Grief opens the door to many things and one of those is the hurts that are inflicted on us by others. These are either hurts that are unintentional or intentional. Hurts are a gift that allow us to learn more about ourselves and help us have the opportunity to clear out not only our most recent hurts, but hurts that we have buried deep inside perhaps for years and years.
So, how do we empty our trash cans of hurts? Life coach Cecily MacArthur works with people on this very subject and makes these suggestions on how to forgive:
1. Make a list of people who have hurt you and write out what they did.
2. Choose to forgive. It’s your choice for after all. Holding onto unforgiveness toward them is not hurting them. It’s hurting you.
3. Release all thoughts of ill will towards that person.
4. Pray for that person and feel compassion for them.
5. Give yourself permission to let go of that pain.
6. Leave it to God to take care of that person for God is just.
These steps of forgiveness will more than likely need to be done more than once. Forgiveness is a process. There will always be another layer to deal with.
Cecily talked about an Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono which is defined in the Hawaiian dictionary as “a mental cleansing”. The process begins with prayer. A statement of the problem is made and the transgression is discussed. Each person is expected to work through the problems and not “hold fast to the fault”.
One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the entanglement of emotions and injuries. Then confession, repentance, and forgiveness takes place. Everyone releases (kala) each other, letting go. They cut off the past (‘oki), and together close the event with a ceremonial feast called pani. At the close of Ho’oponopono the person forgiven is presented with a lei made from the hala tree whose fruits fill the air with a pleasant aroma like flowers.
In making the choice to forgive that person/s who has wronged you, you are emptying your smelly, stinky trash can and replacing it with the aroma of a sweet smelling lei. If the person who has wounded you is no longer living or if the person you need to forgive is yourself, you can also go through this process by simply sitting in front of an empty chair and saying all that needs to be said so that healing can begin.
Forgiveness is the key to releasing yourself, cutting off the past, loving yourself and helping you get back to the beauty and sweet smelling aroma of who you are in Christ.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“A forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note, torn in two and burned up, so it can never be shown against the man.” Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” Corrie Ten Boom
Psalm 32 in the Message version talks about how God forgives us and throws garlands of hosannas around our necks. Have you emptied your trash?