“I was tired of being so angry.”

“I was tired of crying myself to sleep every night.”

I heard these words spoken on Tuesday, June 1, toward the end of the 7th session of “Total Forgiveness”. I almost had to check to be sure I didn’t blurt them out myself. They are the very reasons I chose to begin this journey.

Last night ended Phase I, and it was POWERFUL!! Tears flowed, burdens were released, and enlightenment was shared. Phase II begins in August, during which we will “dig a little deeper”. This has truly been an enlightening experience, and there are things with which I continue to wrestle, in terms of how we are to properly deal with forgiveness. But as we were told at the outset, we will not reach total forgiveness at the end of 8 sessions. Thank goodness. I would have failed miserably.
During the 7th session, we were each given an image and instructed to write an essay for homework. Here’s mine:

I see a wounded heart, one that is not only being tugged in different directions, but one being left with scars from the tugging. This heart is vulnerable; it’s soft. The clamps are strong; I’ll call them “transgressions”. They are small, yes, but they are hard, ruthless, sharp, unrelenting, and they are leaving deep wounds. The heart has made an attempt to cover, but the bandage’s size is no match for the many transgressions. “Covering” simply isn’t working. The bandage itself is misplaced! It isn’t even addressing the root(s) of the problem, the points at which the transgressions are making their marks. It’s simply attempting to cover the “face” of the heart. Some mask.
Look closer. There are seven “wounds”, making this image the epitome of forgiveness. This makes me think of the conversation Jesus had with Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV) – Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” [22] Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”  Even at seven times, look at the damage done to this heart! Isn’t Jesus asking way too much? Not quite. Not at all. Think Good Friday…

Nevertheless, attempting to keep that in the forefront of one’s mind doesn’t diminish the hurt others can inflict on our hearts. They leave wounds. They leave marks. They leave scars. But they can heal…IF the transgressions are released first. This heart will never have a chance to heal as long as these transgressions are gripped so tightly. Will we let them continue to maintain their hold?

Well, will we? I’ll answer that one for myself a little later…

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