Monday, 28 September 2015

Unlock the Cage

Forgiveness.  A three syllable word that sits quite easily on the tongue.  Easy to say, even easy to understand.  We hear about it Sunday after Sunday.  We read articles about it in magazines and see talk shows covering it, on television.  There are even "10 Steps to Forgiveness" programs.  Forgiveness is easy to talk about, but doing it is usually extremely difficult.  I, myself battle with this concept.  One of the main reasons we find it so difficult to do, is a belief that it is something which will benefit the offender.  We feel that by forgiving we actually condone the act perpetrated against us, and, that by giving our pardon, we also give them permission to hurt us again.  Yet, that is EXACTLY what forgiveness is NOT!  Those are just the excuses we use to stay locked up in the Cage of Grudges.
In the Cage of Grudges we drink the vial of poison day after day and then wait for the offender to die.
As prisoners in this cage we constantly remind ourselves of what crimes were committed against us and we relive the pain and anguish we suffered.
Daily we eat the dish of bitterness, yet, instead of finishing it, we make sure we replenish it, in order to eat of it again tomorrow.
We keep ourselves trapped in this cage, and wear the victim's uniform.
We stay stuck in this cage, forever in limbo.
Forgiveness has very little to do with the other person, but has everything to do with ourselves.  It is a gift we give ourselves.  Forgiveness is the key which opens the Cage of Grudges.
Once we practise forgiveness, a few surprising things happen:
1. Our spirits are set free, as the shackles of resentment fall away.
2. We experience feelings of elation, and our energy levels improve.
3. Our heart rate and blood pressure improve, and our stress levels drop.
4. We are more receptive to love, and more capable to give love.
5. We are filled with feelings of peace and compassion.
6.  Our relationships with others improve, as well.

Forgiveness means "Letting Go".

On the other side of the coin.  Most of us have the need to be forgiven at some or other point in our lives.  Yet we very seldom experience real forgiveness.  It is a very scarce commodity, therefore it is important to learn to forgive ourselves.  Remember, we are all human, we all make mistakes, therefore, learn from your mistakes.  Admit that you were responsible for the mistake or offense, and be remorseful.  Try to make amends.  Then, forgive yourself.  I have recently experienced the wonder of being forgiven.  I felt humbled by the experience, and I am in awe of the forgiver.  To be truly forgiven by somebody, felt as if a weight lifted off me, as if the rainbow settled on my shoulders for a brief moment.  It made me realize that if it felt so wonderful to be forgiven by a mortal being, how truly amazing is the Lord's forgiveness!

Remember, with every mistake we make we gain knowledge, and very often getting hurt is a life lesson in disguise.

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