Going through the motions of addiction recovery is an arduous process. Many emotions are at play, and two of those being guilt and shame. Harboring these emotions ignite self-hatred, resentment, and bitterness. Therefore, to be freed from the shackles of guilt and shame, you cannot sidestep the road to forgiveness.
Why is forgiveness an essential aspect of recovery? Forgiveness is the gateway to freedom. It’s to release yourself and others from debts that haunt you. It’s the ability to extend grace and release grudges. Forgiveness allows you to be free from the grip of hate and anger to cleanse your heart and be free to love.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.
The good news about your shame and guilt. Guilt and shame are reflections of your humanity and your capacity to be empathic over the pain you’ve caused yourself and others. It’s a reflection that reveals the pain you’ve been through. Shame and guilt alike, are emotions whose residence status depends solely on you. In you exists the capacity to change through a forgiveness process.
Why is forgiveness considered a process? The topic of forgiveness is complex because emotions cannot be controlled. The one thing you can control is how you respond to circumstances, actions, and what others do to you. Often, our natural responses are anger, rage, tears, and we partake in self-destructive behaviors. We don’t know how to channel our anger and emotions; therefore forgiveness is not something that we do right away, it’s a process that requires self-reflection and prayer, and this takes time to master. Think of forgiveness as a skill. It needs to be practiced.
Practice forgiveness. A lack of forgiveness in your heart is toxic. It’s like a cancer that spreads and eats away at any fragment of hope and love within, leaving you basking in feelings of anger and resentment. Lack of forgiveness steals your joy and robs you from living a quality life. So, how do you practice forgiveness? You must first acknowledge that we all fall short of the glory of God. In the end, we all make mistakes. Never disregard your inner pain; instead, it’s essential to address it. You must also develop the empathy factor by understanding that just as you desire to receive grace and forgiveness, you too must forgive others, especially yourself.
Colossians 3:13 “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Forgiveness to thyself. Forgiveness starts with you. It takes courage to forgive yourself for your wrongdoings and for the pain you’ve caused others, but forgiveness must become part of your life culture and moral code.
Are their things that you’ve done that you regret? Have people hurt you so deeply that you can’t forgive? The truth is that you cannot forgive on your own accord; forgiveness occurs in your new nature in Jesus Christ. It’s when you allow the spirit of God to dwell in you that you’re able to forgive through the eyes of mercy.
Be kind to yourself and others. Become intentional and mindful of your words and actions. Recognize when you’ve failed, learn from your mistakes, and do things differently next time around. Be practical, be empathic.
Forgive others. Throughout our faith-based recovery program, you’ll be encouraged to speak about your life, your pain, the anger, and resentment that you experience because there is power in standing behind your truths. When you embark on your forgiveness journey, know that as you release others of their debts, you too shall be forgiven and heard by God. You will be made free.
Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Forgiveness is at the center of the gospel, for Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins.
There is death in forgiveness.
One must die to oneself.
Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion.