The weighty matter that is unforgiveness. Part 1

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the (offense) that so easily trips us up. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. Heb 12:1

In the Spring, Summer and Fall Months, when the temperature is 50 Degrees Fahrenheit and above, I exercise outdoors at a track field. I do a combination of Power Walking/Jogging and Running. I have several “walking buddies” as I call them. We see each other all the time on the track and if one of us is absent for more than a day, we check up on them to ensure all is well.  They also serve as my motivation partners unknown to them. Some of them are old enough to be my grandmother and they are “always” on the track.

We also have a few walking buddies that walk with ankle and wrist weights. They move at a much slower pace than the rest of us. They usually finish their work out long after the rest of us.

Truth is going around the track over and over can get very boring very quickly. So, I usually get on there, move very fast so I can get my 1 hour in and get off.

I share this story because just as my weight bearing walking buddies move at a much slower pace than the rest of us, for us to soar (excel) in life, we must let go of encumbering weights. Unforgiveness being one of those weights. Why? those weights steal from us the passion and determination required to run life’s race well and as a result they must go.

What has UNFORGIVENESS got to do with living an Excellent life you may ask? Well everything. A person of excellence works towards being whole on the inside. This is particularly important, because what’s on the inside always shows up on the outside, especially in those unguarded moments.

Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it. Pro 4:23 NIRV.

Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. Pro 4:23 Tpt.

I recently heard a message on Forgiveness by Paul Osteen MD. It really was a great message. I will put the link below. I felt a deep urge to take notes, and I did. I listened to his message in its entirety 3 times and took copious notes.

Notes I took from Dr. Paul Osteen’s message on Forgiveness.

Below I share my personal insights and lessons I gained from the message below. I also share techniques I have used with success with a few of my clients that have struggled unforgiveness.

We all could be offended daily. From your spouse saying the wrong thing, to being cut off in traffic, to a co-worker making yet another condescending remark. The list goes on and on.

We stand at a cross road daily – take the bait of offence and write it on the ledger of our heart and hold on to it OR choose to release the person from owing us anything in other words choose to FORGIVE the offender.

The right thing to do at that cross road is to choose forgiveness but it is not always easy. Like most things in life, choosing to forgive is complex.

Someone making a condescending statement or cutting you off in traffic are minor incidents compared to offences such as an unlawful violation of your personal rights – being sexually abused by a loved one, a drunk driver hitting and killing several members of the family, aggravated assault and murder of a loved one, you get the gist. Please read to the end before you come to any conclusions.

Dr Paul Osteen in his message on forgiveness highlights what forgiveness is

  • Choosing to release a person from the debt they owe us.
  • Forgiveness is a choice and not an emotion (more on this later)

Why is forgiveness such a big deal.  It is a big deal because it helps us to stay free from the poison of unforgiveness: Resentment and Bitterness. Dr. Osteen in his message explains very clearly that is impossible to compartmentalize unforgiveness. It’s like cancer, if not dealt with, will spread and cause damage to other parts of the body.

Choosing Unforgiveness over Forgiveness is that way. Over time a person living with unforgiveness becomes bitter and resentful without even realizing it. It could even manifest as a serious anger problem or uncontrolled unexplained outbursts of rage (these are just a few of the manifestations of unforgiveness). Sadly, those who are closest to us usually bear the brunt of the ugly side effects of unforgiveness.

A lady and I were conversing a few weeks back while watching our kids play.  She narrated how while taking a shower sometime last year, she noticed a rather unusual lump in the breast area. It was large enough to raise some concern. She made an appointment to see her primary physician who after assessing her concluded it was nothing to be worried about. She however insisted on further tests. The additional tests revealed she had Stage 4 Lymphoma!

Her next sentences resonated with me “You know Yinka, I lead a healthy lifestyle and looked perfectly fine on the outside then. I even felt fine. The cancer had spread to other vital organs without me even realizing it. If not for the lump I found on my breast, I could have died from that cancer because again I felt perfectly okay”

I would not have guessed in a million years the lady I had this conversation with is a cancer survivor. I cannot help comparing her story to what unforgiveness does to us if not properly dealt with.

Unforgiveness is one of those “weights” that if not addressed will slow us down tremendously and even possibly stop us dead in our tracks from running our life’s race.

What forgivess is not:

1, Forgiveness does not mean what they did is right. It does not deny the fact.

  • Choosing to forgive keeps a person free from the poison (venom, toxins) of resentment and bitterness. Choosing forgiveness allows one to live my life to the fullest.
  • Choosing to forgive allows me to run my life’s race with passion and determination.
  • Choosing to forgive allows me to throw off everything that stands in my way of living an excellent life.

2, Forgiveness is not reconciliation, although it can serve as the first step towards it.

Choosing to forgive does not mean you completely let go of the hard work necessary for reconciliation: talking about what happened, counseling, therapy etc.

Choose forgiveness today, release the offender. It does not make what they have done right, but it sets you FREE to soar and have a flourishing life and future.

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