“How do I forgive my ex? Do you really believe I can?”
Yes, I actually believe it is an important thing to do.
Forgiving someone who has wronged you can seem like a pretty far-fetched idea. And, there are a lot of realities that may make forgiving your ex hard. I hear them all the time.
Here are five things I have heard repeatedly:
- Has never asked for forgiveness.
- Hasn’t changed.
- Doesn’t deserve forgiveness.
- Left me too angry and hurt to forgive.
How Can I Forgive My Ex for Violence and Abuse?
You may be wondering, how could anyone forgive such heinous crimes, especially within the marriage covenant? How could someone even suggest forgiving? It doesn’t seem like a fair expectation at all. And, if this is your story, my heart aches for you. I can’t imagine your grief. If you can please hang with me and read on, I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
I didn’t experience abuse but even in my own experience forgiving didn’t come naturally. Dealing with my own resentment toward my ex was hard.
I’ve never been so angry in my life, and by nature I’m not an angry person. To top it off, divorce left me feeling a space between me and God. I knew my marriage had fallen short of God’s expectations. It made me even angrier that I had been put in this position by someone else’s choices.
Do You Relate?
Whether you feel deeply hurt, profoundly angry, or simply can’t stop thinking about the wrongs done to you, it’s hard to find peace. Each of these emotions, and the thoughts that go with them can cause you to relive the pain over and over again.
What starts as a betrayal of trust created by your ex can become a self-inflicted pain that feeds itself and grows.
How Forgiving Your Ex Helps You
Reliving in your mind the ways you’ve been hurt holds you captive of the past. Of course you need time to process pain but please don’t live in the pain forever. In your own time you can come to terms with what has happened and then start to shift your focus to creating a positive life in the present and future. Forgiving your ex helps you make that shift.
What Does it Mean to Forgive My Ex?
I know that what I’m about to say seems counter intuitive when you’ve been hurt so bear with me. I believe that the secret to healing from divorce is rooted in the Godly concept of forgiveness. Here is what I mean.
Forgiveness does not:
- Make inappropriate behavior okay.
- Mean you subject yourself to further mistreatment.
- Require reconciliation.
- Imply approval of inappropriate behavior.
- Require you to wait until you feel like forgiving.
- A choice that takes repeated effort.
- Not about the person who wronged you.
- A decision to relieve your own heart, mind, and soul of the burdens of anger, resentment, and hostility.
- A peace keeper for your own soul.
- Possible with God’s help and frees you to receive God’s peace and joy.
You don’t have to go face-to-face with the person you forgive because forgiveness happens in you.
Forgiving is about You and Your Relationship with God
That’s right. Holding onto anger, resentment, and hostility erodes your soul and keeps you from feeling God’s peace and joy. Letting go of anger and handing it over to God relieves you of a tremendous burden.
God is the author of forgiveness and sent his son Jesus to prove it. His gift of forgiveness is free for the asking. Through his power you can stop harboring unforgiving thoughts and anger and move on with your life.
Feeding hostilities brings you down and draws you away from God as it ties you to a broken past. Choosing forgiveness empowered by God is far more rewarding and healing!
So which way do you want to live your life?
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.