- Has someone treated you like a throwaway — a parent? a spouse? The loss of acceptance.
- Have you grieved the loss of a child or other dear one? The loss of what could have been.
- Have you turned to an addiction to cope? The loss of dignity.
Wholeness blesses your mind, body, and soul. The One who blesses gives you grace and goodness. This wholeness comes in new, fresh ways of living beyond your broken heart: not just surviving day by day but living life to its utmost, overflowing.
Hasn’t loss messed with your plans? Don’t you need practical, hands-on hope?
This is the eight post in the four-week series, “Mending a Broken Heart” blog series. On Tuesday: a BONUS post and book giveaway. Keep your eye out for it. You won’t want to miss the chance to win Kc’s book and sign up for my FREE webinar “Hands-On Hope for Life’s Losses.”
Choosing to Forgive
Kc lived loss. Her parents gave her to her aunt and uncle at age 2. She cried. Through childhood and beyond, she ached for love, desiring a hug and an “I love you” in her new, cold home. She first tried to win their approval and love. Later she drowned her pain in men and work and vodka.
On her healing journey, Kc finally asked her mom about her life. She learned that her mom was married at age 15 to Kc’s dad, Albert, a bar owner. She became pregnant at 16 and, “like bullets shot out of a gun,” there were five children.
After I’d talked with Mom, I remembered, ‘Honor your father and your mother that you may have a long, good life in the land the Lord you God will give you’ (Exodus 20:12, TLB).
The Lord told me, ‘Forgive her.’
I did and started calling or writing her every month.
God’s plan for me had taken a bend in the road. Even though I had been given away, Mom could have aborted me. She chose life for me.
I don’t remember hugging her until I was sixty-eight and Mom eighty-eight. It was sweet–me on my knees, Mom in her wheelchair. I received that hug, first and last. I never saw her again. Mom passed away a few months later.”
How to Forgive a Deep Wound
Doesn’t forgiveness seem like you’re letting the other person off the hook? That you may be denying your pain?
Forgiveness in a pivotal stepping stone on the pathway to wholeness. Easy? No. Never.
A wound brings on an assortment of emotions: anger, fear, love, grief, jealousy, happiness. Think of a circumstance that wounded you. This circumstance brings on an inner emotional response. What emotion do you connect with the pain? Your emotion triggers a response.
When Kc felt abandoned by her parents (the circumstance), she felt sad (her emotion). Her initial response was to cry. As she grew older, she tried to please her aunt and uncle (her emotion: fear). This response to her pain didn’t mend her wound either. After high school, she married and became a mom, driven by a fear she was unlovable. To assuage her painful emotions — primarily fear, sadness, and anger — she drank booze to numb.
At last — about 20 years after she became a believer in the Lord Jesus — Kc sought her mom, who had rejected her, and forgave her.
While there’s no easy formula to forgiveness, this act of grace requires two choices: to think right and to act right.
1. Think Right
Emotions flow from our thoughts. The Bible teaches us to “to take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to renew our minds as we consider God’s mercy (Romans 12:2). As God reveals that our thinking does not line up with his, as revealed in scripture, you and I must repent (or, feel sorry for out sin and change direction).
Where your deep wound lies you’ll often find sinful emotions that led from sinful thoughts. You may think that your relative or even God was unfair, even evil. Consider your thoughts and emotions in light of scripture.
Feel angry? You may want your goals more than you desire God’s. Afraid? You may lack trust in God’s ability or goodness to help you. Sad? You may have allowed confusion to supplant God’s truth in your heart. Open your Bible and read passages that apply to your circumstance. Don’t know where to begin? Read the Gospel of John or Philippians. Ask God to open your heart to the truths he wants you to see.
2. Act Right
True repentance requires a willingness to follow God’s will. God’s will regarding forgiveness is clear: Forgive. Listen.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have again one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Think about it. When Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and became sin on the cross and died than rose again, he not only defeated death, he also showed that forgiveness is possible and best. Jesus died for every sin–past, present, and future. His forgiveness extends to adulterers and murderers, liars and child abusers, rapists and serial killers. . .to whomever believes on the Lord Jesus and receives the gift of salvation.
Kc achieved heart wholeness and healing when she accepted God’s forgiveness for her sins and then lived the Christian life, extending the grace of forgiveness to others, including her mom.
Isn’t there someone you need to forgive? Don’t you need God’s grace to forgive?
Kc was brought up in the church but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus until after her second divorce. She told the Lord in prayer, weeping and clutching her uncle’s Bible: “I’ve made such a mess of my life doing it my may. I forgot how much you love me. Forgive me.” God gave her the strength to pen a memoir and the hope to guide those who are hurting and without hope to the Mender of Broken Hearts.
Kc is married and lives in Washington State. She is a grandmother and the mom of two adult sons, one of whom died of cancer and is now with the Lord.
A Few Questions
1. Who do you need to forgive? Write down their names.
2. What do you lose when you forgive? What do you gain?
3. Are you willing to forgive the person or people who wounded you? If yes, forgive them now. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean that the other person’s actions were okay. Let God handle it. He can. He will.