~Forgiveness Journal~ By Faith

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~Forgiveness Journal~ By Faith

I was together with a friend a few months ago discussing a relationship that I knew needed redemption.  She encouraged me to do something that she lovingly calls a “forgiveness journal.” …I had good intentions but never carved out the time to do it.

Last week this “forgiveness journal” idea was presented to me again, and the healing that it has brought into my life has been incredible.

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Here’s how it works:

You start out by writing every offense, every frustration, every moment of anger that you can think of pertaining to a specific situation or relationship.

(I felt very shallow at times doing this, but I had to acknowledge all of my feelings.  After all, it’s not like I’m not hiding them from God.)

You then turn over the piece of paper and take ownership for your part in those frustrations, in taking offense, and in any wrong that you may have done towards them.

(Of course God would immediately want to bring humility to counterpart my judgment.)

At first I couldn’t really think of what I could take ownership for. Writing down all of the offenses brings back all of that emotion.

Then something magical happened!  As I started to take ownership for my part I realized that I had taken a false sense of responsibility for this person’s choices.

I realized that I was playing God in this person’s life – not by showing them unconditional love, but by carrying burdens that were never mine to carry.  I was taking on responsibility, frustrations, taking on the pressure of creating solutions…on and on!

It seemed so obvious to me all of the sudden that I was wasting time, precious energy, and really the whole purpose of this relationship by convincing myself that I had to take on this stress… which in turn led to my current pain…

The next step was to name the role of this person in my life and my role in theirs. This made it even more simple…not only did I not need to try to fix them, but I could actually enjoy freedom in celebrating them and loving them.

Matthew 11:28 asks, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Message Version)

Their life is between them and God, as my life is between me and God. He quickly showed me that my judgment was not helping them improve in any way. In fact, it was hindering what my role is in their life.

Titus 3:5-11 (Message Version)

“It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come – an eternity of life! You can count on this.”

Let’s enjoy the freedom that comes when we let God be God and enjoy the life that’s found when we extend His love and mercy to others.

If you know you have some people to forgive, try that “Forgiveness Journal.”  It’s a real eye opener and will help set you free!



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