Have you ever had to forgive someone? Not your run-of-the-mill offense, but something really tough? When we are kids parents instruct us on how to say sorry and then to respond with "I forgive you." While the process is a great one to teach, it can send the message that forgiveness is easy. All you have to do is say it and that completes it. But as adults we know that that isn't the case. It has taken me a decade of years to come to the conclusion that forgiveness is a process. A long one at that depending on the circumstances. What makes it so difficult? There are a myriad of reasons. If the wound is deep. If the apology is insincere. If there is no apology at all. And the list could go on.
I have read a lot of books on forgiveness in the past ten years or so. It has been my goal to forgive. To be a person of grace. It hasn't come easy. And sometimes it doesn't mean that there is always reconciliation. But there is freedom in arriving at a place of forgiveness and letting it go. Recently, I read Suzanne Eller's book
The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness and gleaned so much from its pages.
Suzanne does something different in her book that I haven't seen in others. She goes through the different words for forgiveness that are used in the Old and New Testament. She talks about what it means to salach forgive or to aphiemi forgive. I had no idea there are so many aspects to forgiveness. When we forgive we do so many actions:
-We surrender to God
-We get out of the debt collecting business
-We give our shame to God
-We allow God to be angry for us
I think one of the biggest truths I reaped from her book is that God meets us right where we are in the forgiveness process. We don't have to fret about that we aren't as far along as we had hoped. He meets us there and carries us through. We need to give ourselves grace that as we continue to heal and work towards the goal of forgiveness that we will eventually make it. We need to lean into Him because it is from Him that we get the strength to forgive. Forgiveness is a God thing. Not a human being thing. No wonder it can be so difficult without His help.
I highly recommend Suzanne's book. You can also check out her blog for more on forgiveness and encouragement for women.