A billionaire collected live alligators. (Billionaires have strange hobbies.) He kept them in the pool at the back of his mansion. He decided to throw a party, and during the party announced, “I will give twenty-million dollars or the vice-presidency in my company to the man who can swim across this pool full of alligators. “
Suddenly there was a loud splash. The crowd cheered a man on as he made it to the other side unharmed. The billionaire said, “That was incredible! I didn’t think it could be done! Do you want the the vice-presidency or the money?”
The guy says, I just want the person who PUSHED me into the WATER!!!
Who pushed you into your pit of alligators?
We all have hurts. People who have abused, betrayed, or cursed us.
How can we learn to forgive?
The first thing to decide: do we want revenge more than forgiveness? Do you prefer hurting more than healing? Sometimes we don’t want to be emotionally free from the pain of the past.
Forgiveness begins with God’s strength. Your ability to forgive comes from having experienced the forgiveness of God.
Jesus teaches us the process of forgiveness in Luke 6:27-28 ”But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
First: Do you want revenge more than forgiveness? Do I prefer hurting more than healing? Some people do not want to emotionally free themselves from their hurt.
Choose to love the one who hurt you. Love is not a warm fuzzy. It is an act of the will. It is making a choice not to live in the prison of pain.
Secondly, “Love your enemies”. Forgiveness cannot occur until you become clear about how you have been hurt and how it has effected you. It can’t be just glossed over. To fully forgive we have to face the sadness and the anger of the hurt.
Thirdly, pray for your enemy. Praying for your enemy is to seek the best for them. Praying that God will bring good things into their lives. That God will give them the special blessings He has for them.
Fourthly, Jesus says, “Bless those who have hurt you.” To bless is to speak. What are some of the good qualities of your enemy? What can you say that is kind?
Fifthly, do good things for those who have hurt you. The first kind act toward your offender will be the hardest. Once you are free to do acts of kindness then the pain of hurt no longer controls you. You no longer are a victim.
Forgiveness is not easy. In fact we need a strength beyond our own to forgive. It is normal to go through the process several times.
One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. , “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
Blessings on your forgiveness journey.