Sometimes. when we get stuck on our spiritual journey, there’s unfinished business. That might come in the form of poor communication with a coworker, an unresolved conflict with a spouse, or a blocked flow with Father God.
When that flow turns into a log jam, I usually can’t hear God’s voice, because I’m stuck in unforgiveness. When I hold a grudge, toxic thoughts are stewing at the cellular level in my body. My thoughts are bramble hedges of thorns in my brain. Gratitude escapes me. I toss and turn at night. Headaches hound me.
But hope springs up when I hear from from the International Forgiveness Institute. They believe that you can experience transformation from anxiety, depression, or hopelessness to peace, with the act of forgiving.
The founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (based in Madison, Wisconsin), Robert D. Enright, Ph.D, pioneered this in 1985 and created the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country. By using the Institute’s 20-step forgiveness process model, anyone – individuals, families, communities, even governments – can experience the extraordinary benefits of forgiveness. With the correct approach to forgiveness, we can all help restore healthy emotions, rebuild relationships and establish more peaceful communities around the world.
Dr. Enright believes that forgiveness education is one path toward peace. His classroom research shows that as children learn about forgiveness, their levels of anger go down. His theory is that such anger reduction in students will help them improve their interpersonal relationships to the point that they can begin to see, as they mature into adults, the best path toward justice.
I encourage you to sign up to receive articles called Ask Dr. Forgiveness. I’m constantly amazed at the real-time, tough-as-nails, no-nonsense questions people ask about forgiveness. I’m awed by Dr. Enright’s thoughtful, level-headed, healing responses.They validate my anger but challenge me to think more maturely. Here are a few questions from Ask Dr. Forgiveness. Click on a question below to view Dr. Enright’s response.
Q. Can fear be reduced when a person forgives?
Q. I understand that part of forgiving is to reduce anger. Yet, I am concerned about this. If I deliberately reduce my anger toward the person who hurt me, am I at the same time reducing my motivation to seek justice?
Q. I am trying to forgive my sister. I was very angry with her. Unfortunately, I dumped my anger on her, and now she has to forgive me for doing this. What do you suggest?
Q. Please give me some advice on how I can keep the love and compassion in my heart for peers who keep repeating offenses over and over, with some of the behaviors getting worse over time.
Q. What is the difference between forgiveness and acceptance and does the first one truly have an impact on the angry feelings? What is the mechanism that helps us forgive someone that made us angry?
The website contains events, research, curriculum, information for teachers, principals, and administrators, family forgiveness guidelines, counselor training, a faith and religion strand, and more.
Forgiveness. A step-by-step process validating pain that overtook your heart, and the transformation of letting offenses go. A fresh, blank slate with calm acceptance. With it, a solution to difficult, painful situations with a reframe for new interactions that open up the flow for your interactions with Co-Co.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Friend, what shifts happen to your thought patterns when you don’t forgive? When you do?
Rise to freedom!