I’ve always felt that the word “forgive” is overused and misconstrued. I understand why everyone says it and encourages it, it’s for our own good really. Even if the bible doesn’t require us to forgive unrepentive people, we should still do it for our own personal peace.Forgiveness, to me, is a pact between oneself and God. It’s humbling yourself, removing your hands from the other person’s throat, turning them over to God, saying, “I have faith in your word, I will not take matters in my own hands”. It’s releasing them; letting that person go.
It doesn’t mean they’re not held accountable. They are 100% accountable for their actions. Their choices and their behaviors. They are theirs and theirs alone. Forgiveness is simply choosing to wash your hands of the situation. It’s refusing a spiritual attachment to the offense they’ve committed against you.
I have heard people say “If you are still angry, you have not truly forgiven”. I don’t agree.
Whenever something or someone is taken from you, whether it be by death, robbery or mistreatment, one of the emotions that accompanies that loss is anger. This is for everyone in life, and in all situations. Anger is a natural response to loss. You can’t help it and it wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t feel it.
The key here is in how you deal with your anger, how long you process it, and how long you allow it to permeate within your soul. It’s a natural part of the grieving process so until you move past your loss, you’re going to feel angry, even if you’ve chosen to remove your hands from their throat and you’re not, in any way, seeking revenge (forgiveness).
Anger arises when you’re not able to control your loss. Someone stole from you. Someone raped you, molested you as a child. Someone died. You got fired from your job. These are all things you have no control over. You are powerless and they make you mad but you can still forgive by refusing to get even.
If the anger you feel is directed towards the loss you’ve suffered, then yes, you can absolutely forgive and still be angry.
On the other hand, if you direct your anger toward your offender, then, no, you cannot forgive and still remain angry. Being angry at your offender is a form of retaliation and that is the opposite of forgiveness. People feel the need to even the score and can’t rest until they do. This is what gets people into trouble, causing them to waste years getting back at someone, even if it’s just wishing them harm in their mind.
If you’ve given up the right to get even with your offender, that’s forgiveness. If your loss still hurts, that’s normal anger that will exist as long as you feel the loss. As you come to accept the loss and move on with your life, the anger will slowly dissipate.
The trick to moving on with your life is to stop looking to your offender to restore what they took from you and solve all your problems. That will never happen and in return you will continue to feel angry because you will be faced with that loss, repeatedly, over and over again.
So, if you direct your anger towards just the loss you incurred from the offense, then yes: you can absolutely forgive and still be angry.
Turn your attention from them and to God. Ask God to restore what was lost and to make you whole again. Your life may never be the SAME, but it can still be full and fruitful if God fills you back up.
Here is a prayer:
Bless those that have been used to humble my flesh towards You. Grant me godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9) that I might repent from holding hidden grudges and feeling sorry for myself. I freely give room for your wrath and/or mercy towards those who have hurt me, You decide. Help me to know when to escape and when to stay. Teach me to examine myself first and not the one that seems to be pressuring me. Give me the courage to believe You are just. Deliver me from any and all tormentors.
Want to read more of Kerri’s journey in healing? Check out these post:
The Essence of a Little Girls Loneliness and Pain
Love Letter to the Wounded child Inside
Toxic Family Members > God says “Walk Away”
Thank You for Causing Me So Much Pain
Toxic Family Members – 10 ways to Rescue & Save Yourself
My Mothers Legacy of Shame – An Open Letter – From Me, the Daughter She Didn’t Protect
Choose Your Company Wisely
© Kerri Bishop Reece | Kerri Chronicles