in it.
You will hear people say – “you just need to forgive him” and it’s going to make you feel dumb. But you aren’t dumb. Forgiveness is for you and it’s a gift from God. He will help you get there.
The road will be slow for you. And it will be messy. You won’t fully understand how forgiveness works when you are ready to take that leap of faith. You will have your doubts. But God will make it really really clear when the time comes to take that leap of faith. Your job is to trust in Him.
And as you press into your big yes of forgiveness, you will experience a Kairos moment – where heaven and earth collide. Forgiveness will be an act of worship, an act of obedience, as you intentionally let Jason out of the prison cell of your heart.
Try not to panic when you wake up a couple of days later after your big yes and you feel resentment…again. It’s not that you didn’t do it right. It’s just that forgiveness is a process. You will continue to go back to that holy ground and forgive again and again and again (not for repeated offenses but for all the past offenses).
Forgiveness will draw you closer to God. It will humble you. It will remind you that you need Jesus.
In the end, you will have a new found respect for forgiveness. You will see how it has worked in your life – how it has set you free. You will also see that it takes sitting in the pain and grieving. You will see that it doesn’t mean the pain is gone or that the relationship has been restored. You will see that it’s mysterious and something that can’t be accomplished by human hearts alone.
So go now. Grieve. Get comfy in it. Cry a river of tears. And be at peace that it will happen in due time.
Will you Join me?
I am so looking forward to the Hope Rising Conference in Austin, TX on October 12th. You can click here for more information and to register for the conference.