Forgiving (Yourself) is Living!

If you’re like me, you think a lot about forgiveness and you work hard to forgive other people for their perceived wrongs. 

I say “perceived” because when I get all resentful and righteously angry over somebody doing me wrong, I forget that the somebody in question is doing the best he or she can do in the particular moment that the great injustice toward me occurred.  And even if the offender is not offering me her best, who am I to judge?  I’m not skipping around in her shoes.  For all I know, there could be a sharp-edged rock lodged in her Size 9s that is causing her general pissiness.

Forgiveness is everything to me as a sober woman and as a godly woman.  It is one of the greatest gifts I give myself and also one of my biggest challenges.  If only I could more regularly practice the affirmative statement in today’s Daily Word

I forgive from my heart and enrich all my relationships.

But my heart has been crushed too many times . . . so it can be easier to stay angry instead of letting go of the resentment and loving instead.  In my 12-step work, we say, “hate the disease, love the alcoholic.”  Can we not transform that statement into “dislike (I REALLY dislike the word “hate”) the behavior, love the person anyway.”?

Even writing that last sentence makes my left eye twitch.  There is a person in my life right now that I really don’t want to love.  Today the best I can do is bless her when I think of her and ask God to help me with the forgiveness thing.

God knows I need help.

If only I could flip a switch and make the entire ugly mess disappear.  No can do, though, but I can say a prayer.

In fact, I can say (with as little or as much feeling as I want) the world’s shortest prayer of surrender:

Okay, God, whatever. 

The Surrender prayer helps me eliminate my biggest threat to forgiveness:  myself.

Forgiving myself for my behavior is the worst.  I have to stop second-guessing, beating myself up and in general mistreating myself when I harness the Resenting Me horse.  I have to stop allowing harsh words that describe me come out of my mouth.  I have to eliminate “o-u” words from my vocabulary–words like “should, would, could” and “ought.”

The biggest piece that I have to stop?  I have to stop allowing myself to believe that there is nothing I can do because there is.

I can make a decision and then take action.

The six-step action looks like this:

  1. Surrender (with the world’s shortest prayer or any other you choose).
  2. Pray the second coolest prayer I know, “Please show me (fill in the blank).”
  3. Become willing to receive direction (or maybe action step 2.5 is to become willing to be willing).
  4. Forgive myself or another.
  5. Say a final prayer of thanks (hard to remember to do when my arm is pulled from its socket trying to pat myself on the back for a job well done).
  6. Celebrate!

Oh yes, I’m a huge proponent of celebrating these not-so-tiny victories.  Why go to the trouble of improving ourselves if we can’t dance a little jig afterwards?

Are you dancing or simply dreaming of forgiving someone or some event?  It matters not to me because I have my own messes to clean up.  But I do hope you’ll consider putting the six-step process in place the next time you find yourself resenting and/or intensely disliking someone in your life. 

They’re there for a reason.  What if that reason were simply to teach you forgiveness?

Hmmmmmm . . . as always, let me know your thoughts and opinions.


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