Roadblocks to Forgiveness

We want to forgive. We know we should forgive, but sometimes we get stuck behind a roadblock that keeps us from total forgiveness.praying_hands_bible

It’s important to restate that forgiveness is a process. Wounds are not easily healed and every time we think about them again, we experience a re-wounding.

But if we know what the roadblock is, we can work to step over that block and move toward the peace of forgiveness.

Again, we are grateful to Debra Laaser and her book, “Shattered Vows” for this information.

Roadblock 1: Retaliation
This roadblock happens when we use our precious energy and time to try and give our offender what we think he deserves.
This is not the same as taking legal action against an offender because we and our children need to survive.
Rather, this is anything we do mentally, verbally or practically to try and retaliate or punish that person.

Breaking through: Will my hatred and bitterness somehow make his life miserable? Probably not. In fact, he may be living comfortably and totally uncaring of how we feel. Hatred and bitterness with the desire to retaliate only makes our lives miserable and our souls putrid.

Roadblock 2: Grudges
These are strongly-held resentments that fuel negativity. They keep us living in the negative emotions and the past memories that hurt so much.
They block us from other healthy relationships and keep us from being all that God created us to be.

Breaking through: Will my grudges enable me to live a joyful and peaceful life? The answer is no, because grudges block peace and joy.

Roadblock 3: Bitterness
This is a frozen form of anger that grows out of our refusal to let go. It stays impacted on a particular memory when someone took something from us. It concentrates on the loss and easily grows into hatred.

Bitterness has also been documented as a emotion that will actually cause illness and even death.

Breaking through: Am I a better person when I am bitter? Duh, no.

Roadblock 4: Retelling the Story
When we retell the story of the loss or the pain that someone has caused us, we get a pay-off of sympathy.
We also retaliate in a small way by making the other person look like the villain while we remain as the victim.

Breaking through: Does the retelling keep me focused on the past or moving forward?

Every time we retell the story, we stay in the negative past. We can’t move forward and truly forgive if we keep adding mud to the slush pile.

Sometimes people sincerely want to know, but we can be just as sincere in our answer. A better response than re-telling is to just say, “You know, I really don’t want to relive that experience. I just ask you to pray for me.”

Our next blog post will be our final post on the subject of forgiveness. Join us, please.

©2013 GateWay of Hope Ministries