Christian Living

Family Matters 03/10/11

What Does It Mean to Forgive?

Last week, I told you about the contest I have going on to get a free copy of my latest book release. To win, entrants must complete the sentence, “I love my mother, but…”. The responses have been moving, heart felt and incredibly honest and telling.

While many of you are creating healthy connections with your moms, others are stuck or have been seriously wounded by this important relationship. As a follow up, I want to address those of you who are hanging on to anger or unforgiveness in your mother-daughter relationship or any relationship for that matter.

First of all, it’s important to understand what forgiveness is and isn’t. Forgiveness is an individual act of the will done in obedience to God. It is a gift you give to others because God gave it to you. I love the way psychologist, Robert Enright, defines it. He says, forgiveness is “a willingness to abandon one’s right to resentment, negative judgment, and indifferent behavior towards the one who was unjustly injured, while fostering the undeserved qualities of compassion, generosity, and even love towards her.”

Forgiveness is NOT:

1. Reconciliation. This takes the cooperation of two people (Reconciliation, however, is the heart of God -Matthew 5:24).
2. Condoning wrong behavior.
3. Minimizing what was done that was hurtful.
4. Pardoning the person; that’s God’s job. Your job is to be released from the power of the offense.

Forgiveness is not an option but a biblical command (Luke 6:37, John 20:23). We don’t wait until we feel like forgiving someone or until the person deserves it. We didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness and yet He continuously gives it to us. He asks that we do the same for others. And not surprisingly, forgiveness not only has the power to unblock you spiritually, but also improves your physical and emotional health. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/31/health/he-forgiveness31/7

Make the decision to forgive today. Take the lead in any relationship that is struggling due to anger and unforgiveness. Don’t wait for the other person to go first. Be a grown up. Only children fight about who goes first.

If you haven’t entered to win a copy of Dr. Linda’s new book, it isn’t too late. But, the contest does end soon, so hurry! Simply, email your finished “I love my mother, but…” sentence (in 50 words or less) to drlindahelps@gmail.com by March 15, 2011 to qualify.