Learning to Forgive

23 Feb

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘

Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’

and it would obey you” (Jesus—Luke 17:6 NKJV).

     In 2005, a tornado ripped through Benton, KY. A year later, my wife and I bought a lot that had been in its path. What remained on the lot was a huge pile of limbs and logs pushed together by bulldozers. Before we could get started on building a house, we had to burn that mountain of wood. Many of the trees had been uprooted and their roots were still covered with dirt. The roots were like fingers clinging to the dirt. The dirt was keeping air from reaching the wood and it couldn’t burn like the rest. I bring up that image because those roots holding onto the suffocating dirt is a picture of unforgiveness.

     In the quotation above, another word for “faith” is conviction. Mustard seeds don’t have faith. They have conviction. They have determination! Mustard is a weed. It will grow wherever it is planted.

     The mulberry tree has one of the deepest and broadest root structures of all the trees. The roots below can be bigger than what’s above ground. They are massive, intertwined and extraordinarily strong. To pull that kind of tree up – roots and all – and plant it in the sea would have sounded impossible. Many of us have roots that are holding tight to some dirt that is suffocating us and we can’t let go of it. Today, I’m going to teach you how to let go of the dirt. And it will take the conviction of a mustard seed to do it.

     I attend a spirituality group every week. We discuss books chapter by chapter. Recently, the chapter focus was that what you say creates your world. What you speak or even think becomes your reality. Think about it. When someone has hurt you deeply, or has created a huge loss in your life, what do you say?

     You typically say, “I’ll never be able to forgive him.” Or “I can’t forgive him.” Or “I won’t forgive him.” And so you never do. You hold onto the dirt. You hold onto the hurt. And it suffocates the joy and the peace and the freedom you could have if you only let it go.

     In a book called “The Wisdom of the Subconscious Mind,” it describes the conscious mind as being like the captain of a big ship. The subconscious mind is the crew of men below in the engine room. The men below do the mechanics of getting the work done, but they only know what to do based on what the captain says. The conscious mind sends orders through your mouth, your ears send it down to the subconscious which starts right away to make sure those orders are followed.

     Therefore, pay attention to what you say, these are the orders of the captain. And what you say is what the subconscious mind receives as its orders. You and I choose whether or not to hold onto the dirt, the hurt, the loss, that could make or break our peace of mind.

     The Greek word for forgive means to let go, to release, to set free. You can hold onto the dirt of hurt that continues to infect your attitude, or you can choose to let it go. For me, it helps to remind myself that people will reap what they sow—and I am not the person in charge of making sure they do. Let the Universe deal with their harvest.)

     One way to loosen some of the dirt you’re holding onto is to stop reliving what happened. All that is doing is permitting yourself to be offended over and over again. It’s over. Stop hurting yourself. Then ask yourself some questions: Why is this bothering me so much? What is so important about this that I’m letting it steal my joy and my peace of mind? What am I threatened by? What do I fear losing? Am I being realistic? Why did this hurt my feelings so much? What is it that makes me so defensive?

     Dig deeper, search your own heart, try to understand what is making your roots grip so tightly around the dirt. Once you’ve come to a better understanding of why you are holding onto the pain and hurt, you can start to say to your mulberry tree, “Be uprooted. I let go of the dirt and I send you to be planted in the sea.” You can do it. But you have to want to do it. You have to be determined to do it. And you need the conviction to keep giving that same order so your subconscious mind will work at sending your life in a positive direction.

     Control what you say. Control what you think. And you will gain control of the direction of your life. Forgiveness is about regaining your peace. Be convicted that you are going to regain your peace. It takes the determination of a mustard seed that can grow anywhere it wants to grow to keep saying, “I can do this.”

 

 

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