Words of Hope: Power Tool

Forgiveness requires discernment and wisdom for it to bring healing. Forgiveness can happen through the power of the written word, a glance, a touch, a look. Dad believed the more significant the trauma and offense, the more work, the more wisdom, the mentoring, and the more intentional work necessary to move out of bitterness and into healing. He believed one effective practice to jumpstart the journey of forgiveness was to write a letter you will not send to a person. It helps to get the intensity of the emotions out on paper and provides an opportunity to examine how much toxicity the words hold: how much criticism, blame, anger and contempt.

Deep levels of trauma, abuse, and injury take time to heal. Just like recovering from a massive car accident takes time for the body to heal, the soul and spirit need time. We do ourselves a grave disservice assuming forgiveness should be instantaneous.

Forgiveness can be an exhausting process. My mom often equates navigating grief revealed from forgiveness work to the layers of an onion. She says, “You get through one layer, stop crying, and the next layer comes. Sometimes there are months or years in-between layers. You are surprised when new experiences of bitterness emerge after all the work you have done to walk through the forgiveness process.”

There are many helpful ways we can learn to forgive others: confessing to a mentor, writing in journals, prayer, meditation, sand tray, singing, laughing, exercising, artistic expression, exercise, retreats, counseling, EMDR, spiritual journeys, reconciliation ceremonies, to name a few.

One of the most significant ways to experience true forgiveness of those who have harmed us is to learn to ask forgiveness of those we harm. As we seek to be forgiven, we find more generosity of heart; we find more compassion; we find the face of Love and the miracle of grace.

For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:15