Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The work of forgiveness 11

I'd like to stay in step 4, where you have given your burden of forgiveness to the Lord and are waiting on and trusting in him.

I have found that interesting things can happen during this step, when I know what I have given him and already am feeling some relief from the burden of needing to be angry and hurt.

Sometimes, another couple of things the person has done will come to my mind. These may be underlying larger issues that I had not been conscious of while I was focused on the more immediate, specific problems. When this is the case, I don't chastise myself for not thinking of these things in the earlier steps. Rather, I thank God for bringing them to my mind or helping me become aware of them. And then I simply add them to the other things I have placed before God and entrusted to him.

Another thing that can happen is that I begin to see the person differently. I might remember that they have had a tough life, or a difficult childhood. I may think about their current struggles. Maybe there are family issues. Maybe health issues. Maybe they have emotional problems or mental health issues. Perhaps they are unaware of how they affect others in general. They might believe they have to prove themselves to everyone. Do they have problems at work? Are they out of work? Perhaps they are under great stress. They may have suffered a loss or are lonely. In this step, I often begin to feel compassion for the person and the issues they are facing, even if those issues are self-created.

This can lead to gaining a sense of the reasons the person may have had for doing what they did. It doesn't mean I need to agree what they did was good. It doesn't change their actions or the effects their actions had on me and others. But it might help me to understand what made sense to them.

In this step I sometimes get a sense of how God sees this person, and also of how God sees me. That is always helpful.

Leave room in step four for God to show you whatever he wants. Do not be surprised at the directions in which he takes you. When new insights come to your mind, take time to consider why you are being shown what you are. Be open.

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