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Support Through Prayer ...Part 3

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hopefull77 posted 9/3/2016 10:14 AM

Wanted to share this "lesson" about Forgiveness
from the Wrap Up of this weeks devotional.

Practice: Forgiveness

Let me clarify that by encouraging you to let go I am not suggesting you do away with all personal boundaries, that you condone injustice or cruelty. Contemplatives are not Pollyannas or blind optimists. Our positivity comes from struggle and prayer, not from denial or repression. Through daily contemplative practice, we exercise the relinquishment of our egoic attachments. From our place of inner authority and freedom, we can speak truth to power with compassion and love.

Forgiveness is an act of letting go. When we forgive we do not forget the harm someone caused or say that it does not matter. But we release bitterness and hatred, freeing ourselves to move on and make choices grounded in our strength rather than victimization. Forgiveness opens our closed hearts to give and receive love fully.

Jack Kornfield offers a wonderful meditative practice of forgiveness:


[Sit] comfortably. Allow your eyes to close and your breath to be natural and easy. Let your body and mind relax. Breathing gently into the area of your heart, let yourself feel all the barriers you have erected and the emotions that you have carried because you have not forgiven—not forgiven yourself, not forgiven others. . . . Let yourself feel the pain of keeping your heart closed. Then, breathing softly, begin asking and extending forgiveness, reciting the following words, letting the images and feelings that come up grow deeper as you repeat them.

Asking Forgiveness of Others
Recite: "There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed others, have betrayed or abandoned them, caused them suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of my pain, fear, anger, and confusion." Let yourself remember and visualize the ways you have hurt others. See and feel the pain you have caused out of your own fear and confusion. Feel your own sorrow and regret. Sense that finally you can release this burden and ask for forgiveness. Picture each memory that still burdens your heart. And then to each person in your mind repeat: "I ask for your forgiveness, I ask for your forgiveness."

Offering Forgiveness to Yourself
Recite: "There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself. I have betrayed or abandoned myself many times through thought, word, or deed, knowingly and unknowingly." Feel your own precious body and life. Let yourself see the ways you have hurt or harmed yourself. Picture them, remember them. Feel the sorrow you have carried from this and sense that you can release these burdens. Extend forgiveness for each of them, one by one. Repeat to yourself: "For the ways I have hurt myself through action or inaction, out of fear, pain, and confusion, I now extend a full and heartfelt forgiveness. I forgive myself, I forgive myself."

Offering Forgiveness to Those Who Have Hurt or Harmed You
Recite: "There are many ways that I have been harmed by others, abused or abandoned, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word, or deed." Let yourself picture and remember these many ways. Feel the sorrow you have carried from this past and sense that you can release this burden of pain by extending forgiveness whenever your heart is ready. Now say to yourself: "I now remember the many ways others have hurt or harmed me, wounded me, out of fear, pain, confusion, and anger. I have carried this pain in my heart too long. To the extent that I am ready, I offer them forgiveness. To those who have caused me harm, I offer my forgiveness, I forgive you."

Let yourself gently repeat these three directions for forgiveness until you feel a release in your heart. For some great pains you may not feel a release but only the burden and the anguish or anger you have held. Touch this softly. Be forgiving of yourself for not being ready to let go and move on. Forgiveness cannot be forced; it cannot be artificial. Simply continue the practice and let the words and images work gradually in their own way. In time you can make the forgiveness meditation a regular part of your life, letting go of the past and opening your heart to each new moment with a wise loving-kindness. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
Let be. Let love.

faithfulfeathers posted 9/3/2016 11:29 AM

Thank you Hopefull77, this was much needed today.

hopefull77 posted 9/3/2016 12:30 PM

I am happy it helped you faithful! I especially love the last paragraph...

Peace

blakesteele posted 9/6/2016 15:53 PM

Forgiveness is an act of the will....chosen before you feel like it. What to feel like it and you will not forgive.

Forgiveness is an act of the will.....tap into Gods Spirit to accomplish it. Then trust God will come through with the healing necessary. He's healing me....I see it in my wife too.


VirginiaRegrets.......ugh, the idols I use to displace God. I believe that is one of the reasons my journey has multiple DD's and a lawyer involved. I see God allowed me to have the M I wanted......in part to show me how "small" that achievement was. Ugh....the stuff I settled for, the pride I had in my accomplishments. That all had to be imploded for me to gain wisdom and discernment. Impossible to find new ways when you believe your existing ways are spot-on.

It's not Gods will that adultery be chosen and families fractured.....but not all that happens on this fallen planet is Gods will.

We have a very real, very evil enemy....and it's not us.

hopefull77 posted 9/6/2016 21:41 PM

Jesus was crucified by his " enemies"...and then HE forgave them...I strive to be Christ like....and man is that a work in progress...notice I used the word progress...
I just don't WANT to be angry anymore...it gets me nowhere...God is not angry...maybe sad...but God NEVER. gives up on us...God LOVES us ALL...
That is my belief ...God wants ALL of His children with Him in Paradise...I personally am aiming for Paradise
peace

faithfulfeathers posted 9/7/2016 08:35 AM

Hopefull77:
Christ did die for all of us and I know I've said it before, but the balance is a struggle for me. My WH was told for a decade before dday that he was a child of God and just didn't know it yet. The hard part for me is fear that his awareness of my forgiveness will being taken advantage of. My focus through my marriage was sharing God's love with him so he could see he was loved. In that I lost sight of the fact that God loves me too and by not setting boundaries, I feel that it was not honoring God's love for me.

It's also very hard to separate for me, because I rarely get angry. Sadness overwhelms me, but isn't anger just a byproduct of sadness? Forgiveness doesn't seem to alleviate the sadness or hurt. Or am I doing something wrong?

This is something that brings a lot of confusion for me and Im working hard for clarity.

hopefull77 posted 9/7/2016 17:30 PM

We all struggle...its part of being human...look at mother Teresa and her struggles with faith...and now she is a saint! I totally understand the sadness ...how can we NOT be sad...but I am trying to redirect my thoughts by living in the now...
I found forgiveness "easier" than acceptance...because I could not and still have a hard time wrapping my head around my FWH's actions ...it is mind boggling ...
suffering is part of life...But so is happiness...choose to be happy about something today...it is easier to dwell in the negative and it takes work to try and be positive...
I just went on a work retreat...it was AMAZING...he said we all have a " file cabinet " with 2 drawers...the top is the negative drawer...the bottom is the positive drawer...its much easier to reach for that negative drawer because the bottom drawer requires us to bend over and reach way down to open....another thing he said which really hit me was "An EXPECTATION is premeditated RESENTMENT"...
is that not the truth or what!!! Simple example....if I come home after work and start dinner and realize no one unloaded the dishwasher....I can easily resent the fact that no one thought about unloading it and I can grumble about it for the rest of the night and file it in that Top Drawer!
I am working on shredding everything in that top drawer...its become a big pain my you know what....
peace everyone

PinkJeepLady posted 9/11/2016 08:44 AM

Thank you hopefull, great post! I hadn't thought of it that way but I think forgiveness was easier for me than acceptance too. Mind boggling for sure.

I tend to see things much more positively than my FWH who reaches that negative draw way too often. Interesting I thought of how each of our mothers were and how that might have impacted us. My mother is the queen of positive thinking and attitude. His mother is very pessimistic, always looking at the negative side of things. His mother sits in a nursing home hating life and everyone. She has no faith is God although she recently has listened to FWH share his faith with her. She let us pray with her last time we visited. My mother on the other hand has massive faith in God and has overcome much adversity in her life. She is happy, serves others and enjoys life.

I was taught to turn to God always, in struggles and successes. FWH was not so even though he is a believer, when things are bad he kind of freezes. Drives me crazy. He has job struggles at the moment and he is frozen. It consumes him and he still prays but closes off from me and others. I have to constantly point out the many good things in our life and the miracles God has given us. Surviving infidelity was a huge miracle.

But his negativity gets unbarable for me. I was visiting with my religious leader this week and when he asked me how things were going I just started crying. Hadn't planned on opening up about all that but if feels like God sent me someone who cares about me and understands me. My leader told me to keep praying and I will know what to do. I had told him I struggle with wondering if our marriage will make it. I came home and told FWH about this conversation. He listened and has been attentive and positive to me this weekend. Things are much better. Such a struggle.

I love Mother Teresa! I have several books about her and a lovely framed picture of her. It's been interesting to me to learn of her struggles. Thanks all for letting me share some stuff today. I appreciate reading your thoughts and stories. Praying for us all to have a peaceful day!

faithfulfeathers posted 9/13/2016 21:13 PM

Thank you for your response and insight Hopefull77. I've read and reread and tried to apply.

I find that finding something to be happy about comes easy for me, it's accepting that I have something in my life that I can't find the positive in that's hard.

Will spend some time looking into Mother Teresa and her life, thank you for mentioning her!

Praying for all here.

needfriendshere posted 9/15/2016 07:07 AM

Hopeful77,
Just read your forgiveness devotional. It is brilliant. I love the exercise of forgiving ourselves and for realizing there are people in our lives we have hurt as well. The exercise is a purging that we can all benefit from. It is like literally releasing poison from our bodies, minds, and hearts. One of my favorite quotes is "Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die".

We don't have to forget. In fact, that can be foolish and lead to complacency or carelessness (depending on who we are forgiving - ourselves or others). But letting go of the anger and bitterness. That is good medicine. Thank you for the post.
BTW, I keep you all in my prayers - every day!!

BrokenheartedWif posted 9/15/2016 20:29 PM

Reading a great new book by Lysa TerKeurst

Uninvited (Living Loved, When You Fell Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely)

It's not about infidelity, but boy does it speak to the feelings of rejection and How to learn to Live, Loved.

Knowing Who and Whose You are secure in God's Love.

hopefull77 posted 9/15/2016 20:51 PM

This guy/ priest has been HUGE in my healing...His name is Richard Rohr...look him up.....because of him I don't look up when I pray...because God is NOT out of our reach...He is within EVERYONE of us! How exciting is that!
I know God is not a " wish granter" He knows what we want...and He will give us what we need...
peace everyone...
Don't EVER give up on yourself.....EVER

Farfromhome5 posted 9/27/2016 04:15 AM

This is my first post. I recently found out that WH of 15 years had an affair two years ago. He assures me that it was wrong, he had turned from God and regrets it. There was no emotional aspect. I believe him. He has already changed, and I see God working through this situation for good.
But the pain and the hurt are still there. Last night I let the pain get a hold of me and I said some awful things. I regret the way I said things, but do not know if I would have been bold enough to say the things I said without my anger. I positive that he will not recall my words for a very long time, much like I will recall his infidelity.
Was I wrong to use harsh words? Is this normal?

Tornuplosttrust posted 9/27/2016 04:50 AM

I like the thought that forgiveness isn't about being a 'pushover' and just letting people do what they like and we will accept the hurt over and over again, it's about releasing those feelings of bitterness. Someone else on here said that expectations are the start of resentment or something along those lines, and I feel that when we expect others to do our healing for us (ie a wayward spouse making all of the effort to mend our broken hearts) then we are setting ourself up for resenting them when they fall short as we need to be the ones who move on from that bitterness and pain.

blakesteele posted 9/27/2016 08:18 AM

Welcome FarFromHome5.

Sorry you find yourself in this trial but am grateful you found SI.


Last night I let the pain get a hold of me and I said some awful things. I regret the way I said things, but do not know if I would have been bold enough to say the things I said without my anger. I positive that he will not recall my words for a very long time, much like I will recall his infidelity.
Was I wrong to use harsh words? Is this normal?

Look...we have a very real enemy. You fell to temptation and acted out in anger. You had and made a choice, but you were not alone in this. Adultery is the weapon of mass destruction against marriage and the family. And marriage and the family are God's greatest sources of strength for us....both can tend and grow our hearts unlike ANY OTHER part of life on this fallen world. And our hearts are the well spring of life. Any wonder satan is focused on destroying them? Any wonder why God sent his only son to restore our hearts?

BTW....your husband, my wife didn't give their hearts to others. Adultery is the strongest form of false-intimacy there is, but it is still false intimacy. To truly give your heart to another you must trust and be vulnerable with them, with no control measures in place (boundaries yes, but no control). Adultery is based on lies and control. All of the good feelings, none of the risk.....this is the temptation of all false-intimacies. What adultery does, versus what healthy marriage does, is harden and further close off your heart. My wife and I see more clearly now just how isolated and closed off she chose to allow her heart to get. Started innocently enough in childhood, then intentionally done through the choice of adultery.

Righteous anger is a real thing too....Jesus employed it within the temple, driving out the merchants with a whip. I failed to use it when i discovered my wife was actively engaging in adultery...even after DD 1. Passivity sucks.....Adam was passive in the garden when he saw Eve sinning, and it cost us all.

You aren't evil because you used harsh words, you were human and chose poorly. I mention this because there is a big difference between guilt and shame.

Guilt is realizing your made a bad choice.

Shame is believing you are a bad person.

Guilt has a very short shelf-life.....repent and move forward.

Also FWIW.....my mistakes have humbled me. Following those mistakes I find myself more open to learning then ever before.

"Give me a choice between coaching a team after they won the Superbowl or one that just experienced a catastrophic loss....and I'll take the losing team each time." Lou Holtz.

Why?

Cause they are more open to being coached than ever!

This helps me stay in the battle even after I make a poor\destructive choice.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:28 AM, September 27th (Tuesday)]

hihn posted 9/29/2016 22:01 PM

Just wanted to say hi to everyone here. I've been reading everyone's posts (some would consider it lurking lol)There is some good stuff being posted. Thought provoking stuff! But for some odd reason I keep thinking of some older posts of a few individuals where they described the beauty and tranquility of the nature scenes they saw out there windows. I remember steadychevy's in particular because my childhood had the farmlands in it. He described his nature scene beautifully and transported my mind back to my younger days back when life was much simpler. Does anyone here have a nature scene they would be willing to share. Perhaps something serene and peaceful that makes them feel close to God. Heck I wouldn't mind a repost of Steadychevy's nature scene. I guess what I'm asking for here is a nature scene fix, a little pick me up, if you would. Is anyone willing to indulge me?

[This message edited by hihn at 10:02 PM, September 29th (Thursday)]

steadychevy posted 9/30/2016 08:11 AM

Up this morning at 6:00. It's raining. Even though we have had quite a bit more rain than our long term average this year there is something comforting about the sound of rain on the roof.

I make my coffee and come to the office to read SI. First thread almost always is to see what is new in Support Through Prayer. I read your post, hihn.

I couldn't remember what forum I posted what you referred to. I thought it must be in Support Through Prayer so I went looking back. I think the posts of mine you are referring to are on Page 20 of this thread.

But a huge benefit for me. As I was going back I read a number of posts along the way. What compassion, caring, tenderness, strength, support, lifting up to the Lord I found. I don't usually go back in forums or threads very far but this morning it was very revealing to me. I read some things with an "o yeah, I remember that now". Sort of a re-tread, renewal. Something I needed. Wonder how that could ever happen?

Looking forward to responses to hihn. I believe there are sure signs of God and his creation everywhere. My piece of tranquility is here in a very rural, pastoral setting. For others it is entirely different. God is everywhere.

steadychevy posted 9/30/2016 08:49 AM

Going back as per the previous post, blakesteele, I found where you had mentioned Wild at Heart". I bought the book. I have now bought the field manual. I haven't started the field manual yet. I don't know if I will ever get to the bootcamp but will probably purchase the small group series. A belated thank you, blakesteele.

BrokenheartedWif posted 9/30/2016 09:21 AM

I love a picture we took the first time I every visited Yosemite National Park. It is a picture with a conifer tree on the left framing part of El Capitan and the sky. The picture includes half dome and bridal vail falls. I can see God every where in Nature from the dew on a blooming rose to the intricacies of a spider web. Yet Yosemite and the view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridal Vail Falls is a special one for me. The Granite reminds me of Gods strength and that He is my eternal Rock. Bridal vail reminds me that Jesus is the well of living water for my soul. And Half dome reminds me that we still have much beauty in spite of our scars and how life has battered us sheered off pieces of us. And to get to the location where this picture is taken, you have to drive through a very long tunnel, that without the artificial lights would be very dark, but then you emerge from the long tunnel into that magnificent view of God's creation.

hihn posted 9/30/2016 09:50 AM

I found your post Steadychevy on page 21 & reread it. It had the same effect on me as it did before. I thought I should share it.

I was up at 6 this morning reading on SI. My office window faces east. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The tall, green grass on the hillsides is gently waving. Way to the east a group of about 20 calves are loping around in a pack. When I go to the kitchen to get a coffee refill I look south through the picture window a mile to the next row of trees it is the same peaceful picture. Rolling hills of green grass. No cows or calves or yearlings or bull there because they are all east or north or west right now.

I live in paradise. This is God's creation. I'm so fortunate to live in this creation of the Lord. God provided the land and animals for the use of man. But with that use he also gave responsibility to be stewards. This is my use, enjoyment and comfort of God's creation. For others it is different. I was sitting here and just felt a need to share.

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