A Plan to Fight Unforgiveness


I realize, that some folks will not need the suggestions I will be putting here, and are adept at forgiving.  They can simply forgive.  For whatever reason, they are blessed with the ability to forgive easily.  They can take a hurt to God, forgive the event, and that is that.

I am hoping I get to that place.

For me, it's taking something different to let go of some things.  Either the hurts were too strong, or are too old, or have grown to large for me to know how to simply say, "I forgive that" and let it go.

I needed to look deeper into the "how" of it and use what works for me.  That is what I'm sharing today.

Yesterday's post gave a lead up to today's.

So, this is how I am working Step Four and using it to facilitate my learning and ability to forgive.

I've mentioned my list of names.  I also have things other than names.  I had problems with one of the schools I attended and needed to sue them to get my disability rights so I could graduate.  The school has changed from one with strong Jewish roots, to one that is so extraordinarily liberal, the Christians in the school are, in many ways, persecuted for their beliefs.  That school is on my list.  So, it might be an institution you need to forgive, or a group of people ... Or, or, or ... It doesn't matter.  

We are still called to forgive.

In order to fully deal with these issues, I went online and found a printable handout that would help facilitate my forgiveness process.  (There are a number of other things in this handout … but I just used the sheet for resentments and hurts.  There are references back to the A.A. Big Book,  You can find online versions of it here, if you are interested in reading a bit more.)

It is, I believe, a unique way of looking at our hurts - and it's based on A.A. concepts, right out of what alcoholics call "The Big Book."  There is a LOT of wisdom in that book - wisdom that is Godly wisdom.  The originators of the 12-steps were Christians - and formed a group called The Oxford Group - which was the beginning of the 12 step process.  

The form has a place for the names of the people and things we need to forgive.  The next column is kind of interesting.

It asks what part of us was hurt by that event.

I'd never, ever thought of looking at it that way before.

The categories areas:

Self-esteem - the way I view myself

Pride - how I think others see me

Pocketbook - basic desire for money, things, possessions

Personal Relations -  our relationship with other people

Ambitions - our personal goals, plans and designs for the future

Emotional Security - our general sense of well-being

Sex relations - our desire for intimacy

I found it interesting to go through my list of names and stop to think about exactly what part of "me" was hurt in the different events.  I began to see a pattern developing.  You might, too.

Then, the challenging part.

Was there any way in which I contributed to what happened to me?  This is the place for brutal honesty.  In A.A., it's sometimes called "owning your own side of the street."  

In some of the past events, I was truly a victim.  Or so I thought.  At, least, I was at the time with what I knew then.  In many events, fear ruled the day.  I was often to afraid to stand up for myself or to walk away.  I stayed in situations way too long.  In most every place where I was holding on to a grudge, I played some part in the outcome.

Even when I was raped at 19 - I had put myself in a precarious place and at some level, I knew that.  

My basic response to life events?  Do nothing and let them happen around me.  I learned this from working this step.

It's hard to own up to our own part.  But necessary.  It takes us out of black and white thinking.  No one is ALL bad or ALL good.  We each have components of both.  None of us are sinless.  

Somehow, realizing that makes it easier for me to forgive. To put it aside.  To put things behind me.  To let go.  I'm not gonna pretend it's easy.  I think the first part, and perhaps the hardest part is becoming willing to forgive.  Seeing the need to forgive - and bringing it before God and asking Him to help us through this part of our journey to wholeness.

I'm not gonna pretend my whole slate is wiped clean as far as holding grudges.  I'm working on it.  

I asking God for help.  I'm asking him to help me realize that the people who hurt me were, most often, not His followers - though at times they were.

I remind myself that they are spiritually-ill people who are doing the best they can - even when it's not very good.

I tell myself that their need for God is as great as mine - and that the best thing I can do for them is to let go.

There is a quote from the A.A. Big Book that really helped me.

"We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.  Though we did not like their symptoms and the way they disturbed us, they, like ourselves were sick, too."

Who am I to condemn?

Especially when no one can condemn me in God's eyes.  (Romans 8:33)

And I promised you something else.  Something that will take another post it seems:

Forgiving ourselves when we feel we have done the unforgivable, or we are not worth being forgiven - or loved.

Father God, Thank you for your amazing example of loving us even when we are unlovable, forgiving us when we feel unforgivable and unforgiving.  Help us to, day by day, learn to walk as Jesus walked - in love and forgiveness.  Amen and amen.

 © deni weber 2010-2015