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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lessons: Grace & Forgiveness (Part 2)

I've dealt with mounting guilt for missing activities and events, but I need to figure out how to be more gentle with myself. It's not that I want to miss these events. It's out of my control... it's due to a neurological condition.
  • Forgiveness is "to grant pardon for an offense; to cease to feel resentment against."
  • Grace is "favor or goodwill... a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior... mercy; clemency; pardon."
"For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13)

Forgiveness is about releasing your negative emotions and perceptions about painful events. Holding onto anger, resentment, etc. keeps you chained to those people or events. Forgiveness releases us from the heavy burden and tight hold that unresolved negative emotions have on us.

Holding onto unresolved feelings demands our attention and leads us to expend a lot of energy on issues of the past. Forgiveness, of ourselves and others, frees us to live in the present moment.
"The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time.
And that's why when one has become a forgiving person,
and has managed to let go of the past,
what they've really done is they've shifted their relationship with time."
- Caroline Myss
Learning to live in the present moment has become increasingly important for me to learn to do - it's unhealthy to constantly try to live in the past (especially the life I had before chronic migraines), and I'm unable to plan very much for the future because my illness is so unpredictable. So, the present is all I have.
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:12-13)
Forgiveness is also the acceptance of who we are, exactly the way we are. Oh, how terrible I am at this! I am my own worst critic and judge myself in the harshest ways. I know that I need to ease up on myself, which starts with forgiving myself for being so hard on myself in the past. But, forgiveness isn't something that I can just know and say... it can only happen through God's grace. I have the desire to forgive... I have the desire to accept myself exactly how I am... and I will work to fan the flames of these desires, until I really feel it through my very core.
In order to prepare ourselves to forgive (either ourselves or another person), we must find the desire to forgive. We must recognize and accept our feelings, exactly as they are, even as we desire to change them. "Once we have compassion for ourselves, the desire for forgiveness arises within" (from here).
I know that accepting the grace of forgiveness will take time. And, as everything else in life, this will happen according to God's timetable, not my own. I must be patient; and continue to do my best to let go of how I've been in the past, accept the way I am in the present, and choose to be less critical and judgmental of myself and others in the future (being more compassionate and understanding with myself and others).




Lessons Series:

Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 2)
Lessons: From Suffering to Empowered
Lessons: Learning From Life With Chronic Pain
Lessons: Finding Joy

Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 1)
Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 2)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 2)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 3)
Lessons: Grace & Forgiveness (Part 1)
Lessons: Grace & Forgiveness (Part 2)
Lessons: Grace & Forgiveness (Part 3)

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