Thankfulness Flows from Forgiveness

We’ve all met someone who is extremely gracious, loving, and giving, right? Who is always there, always goes above and beyond, and never seems to have a complaint about anything or anyone? Some would say they were just born that way. But more often than not, there’s a story behind that warm smile, a story of hardships and brokenness that most never have to face.

When you’ve been given a second chance at life, it’s hard not to be grateful.

In 2019, an unarmed young man was shot and killed in his own apartment by a police officer who had entered, thinking it was her own and thought him an intruder. She lived one floor below. The court case became widely known at first for key social issues that played into it, a white female police officer killing a young black man. But that was all forgotten the moment the young man’s brother did something incredible in the court room.

He took the stand and forgave the police officer. And not only did he forgive her, but he also embraced her and encouraged her to seek the love and forgiveness of Christ. As they embraced, she broke down in sobs. The whole room was in awe of this extreme show of compassion. And even though the woman still had to go to jail, the judge was so moved by this young man’s actions that she gave the police officer her own Bible and guided her to accept Christ into her life, charging her to read the Word as her next “job” while she served her time.

While we don’t know the rest of the story after that day, imagine how that police officer’s life changed in that moment? Instead of being faced with hostility, anger, and disgust by the man’s brother, she was met with love, acceptance and forgiveness, something she probably neither expected nor felt like she deserved.

Do you think she was grateful? Do you think that has changed her actions and attitude as she serves out her time? Do you think it impacts those around her?

We will likely never hear that side of the story. But judging by her simple reaction as she was embraced by the victim’s brother, one thing seems abundantly clear.

Thankfulness flows from Forgiveness.

When forgiveness enters the room, gratitude freely flows to you and to others around you. So, if you are struggling to be thankful this holiday season, think about who or what might need forgiving in your life. It could be a family member. It could be a bad situation. Or hardest of all, it could be you need to forgive yourself.

Try this exercise over the holidays this year:

  1. Each day, write down 1 person/thing you are struggling to forgive.
  2. Then, write down 1 way you can be thankful for that person/thing having been in your life.
  3. Forgive yourself for holding on to the hurt and the emotions that came from that experience.
  4. Forgive them for causing the hurt and emotions.
  5. Give them permission to forgive you for holding onto that hurt and emotions.
  6. And finally, write down 5 more things you can be grateful for.

Do this for at least 7 days and see how it changes your attitude and outlook on life. You may just find yourself smiling a little more and showing a little more kindness to those around you.

And if you need some assistance in forgiveness, our coaches are here to help. With either our “rapid change” one-on-one sessions or our group coaching program, we’ll help you learn how to make forgiveness a daily habit so you can live in gratitude, joy, and peace this holiday season and beyond.

So, what’s one thing you are grateful for today? Share with us in the comments!

Sources:

https://www.todayintheword.org/issues/2019/november-2019/devotions-november-2019/november-19-2019-devotion/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/young-black-man-forgives-hugs-female-cop-convicted-of-murdering-brother-stunning-entire-courtroom/

Testimony – Josh M

“I’m actually in this field of mindset work and coaching on mindset shifts and what really stood out to me was that this technique was really effective. We worked on an issue that had been bothering me for a while that I hadn’t quite shifted yet.

The issue was my anger with people online. Whenever I would see stuff online that I disagree with, it was distracting me and impacting my ability to work. And Rob was really very thorough and professional throughout the whole thing and really got to the root of what that anger issue was.

It was actually a very surprising thing for me. And we were able to clear that in a very quick period of time. Ever since then, it’s really been awesome. I’ve had a lot of freedom in seeing things online, and just not getting triggered by them. I don’t get angry or sucked into them and waist hours of time. Whereas before it was a really big distraction issue for me and a really big challenge to ignore. So this stuff works and it’s really, really powerful!” -Josh

The Best Habit for Emotional Health

These days, there is a growing movement for taking proactive and preventative steps towards better physical health. For example, supplements, a better diet, and exercising are about taking care of your body so things like sickness and disease are less likely to impact you.

But what options are out there for emotional health? How can we better equip our minds in a healthy way to prepare for those days when life hits hard? Some would say that meditation, taking “me time,” reading, personal development, vacations, etc. are great for relieving stress and improving emotional health.

There’s one option that unfortunately gets left out of this equation, and it’s one of the most powerful for tackling emotional distress. 

Forgiveness.

Or more accurately, a forgiving attitude, spirit, or disposition.

Most of us understand forgiveness to look like this: someone has done something wrong against you and you choose to forgive them and let the offense go whether they deserve that forgiveness or not.

However, forgiveness goes much deeper. There are actually two types of forgiveness—decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is the one we are all the most familiar with. However, emotional forgiveness is a process in which the goal is to replace the negative unforgiving emotions with positive ones as a permanent psychological change. The difference between these two types of forgiveness is best summarized in this way:

“Decisional forgiveness is a behavioral intention to resist an unforgiving stance and to respond differently toward a transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive other-oriented emotions. Emotional forgiveness involves psychophysiological changes, and it has more direct health and well-being consequences.”

Science Says that Forgiveness is the Path to a Healthy Body, Chardynne Joy H. Concio, May 30, 2019, The Science Times

In other words, there’s forgiveness that is a behavioral, an external expression, and then there’s forgiveness that is an internal process of rewriting the emotions towards a person or situation that initially caused a negative experience.

At The Forgiveness Link, we call this process Reframing, the 3rd step in our Group Forgiveness Coaching program. We know that true, deep-level forgiveness, or emotional forgiveness, is a process. A lifestyle skill that, when applied daily, begins positively affecting your emotional health much like a healthier diet or regular exercise positively affects your physical health.

Forgiveness results in emotional resiliency unlike any other emotional health habit out there. It allows you to “roll with the punches” and quickly find peace, clarity, and joy. How would it feel to stop yelling at your kids every time they did something that drove you crazy? What would your marriage look like if you and your spouse could calmly discuss your disagreements? How would it feel to remain confident in yourself despite the actions of your coworker who continues to put you down?

When you realize Forgiveness is a daily habit as necessary as staying hydrated, your relationships, work environment, and self-image will suddenly improve in ways you never thought possible before. And it’s a lifelong skill we are passionate about teaching. If you’d like to learn more, check out our Group Forgiveness Coaching program.

Can you think of a time where forgiveness would have helped improve your emotional health? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Science Says that Forgiveness is the Path to a Healthy Body,” Chardynne Joy H. Concio, May 30, 2019, The Science Times https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/22234/20190530/science-says-that-forgiveness-is-the-path-to-a-healthy-body.htm?fbclid=IwAR3f9VkDfD7ktOf2-B9Ld9lFrfyJLeZPBRz5rCW4zAzqo5lOYX0y1Yg0uKs

“Effects of lifetime stress exposure on mental and physical health in young adulthood: How stress degrades and forgiveness protects health.” Loren Toussaint, Grant S Shields, Gabriel Dorn, and George M Slavich, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2014 Aug 19 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363296/