Forgiveness Stops Telling the Story — 29 Comments

  1. I was finally able to forgive for a terrible wrong a few years ago, and it was instant peace. It just washed over me, and I felt so free. I will never forget, but I was able to let go of the bitterness and constant anger I carried every day. 🙂

    • Has your story changed? From a victim-story to an overcoming story? That bitterness and anger is like porcupine needles on my spirit – and forgiveness – well, those needles just drop off, stop pricking and hurting, don’t they! I know what that feels like – yet, sometimes, other hurts bring those porcupine needles back – and I have to remind myself to let go – to let God change the story to an over-coming story. Thanks so much for sharing hour heart!

  2. I started reading this and thinking about a story I shared with a middle school girl yesterday. A story about a humiliating, betraying situation that happened to me in middle school. I felt somewhat guilty for remembering it so well, but had explained to her, those negative feelings left long ago. And when I see the “friend” there is kindness between both. I used the story in hopes that she would see you can learn from these experiences how to read people, but you can move forward from it and not let the hurt and anger linger. Of course as I started reading this, I thought “should I delete that story completely?” But it does fall in a couple of those categories above 😉 Thanks for another wonderful post – and you are so right, forgiveness usually isn’t instant, but it is a decision and sometimes, boy, we have to work at it for awhile.

    • Lailani, when we use those stories as over-coming stories – those are how God reshapes those stories – just like you did. But when I use those stories to reaffirm victim-status – that’s when I need to hit the delete button and cross that bridge to forgiveness. That’s when our stories change to overcoming stories. What a wonderful example of that you provided. Looks like you lent her a hand to pull her over that bridge! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. It doesn’t hurt, but I do tell the story because it hurt so much at the time. I say that I have forgiven, but I have been questioning it lately. Thank you for your post today…like everything else I’ve heard lately, it was needed.

    • Danae, I have had to take a good hard look at myself. I say I have forgiven some stories – and there are plenty of overcoming stories, but there are new stories, victim stories I found myself telling – and the hurt bubbles up just as fresh – and I realize that I am not telling the story in an overcoming way but a victim way – a before-the-bridge-of-forgiveness way. And, I am ashamed, humbled that my forgiveness was just “words” (logos) not alive(rama). I am setting those stories in my life down. I am not retelling, waiting for someone to fix it, waiting for justice and resolution. I am walking across that bridge – and letting God reshape that story – and then one day, He will put it back on the bookshelf of my heart – for me to retell as an overcoming story, as an encouragment story.

  4. I always say that when you can think about or tell a story and it doesn’t hurt anymore, then you know that you’ve forgiven and are healed. It’s almost like the event happened to someone else, and you are watching a movie…hmmm…I hope someone beautiful is playing me… ;D

    • Is it because the issue has been resolved – that it’s like it happened to someone else? That you finished the story on an over-coming ending? It’s almost like I need to stop telling the story because it isn’t finished until the ending has changed – and it doesn’t change if you just recount the hurt or just wait for “justice” – resolution. It changes we you have overcome the hurt through forgiveness – and suddenly, the story is like that movie you talk about – that has an ending that grows beyond the hurt. I love your analogy.

      • I never tell a story until it has been resolved. It feels like I’m telling on someone. Even after forgiveness resolution, I ask myself, “Am I recounting this story to make others feel better about me? or am I recounting this story to help others be better?” I don’t want to use my sordid past to spin a good story, but I’d rather reluctantly share what God has done for me and in me in order to humbly help someone else to a higher place.

  5. Sometimes we need to talk about the stories in order to purge them. But then… stop talking about it and hand it over to God to heal us and believe that He will resolve it in whatever way it should be resolved. Our is not for the judgment but for the forgiveness. I liked this post very much.

  6. ML – how I needed this today! Yes, I need to use the delete button in certain areas of my life, with certain people. I hit rewind and play too often, scrutinizing the “play” over and over again.

    What wise words from your hubby. So true.

    I have stories and situations I bring to God, over and over. Though I’m getting better about not gossiping/complaining to other people, God hears it in my prayer and conversations with Him. He must be weary of hearing my same hurt comments and words about something I’ve “forgiven” of someone.

    Thank you for this reminder to let go – delete.

    Beautiful pictures, too. Love your blog, just love it. 🙂

  7. Oh Maryleigh! This is THE BEST ONE YET (I say that about them all, huh?). But this is such a wonderful way of saying “forgive and let go.” I always cringe when I hear someone say, “Well, I may forget them but I’ll never forget what they did” – never realizing that this means they haven’t forgiven! I love how you said this. I had so many stories to delete. It changed so many things in my life!

  8. I didn’t know those other two scriptures about forgiveness.

    I’ve bookmarked this for further reading tonight.

    Thanks for linking up at Ann’s today. 🙂

  9. By God’s grace…I am talking about it…less and less…and the stories I tell…have more beauty to them.
    Excellent post…very good reminders…

  10. I have a hard time letting go, but this post helps me frame it in a new perspective. I love the idea of crossing over the bridge.

  11. Great post…I have been telling a story over and over lately but it involves healing and restoration. i don’t have any pain involved with the telling and that is how I knew I was ready to share the testimony.

    Happy wordfilled Wednesday!

    joy & blessings,

  12. This is truth… may we all forgive with the same grace and love that we have received from the Lord….

  13. hmmmmm…..girlfriend we are on the same page…just finished my devo for next month on guess what??? FORGIVENESS…it’s been on my mind..what a timely post this was! Letting go and Letting God…I’ll be digging deeper in this Word!

    xoxo lori

  14. Oh Sister, forgiveness has been one of those bridges that I have had to cross many times. It is a theme that often comes up in our home.

    God help us all love the way He loves.

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us.


  15. oh, it takes such strength to walk away from those stories. but funny, how liberating the effort… thank you for this, friend.

  16. This is really good. I love the idea of overcoming stories or victim stories. What is your goal when you remember those past hurts? To show how God brought you through or to win some sort of compassion from others or guilt to the offender. Great thing to think about when a past hurt tries to come back to your mind and heart.

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  18. i absolutely LOVE this, Maryleigh! It used to be thought that really dredging up all the pain and engaging our anger with the offender’s actions was the way to “let go” of the bitterness. But researchers have discovered that going too far with our processing of the pain or letting ourselves become too angry at what was done to us only sets that bitterness more in concrete! It’s okay to talk about the issue or to process the pain, but as you’ve so eloquently pointed out here, at some point we must let it go and trust God with our hurt–otherwise it’s not forgiveness. I also loved how you reminded us that God doesn’t do this to us, so why do we think it’s okay? Great job and I’ll be sharing, my friend!!

    • I’m still trying to not tell the stories – trying! trying! trying!

      I created a program, “Standing at the Crossroads” for teens of divorce because the ones I looked to get involved in just had everyone sit in the mess, pick it up, study it. I think it is more important to determine where you want to be and how you can get there – We cannot be made whole sitting in the Mess – like the crippled man, we have to get up and walk – use action to take us to where we want to be!

      Some day, we so need to do coffee or tea – and talk all afternoon!

  19. Loved reading all the old comments!
    Your post reminded me that sometimes on a broken planet, we just have to let go and acknowledge that things will never be exactly right. In the meantime, I must trust that God will bring resolution to all creation—in HIS time and in HIS way.

  20. maryleigh, yes, I’ve been revisiting old posts, too, from way back in the day, as I clean out and close down a former blog. it’s fun to find some goodies and re-imagine and re-configure them for right now. truth is truth, wisdom is timeless. some things are worth keeping … and others need to be deleted ASAP.

  21. Thank you, Maryleigh for reposting this post! How often I struggle with forgiveness, or at least “talking” about the offense! This, “I realized these hurts that I carry around were like cheap trophies boasting of no great win.” Says it all, UGH, how many times i have done this!

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