How to Heal After You Forgive the Unforgivable

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field, sky and the womanIt’s Day 3 in our series on forgiveness. We’ve looked at why we should forgive and how to forgive.

Now let’s look at things we can do to move beyond our pain and go into the future with hope.

How to Heal After You’ve Forgiven the Unforgivable

1. Let go of what was lost . . . love, trust, reputation, hopes and dreams.

An essential part of healing is accepting the fact that you can’t change the past.

If you struggle with “if only” thoughts . . . remember you can’t undo what happened but you can control how you allow it to affect your future.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good Romans 12:17-21 (MSG)

You can’t change the past, but you can change your future.

2. Thank God for setting you free.

Apoluo is a Greek word for forgiveness that means to “set free or release.” Apoluo means you choose to release your offender from the debt they owe you. You free them from having to apologize. You accept that what was lost may never be restored or replaced.

Apoluo means that through forgiveness you choose to be set free from anger, bitterness, and resentment. Praise God!

To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Louis B. Smedes

3. Stop reliving and retelling the story.

It’s hard to stop dwelling on a pain-filled experience, but healing is almost impossible if you continue to think about it again and again. And as tempting as it is to want sympathy from your friends, once you have shared the details of your story with someone else you have no control of its future . . . where it goes or how it grows.

He who hates his neighbor does not think well, but a man of understanding keeps quiet. He who is always telling stories makes secrets known, but he who can be trusted keeps a thing hidden. Proverbs 11:12-13

4. Trust God with your future.

God is able to give you strength and hope, and help you heal.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in Him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. Romans 15:13

5. Be happy.

It’s okay. You may feel like allowing yourself to be happy denies or excuses what happened. It doesn’t. Take the time you need to grieve what was lost, but then give yourself permission to do things you enjoy. Laugh. Have fun. It’s good for you.

There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance with joy. Ecclesiastes 3:4

I know from personal experience . . . healing is possible.

Healing is a process that may not happen quickly, but I promise healing will come.

Repeat these steps often.

God is faithful. He will help you heal.

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