On saying it out loud

topics:
Forgiveness

There’s this thing I’d like to talk about. Is it ok if I get right to the point?

We remember that God tells us to forgive but we are hurt, so hurt, and say no, maybe later. Maybe later I’ll forgive, because it hurts too much right now.

And then we go about our day with an undercurrent of sadness whisping around and acting as a dark black ribbon running through everything we do. Everything I do.

I don’t recognize it at first. I just think maybe I’m down, maybe I’m anxious because of this or that coming up. Maybe I’m cranky because I haven’t eaten or slept enough. I always find something to explain it away.

But if I stop and pray, I know there’s no physical reason. There’s nothing on the to-do list that *really*, in my heart of hearts is causing these feelings. There’s something I can’t shake, this dark, not-so-dark-I’d-notice-yet-dark-just-the-same, kinda dark rain cloud that won’t leave, is calling to me to pay it attention.

And as I pray, I ask God to reveal what that dark cloud is. What’s going on? What hanging over my head?

And I hear that voice in my head, my God voice, and it says “my beloved, you need to forgive her.

I balk and decide the God voice is just my mind playing tricks.

But I don’t believe that either.

Forgive her. It will set you free.

I wonder if it could be true, if just by speaking out that I forgive her, for all of it, if that will bring me freedom from this now piling high list of issues I can’t shake.

I step out in faith, because I do believe and I want to believe and so I do it. I speak it, I make it so with my words to God and I feel something physically release. I spoke forgiveness. I forgave her right there alone in my car in that parking lot that was so tiny and the rain outside kept me hidden and I did it. I forgave her.

And then it’s like suddenly I can breathe deep. Big deep breathes are coming and going and I realize I never noticed I’d been holding my soul-breath all this time. I wasn’t breathing. Now I am.

I feel lighter and peaceful and like eternity just shifted in that one tiny spotlight that was shining on that one tiny thing. It no longer hid in the darkness, I no longer held onto it. I was completely set free and I almost couldn’t believe it.

And I realized – it has REAL power when I forgive. No it’s not just for the other person (they might not even know!) and really, it’s not just for me. I think that’s limited thinking.

It’s also for Jesus and for my soul, to set my sould free, which can only have a ripple effect that just might reach my husband and then my children. They, too, will get to experience my freedom because they are a part of me.

God wants us to step into that freedom, to taste what it’s like, to breath for the first time.

Do you have someone you need to forgive out loud?

***
By Arianne

 

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  1. 2

    Such a beautiful truth. Thank you!

  2. 3

    Thanks for this, Arianne – your honesty is like fresh air. I lost my grandmother two weeks ago and in a sense, I need to forgive her out loud for leaving (and even as I type that, I hear myself saying internally, “In time, in time…”) But in any case, thanks for the reminder of what lies on the other side.

  3. 4

    so good.

    I need to read this once a week.

  4. 7

    Unforgiveness is the hulking beast at the bottom of the inky black sea, who wraps its tentacles around our hearts, strangles our hopes, dreams and our capacity to love as it pulls us to a deep, dark and bitter place.

    Only through consciously deciding to let go of our hurt, to truly forgive, does the beast lose its grip on us and allow us to break free and rise again to fully live and love another day.

    Thanks for the reminder of the real and enduring power of forgiveness.

  5. 10

    Amen, Arianne!! There is *so much power* in forgiveness and we do not know how much good it does to our spirits. Thank you for this reminder, and the incredible truth behind it.

  6. 11

    What a beautiful, timely reminder, thank you! As I read your words, I spoke words of forgiveness out loud..and immediately felt relieved and refreshed. My challenge is forgiving myself as readily as I forgive others…and I understand again/still, that forgiving myself is in essence opening to *divine*. So wonderful, thank you!

  7. 12

    If there was ever a final push for me to forgive someone and to say it to her this is it. I have a friend that said something very hurtful and I thought hateful when my husband was going through chemo. It probably didn’t even occur to her that it was mean. Anyway, I had forgiven her in my heart. Yet, I have seen other messages or scriptures regarding forgiveness and it always comes to mind. Just forgiving in my heart is not enough. Now this. Going to call her right now.

  8. 13

    I don’t know what it is about saying something out loud (or writing it down) that gives it power. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  9. 15

    It’s amazing how what God is teaching me lines up with (in)courage posts so often! Here is my blog on 5 practical ways to love your enemies.. something God has been hammering home in me recently. http://bethyherself.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/5-practical-ways-to-love-your-enemies/

  10. 16

    Question – it’s necessary to forgive someone for hurts to me, but it doesn’t mean I need to continue friendship,right?

    • 17
      Tracy in NJ says:

      Ideally, forgiveness and reconciliation would go hand in hand. However that is not always, nor in some cases should it be the case. I believe you may have some degree of reconciliation but still not forgive. OR you may sincerely forgive but reconciliation is not possible. Just speaking from my own experience may I suggest you examine your own heart to be sure to not hide behind a lack of reconciliation with a big burden of unforgiveness still in your heart. Ask for God’s discernment. .. He has promised us he will give it:

      If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. –Matthew 7:11

    • 18

      Not at all! In my experience, it doesn’t even mean you have to say it out loud *to them*. Speaking words is hugely powerful. I think of the power of saying out loud “in the name of Jesus” and am reminded of how the spoken word somehow holds huge weight in the spiritual realm. God doesn’t ask us to remain in those bad relationships, but I believe He does as us to be free from the pain of them, through forgiveness. Blessings to you, Sarita.

      • 19
        Anonymous says:

        Thank you both. I don’t think God wants u in relationships that are not healthy for us.

  11. 20

    To the girlfriend who decided we shouldn’t be friends anymore, I forgive you. I recognize that despite all my efforts to be the kind of friend you wanted me to be, I didn’t meet your expectations. Whether timing, personalities, or maturity we are still sisters-in-Christ and I love you and wish the best for you. I choose not to ignore you, but will send a Christmas card and forgive you for the hurtful way you’ve treated me. In time maybe the Lord can redeem our broken friendship.

  12. 22

    Arianne – you’ve capture it. One of my favorite quotes of all time is Anne Lamott’s about how choosing not to forgive is like swallowing a vial of rat poison, then waiting for the rat to die. And we do it all the time. Just hold that poison inside… and it gets worse when something happens and we CAN’T tell them anymore. So glad you’re urging us to be free today. I’m going to sit and look at where that needs to happen next.

    On a totally random note, they’ve got your twitter handle wrong here. Tried to follow the link and it pointed to @ToThink instead of you, who I did eventually find :)

  13. 24

    Forgiveness can seem so complicated. But the cross makes it as simple … Just say it out loud. How healing.

  14. 25
    Tracy in NJ says:

    I so struggle with unforgiveness even though I know it puts a big ole wall up right between me and my God who I yearn for. Thank you for this reminder (my fourth in a week–Thank you Jesus for Your persistence with this slow learner!)
    To the mentor who hurt me by a selfish and greedy act: You are so much more than this one thing that I have allowed to grow large in my own mind. You have taught me so much and helped me through so many storms of life. I have loved you for years and forgive you for what you did. I ask God to bless you richly and pray for your peace.

  15. 26

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post today!
    The one person I find the hardest to forgive is myself, for some reason everyone else gets mercy and grace… but I can’t seem to let myself go. Why is that? I’m so hard on myself. It’s time I’m as kind to myself as I am to everyone else I know.

    • 27

      Lisa, I have been there – I totally know what you mean. For me, it was shame at the root of that type of unforgiveness. I had to find the source of that shame, ask God for healing, close the door on anything bad/evil that might still have the foothold to torment me, forgive those involved in the shaming and it was then that I was set free. Peace to you, sister. xo

  16. 28

    Wow, did I need to read this today! I have spent all morning mentally composing pointed, and sometimes heated, memos to employees whose attitudes were not very pleasing recently. (Thank you, Lord, for this reminder to forgive before I respond. Help be to respond with loving truth.) And thanks, Arianne, for the timely reminder. Acting on it has released my weekend from mental strife!

  17. 29

    Wow, did I need to read this today! I have spent all morning mentally composing pointed, and sometimes heated, memos to employees whose attitudes were not very pleasing recently. (Thank you, Lord, for this reminder to forgive before I respond. Help me to respond with loving truth.) And thanks, Arianne, for the timely reminder. Acting on it has released my weekend from mental strife!

  18. 30

    God sends just what we need when we need it. Thank you for being so open and letting God use you to touch my heart.

  19. 31
    Amber Kemp says:

    Pinned this so I can reference this often. Beautiful truth.

  20. 32
    Beth Williams says:

    The spoken word does hold huge weight and consequences. I’m reading the Bible Study “Power of a Woman’s Words”. It is amazing to realize how our words or the way we sa them can affect people around us.

    I need to forgive my parents. It’s nothing they did–just that my dad is older and widowed for 3 years now. His ailments and how he handles them can drive me crazy. I’ve been super stressed between him and work for a few months now. Today I can finally breath and enjoy life once again.

    Dad I forgive you and love you. I want the best for you! :)

  21. 33

    Could I ask a different sort of question that this post raises for me?

    This has been a difficult year for me. Exactly 20 years ago I betrayed a friend in high school and I lost a friendship that meant very much to me; she had introduced me to Christ and was a phenomenal role model as how to be a Christian. I apologized profusely to her (in person and in writing) repeatedly over the next five years, but she shunned me and never gave an explicit forgiveness. To be clear, I’m not seeking a rubberstamp of forgiveness or a mere formality of forgiveness to absolve my sins.

    However, I still reel with the guilt and pain of what I did; simply thinking about it still stings. I regret that I lost an incredible role model and friendship, especially one who brought me to Christ.

    I understand that I learnt a lesson the hard way about how to treat people and ever since have been conscious to treat others with kindness, honesty and gentleness. Yet, I always have a terrible sinking feeling when someone tells me that they see me as a person of great integrity because I know I sinned terribly 20 years ago.

    My question is how do those of us who’ve asked for forgiveness but been refused it move forward?

    • 34

      Oh LB.. I am so sorry to hear about your experience.. so painful and so rejecting. One thing that struck me was that it sounds like maybe you need to forgive yourself for this. You hold up your sweet friend as a role model Christian, yet she did not extend forgiveness and grace to you. That’s not to judge her, but to say that perhaps the situation required more maturity and grace than she was capable of giving at that point in her walk. I pray God that you would help LB to forgive herself. Help her to allow herself to have been that high school student who didn’t know any better. Help her to give that girl she was GRACE and forgiveness. Let her receive YOUR grace to know she’s been forgiven by you and she is now free of her past. Amen.

  22. 35

    It’s so hard to understand forgiveness until we actually do it! By releasing others, we actually release ourselves. In recent months, God has taught me so much about what His commands look like in real life and how Biblical forgiveness is played out in the day to day. How do we forgive ‘seventy times seven’ times? I recently wrote about what it means for me at http://jenniechastain.blogspot.com/. Thank you for this post!

  23. 36

    The deeper the hurt, the harder it is to forgive…and the more I need to forgive again and again, because I tend to pick the hurt back up and hold onto it again.

  24. 37
    Jennifer says:

    WOW, you wrote that just for me today!!!!
    Well, I know you didn’t, but it sure felt like it was delivered right to me today.
    Wow again.
    Yes, I needed to forgive my coworker. it is eating me alive. Need to let it go. I’m praying that I will trust God to open my heart – not wide enough to get stepped on, but to let Jesus shine out. AMEN!
    THANK YOU!

  25. 38

    I have been going through a situation over the last year that required me to forgive. Its a very accurate analogy of the soul being able to breathe again once you forgive that person! Its so freeing! (IN)courage has been such a blessing to me during this time!

  26. 39

    Thanks Arianne. Very interesting post. For me personally there are many important nuances in “forgiveness”.

    To name a few (again for me personally):
    - Sometimes with larger issues it can take months or years to fully forgive
    - Forgiveness can sometimes be an escape from addressing the issue head on
    - Forgiveness needs to come after acceptance. We need to accept that things have occurred and affected us.
    - Forgiveness can be hard to decipher from ‘ignoring the issue’

    Forgiveness often times doesn’t have to mean saying that what someone did was ok, but you free yourself from the need to act out in retaliation. You recognize what they did, understand it for what it is and move on. You realize that people have flaws and make mistakes. You say I understand and move forward.

  27. 40

    Arianne, this resonates deep within so many of our hearts. I just loved the words you used to capture exactly how it can feel, that holding in of our soul-breath, until the words of forgiveness finally leave our lips and float away. I am bookmarking this as a “reread” for sure! Thank you for this reminder.

  28. 41

    So encouraging, Arianne. Thank you.

  29. 42

    Cue conviction…

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