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Is Forgiveness A Choice?

I want the power to forgive.  I want the power to withhold my forgiveness!  It is ALL my choice!

That power can be exhilarating!

But, sometimes, I don’t want the power to forgive.  If I am powerless, it is not my fault.  This pain and burden I carry is not of my own doing, it has been inflicted upon me by others and circumstances OUT OF MY control.  Making it ALL my choice makes me responsible.

That power can be debilitating!

I read a book recently that gnawed at me.  The kind of gnawing that begs you to pick the book back up and look at it a little deeper, but you really don’t want to.  It was a good easy read.  It had some great points.  Can’t I just move on? It is the persistent draw that deep down you know is a prompting from the Holy Spirit, no matter how much you want to discount it, it keeps resurfacing.

Acquiescing, I picked back up “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews. I won’t ruin the book completely for you; I do recommend you reading it!  There are seven different decisions with which the traveler is faced.  It was those decisions that beckoned a second look, a thoughtful ponder as to how it might apply to my life.  I reread over the decisions, choices rather, that I could make.  These choices were significant and could make an impact on my perspective and approach to living.  Work, change, growth — no wonder I resisted picking the book back up!

I did not follow the order of the book.  The decision that drew me in the most and would be my first decision was: “I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.”

“Make allowances for each other’s (and mine) faults and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”(& yourself) Colossians 3:13, NLT (my additions)

It was just last year about this time that I wrote one of my first blogs entitled, “God’s Hook?”  A blog about taking others off my hook and putting them on God’s Hook.  A blog about my lack of forgiving myself.  Pain and tears and healing and the release of pressure from letting go.   Yet here it was again.

Is forgiveness really a choice?

The following blue print comes directly from notes in my journal inspired by the “The Traveler’s Gift.”

Result of forgiveness:

  1. Frees my spirit to release anger I have harbored in my heart.

  2. Frees my spirit to pursue my future happily and unencumbered by my past.

  3. Becomes a gift I think that I am giving to others, that turns out to be a gift I give to myself!

  4. Frees me to begin anew – producing contentment, peace and love.

Results of unforgiveness:

  1. I spend wasted hours on vain imaginings and conversations in my mind that will never take place.

  2. It becomes all-consuming which robs my mind’s ability to be present stealing precious time of being fully engaged with family and friends, preventing me from receiving gifts of the “here and now” moments.

  3. It sprouts a crippling seed that takes root in my heart the will only yield bitter fruit.

On forgiving myself:

  1. The lack of forgiving myself paralyzes me which usually results with inaction which then leads to more disappointment.

  2. When I forgive myself, it helps me to start anew with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

  3. The lack of forgiving myself chains me to my past.

  4. When I forgive myself, it keeps me grounded in the present and propels me towards my future.

The quote from the book that “forgiveness is not something to be earned, but a gift to be given” utterly and completely makes it my choice, my responsibility.  It takes it a step further though and commissions me as a giver of gifts.  I have the choice to give the gift of forgiveness.  This is a gift I want to give more freely to myself and others.

Oh to be more like the One I was created to reflect.  “The LORD is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.  The LORD is good to all and His mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9

My choice:

I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.  I will forgive myself!


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