Forgiveness can be a tough thing to do, but it is necessary. I know from experience that it can be tough to forgive when things happen that we feel we don't deserve.
My first experience with forgiveness was with my father. I grew up in a dysfunctional household, where I witnessed first-hand abuse and addiction. It was painful because I longed for a healthy upbringing and a healthy relationship with my father during that time. It took time to forgive my father for the things I went through growing up and the wounds afterward.
For many years, I held a lot inside. As I got older, my perspective shifted, and my heart changed. The turning point was in 2008, after arguing with my dad. Shortly after, the Holy Spirit told me that I needed to be the bigger person. At that moment, I was hurt, angry, and upset, but the most remarkable thing I felt was love. I knew that I wanted things to be different, so I allowed the Holy Spirit to lead me.
Years went by without me ever talking to my father about how I felt or about the things that happened. I knew that I needed to have a conversation with him, but I didn’t know how to go about doing that. One day, I found the courage to open up about everything. After that conversation, I felt the weight of things I had been carrying for years lift.
I believe that opening up and talking about my feelings and what happened to me put me on the path to healing and forgiveness. Being open to forgive helped me accept what happened, accept how I felt, and realize that I needed healing.
By choosing to forgive, I learned that I wasn't excusing what happened; I freed myself from the past, allowing healing to take place for my father and me.
Along the way, I've also learned that there's no specific way to forgive, and the process of forgiveness will be different for everyone. I've had to seek God about what forgiveness is and what the process is for me.
The progress that I've made didn't happen overnight. My process is an everyday process of choosing to forgive, love, and be at peace.
By choosing to pray for my father, I surrender the situation to God, which helps me empathize with my father. It helps me see that he wasn't able to be the father that I needed and wanted him to be at that time because of his struggles and lack of knowledge about certain things.
For a long time, I blamed myself for my father's actions towards me. God helped me to forgive my father and forgive myself. Now, I realize that I am not what happened to me, nor were the circumstances my fault. It happened to me, but it doesn't define who I am or where I'm heading.
I'm grateful for my past experiences and how much I've learned about forgiveness.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15