Forgiveness: Breaking Free from Bitterness (Outline)
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger.”—C. S. Lewis
What Forgiveness Is Not?
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not reconciling.
Forgiveness is not condoning what the person did to you.
Forgiveness is not releasing the person of responsibility.
Forgiveness is not smothering conflict.
What Forgiveness Is?
Forgiveness is a matter of the heart to not live in the past by releasing the person or people who hurt you so you can get on with your life.
What If We Don’t Forgive?
Bitterness will take root within us.
“Bitterness is such a potent paralysis of mind, soul, and spirit that it can freeze reason and emotion. Our attitudes turn cynical, uncaring, critical, and caustic. When we once ventured to place faith in others, now we trust no one. Optimism darkens to pessimism. Faith grays into doubt. We withdraw, turtle like, into our protective shells of bitter distrust. We’ve been burned once, and, once burned, we become twice shy. . . . Bitterness is a cyclical, repetitive, tightly closed circle of self-centered pain.”—David Augsburger
2. Anger will control us.
3. We will utter hateful words.
4. We will seek revenge.
5. We will become physically sick.
Forgiveness requires a lifetime commitment.
Forgiveness takes time.
“Forgiveness is not an act—it is a process. It is not a single transaction—it is a series of steps. Beware of any view of instant, complete, once-for-all forgiveness. Instant solutions tend to be the ways of escape, of avoidance, or denial, not of forgiveness. Forgiveness takes time—time to be aware of one’s feelings, alert to one’s pain and anger, open to understand the other’s perspective, willing to resolve the pain and reopen the future.”—David Augsburger
Forgiveness will never be easy.
Forgiveness is a gift we give.