#Askingforafriend: Forgiveness and grief, Part 2
By Kristan Farley
GCU Office of Student Care
As a reminder from last week, forgiveness is similar to the stages of grief. Forgiveness does not mean it is OK, it means what you did was not OK but I choose to release you for my own healing and freedom.
Forgiveness is a choice to stop ruminating or replaying the event over and over. Forgiveness is a choice to stop resenting the offender. It is a choice to not retaliate.
Forgiveness is between you and God so your heart can be free. Here are some important steps to the forgiveness process you can journal:
Acknowledge the following:
When you _____________. (state what happened)
I felt _____________. (anger, pain, shame, guilt, fear)
I had the thought that ______________. (I am not enough, I am not important, I am bad, I am alone, etc.)
But now I want to challenge those thoughts and not allow what you did to speak to my identity anymore because I know my true Identity is not how your action made me feel but who God says I am. I choose to believe__________________________. (I am enough, I am loved, I am not alone, I have value, I am worthy of love and compassion, etc.)
I choose to release you, stop ruminating and not retaliate against you so my heart can be free.
What I want or need is__________________________________. I am going to find a healthy way to get that need or want met. I may need to set a boundary for future interactions.
You find freedom when you refuse to be a victim, get stuck in blame or wait for others to take care of your feelings. You become powerful when you are responsible for your feelings and take steps to heal and restore your heart.
Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation. If the person was abusive or doesn’t take ownership, it is not always safe to reconcile. Forgiveness is to free your own heart. Reconciliation is to mend the relationship and only happens if both parties are capable of reconciling.
For further reading on forgiveness:
“Forgive for Good” by Fred Luskin
“Don’t Forgive Too Soon,” by Dennis Linn