A giving heart must also learn to be a forgiving heart.
God’s blessed me with a giving heart. One of the things that I love most is giving to others, and watching my children embrace their giving hearts as well.
Whether it is giving excess of what we have, giving of ourselves with our time and energy and love to others, buying a $5 gift card when checking out of the grocery store and leaving it for the next person in line, sharing clothing our kids have outgrown with friends who have kids coming into that size, making an extra meal and waiting for God to bring the family in need to us… I love every bit of it. It is one of my favorite ways to connect with others, and also connect with God.
But having a giving heart also means that sometimes I find myself feeling hurt. It’s not that I give and expect something in return… it is that I feel that I’ve been taken advantage of.
Having a forgiving heart doesn’t come as natural to me. Forgiving and forgetting aren’t embedded in my DNA like giving is. The hurt lingers, trust is damaged or broken, and sadness enters my heart.
This makes the gift of forgiveness even more important to me than giving. Giving comes natural, it’s not something I have to think hard about or work at. Forgiveness on the other hand, is something I have to consciously give of myself. It’s something I have to work at time and time again.
It takes energy for me to forgive, but I gain energy by forgiving.
Forgiveness releases our souls from hurt.
Forgiveness heals us.
Forgiveness isn’t a gift for others, it is a gift for yourself.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Forgiving means releasing yourself from the hurt of the past in order to move forward.
It’s not easy for me to forgive. The hurt keeps coming back and the sadness will linger if I’m not careful. Sometimes I’m hurt so deeply that I have to forgive more than once and remind my heart to let go of the hurt in order to heal.
So how does one learn to forgive?
Sometimes it takes a conversation with the person I feel hurt by. Sometimes it takes a conversation with God in order to heal. Sometimes it takes some time apart, a little break; a chance to calm emotions and take a look at the persons intent and a look at circumstances.
Always, it’s a decision made with conscious effort.
Walking away from the angst and the stress by forgiving is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Is it always easy? Definitely not. Is it always immediate? Often times no. Is it worth the time and energy? Absolutely.
Sometimes choosing to forgive comes with conditions. Sometimes new boundaries need to be drawn in order to truly forgive. As I mentioned, forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget.
Each time you forgive, it gives you the chance to learn more about yourself.
I’ve let my difficulty of forgiving influence my future decisions more than once. I guard myself a little more; I second guess myself when I feel the want to give; I hold myself back from giving all that I’m feeling in my heart to give…
And I’ve learned that the best thing I can do for myself is to follow my heart. I have regretted not following my heart, and I’d choose giving my all and risk feeling taken advantage of over regretting not giving what or how I felt called to give any day.
Are you harboring hurt or angst that needs to be forgiven? Try to give yourself the gift of forgiveness, by choosing to forgive and make peace with the past.
“There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Where you’re going is so much better then where you’ve been”
(Original Author Unknown)