“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” These words were spoken by Mahatma Gandhi. The reality is he couldn't have been more right. I was moved the other day after reading the word forgiveness that got me to thinking about all the people in my lifetime I've had to forgive. How many times have you stayed mad at someone for hurting you only to find out the energy consuming your heart and mind is no where near reciprocated by the offending party. The other person has often times moved on while the resent in your heart has lingered. Whether hurt has come from a friend, a family member, co-worker, etc, there is freedom in forgiveness and I am here to encourage someone, to release someone from the hate and bitterness consuming them today.
For me the biggest person I had to forgive was my biological mother. For the longest time I didn't understand why she didn't want me. At about 20 years old, I found my biological family including my mother. After I found them, I learned of so many stories and news. The biggest one was that my mother had a total of 6 kids. 4 of them after I was born. More news that I found out, I was the only one who went into the foster care system and stayed there. This was the most heart breaking news to date. I struggled with this for years. The pain of that knowledge truly caused me to drink and drink ALOT. I felt unwanted before but now...it was next level pain from rejection and feeling unwanted. I hated her for years. I was struggling with something for a woman who probably rarely thought about me. It consumed me. Every year on November 21st, at the strike of midnight, I started off my birthday crying. This carried on till about 21. A shift was coming. I began to pray. Asking God to remove this bitterness and pain in my heart. I began to speak to myself life changing thoughts. I wanted to feel worthy of love. God helped. But I made a conscious decision within myself that I was going to forgive her. I needed to release that energy. Everyday I began speaking those words to a person who was never in front of me. I didn't do it for her. But I did it for me. It almost felt like I needed to convince my mind and my heart of this. I began to feel release. I felt freedom in those actions. For 20+ years, I carried a weight that I no longer intended on carrying. I could write a book on the abusers I have had to forgive in this same manner. Therapy wasn't helpful when I was younger because I wasn't ready to let go for ME! Not for someone else. Some of my abusers I would never see again nor face again. But the hurt lingered until I made the choice that I would no longer allow the abusers and the people who hurt me before to continue to hurt me. This is strength. Coming to the point where I decided, I would no longer relinquish this power to anyone. For you, today could be that day.
Well you could be asking, how do I begin? How do I get to that point? I'm not a mental health professional. I'm not a trained therapist or counselor. I am only sharing my experience as someone who has had deep deep hurts. Some of you may need to speak to a trained counselor. Nevertheless, I pray this can help even the one who may read this. Back to where I was. HOW?! Acknowledge the pain. For me, I pretended for years that sexual abuse didn't happen to me. Acknowledge! After acknowledging your feelings and why you have them, ITS TIME. Cancel the "abusers" or "offenders" debt. This could be in the form of physically writing it down on paper and burning it or just mentally saying you know what I forgive said "person". It's time to remove them of the power they have had over you for way too long. Make a public or personal commitment to forgiving them. This could be something that has to happen everyday until it sticks or it begins to resonate in your heart. A great tool is journaling or writing these things down. These are small action steps that can be as personal as you like or with someone you trust. Their is no one way of dealing with forgiveness and pain but I promise you, on the other end of forgiveness is renewed strength and freedom.
Forgiveness is freedom. Forgiveness is strength. It doesn't remove your experience. It doesn't diminish the hurt done to you. Forgiveness is an act and a choice. Even more so than that, it is a process. Forgiveness is not weakness. It breaks the hold that someone has over you who doesn't deserve to have over you. Forgiveness doesn't wait for the offender to apologize or earn forgiveness. Often times we don't ever get that apology we hope we'd one day get. But it's time. Relinquish back control of your mind and your heart. The most freeing thing I have ever done was forgiven my mother and my abusers. The only one I have physically stood in front of was my mother and 1 of the couple abusers. Forgiveness was never earned but given. I challenge you today. Are you ready for your shift.
Today is your day. Starts with a daily choice to forgive past hurts & new hurts alike. Understand this, there is POWER IN FORGIVENESS. IT BEGINS WITH YOU AND A CHOICE.
I pray you find healing, freedom, release and peace.
Darren J. Morris