Daily Thought For January 28, 2015

Overcoming Long-Term Unforgiveness

Luskin proposes a system for those who have struggled for a long time with unforgiveness. 

1. The preliminary step is to take responsibility for how you feel. You cannot let the world dictate to you how you should feel. True, your feelings are often influenced by what takes place around you, but you need not be dominated by those feelings. You can choose to reject harmful feelings and pursue healthy ones. 

2. Having done that, refocus your thoughts away from the things that have made you angry to some very positive thoughts. For example, thank God for the beautiful weather or for the ability to read or to buy things you need. Thank him for your spouse or your children or for a wonderful day or a magnificent sunset. You might think of people you have forgiven or speak to others about their forgiveness experiences. Or read about those who have forgiven great injustices. Or think about times you were loved or when you loved someone well.  These are some things Christians should do often, whether they struggle with unforgiveness or not. 

3. Luskin encourages people to refocus their attention from the injustice they endured to a "positive intention." What is it that you really want? Is it the return of a lost love, or is it to have a good, strong relationship with someone? If it is the latter, then it's time to forget the lover who jilted you. You can move on and pursue your real goal. 

The point is that unforgiveness makes you focus on the wrong thing —your grievances. Enlist your family and friends to help you overcome this. Ask them to tell you when you overdo your "grievance story." Until you can let go of your grievances completely, set a limit on the time you spend on thinking about them; you might, for instance, give yourself just a few moments each day to reflect on an injustice you endured.  By focusing instead on what you really want in life, beyond the unfortunate things that happened in the past, you begin to emerge free from a debilitating negativity and hopelessness. You can get beyond what is holding you back from growing, from finding joy in life again. 

from Overcoming Sinful Anger—How to Master Your Emotions & Bring Peace to Your Life by Reverend T.G. Morrow p.30-32

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