Mend Your Heart by Forgiving Their Hurt
“He destroyed our family. How could I ever forgive him?” – Gina’s heart was broken by her husband’s addiction. She was filled with bitterness at the hurt he had caused. Her anger had grown over the years until it was all-consuming. She wondered if this resentment controlled her as much as Michael’s alcoholism controlled him.
Gina isn’t alone. Neither are you. Millions of hearts suffer each day with the pain and sorrow created by addiction. Those same hearts also struggle with forgiveness.
Is it even possible to forgive them?
Suffocating a Wildflower
While it might seem impossible, forgiving your loved one is even more important for you than for them. It’s your heart that will be choked by resentment if you can’t let it go.
Picture this: A beautiful flowering bush sits at the edge of your garden. One day, you notice the blooms aren’t as full and bright as they used to be. A week or so goes by and you see that they are now shriveling and dying. Before long, the bush is a wreck. What was once gorgeous has become an eyesore – decrepit and diseased.
You decide to take a closer look and your inspection reveals a creeping weed is growing up inside the bush. It’s made its way in and around the branches and blooms, literally choking the once beautiful bush. You set to work, ripping out this invader. Leaf by leaf and limb by limb, you tear it all out. A few days later, your flowering bush is back to its former beauty.
Unforgiveness is like this creeping plant. It works its way into your heart and, if not dug out by the roots, continues growing until it takes over. It will stifle your joy, your peace and your life.
We Need an Effective Weed Killer
To rid your heart of bitterness and resentment, try the following methods:
- Educate YourselfDo you have a good understanding of addiction? If you haven’t been there yourself, it’s difficult to grasp what your loved one is going through. Caught in a cycle of addiction, he’s doing things that hurt you, without that intention. Learn more about addictive behaviors and how to cope with them – this new perspective helps loosen the hold of bitterness.
- Write a Love LetterYou’re angry, but you feel that strongly because you love him. Write a letter expressing how much you care for him and the reasons you love him. You can give it to him…or just keep it for yourself. Either way, when the choking plant of unforgiveness tries to creep in, you can go back to this letter to remind yourself how important he is to you.
- Don’t Wait for ChangeDon’t wait for your loved one to change, you do the changing. You need to establish new boundaries, but don’t make your forgiveness conditional on his sobriety or repentance. Go ahead and forgive him, regardless of the situation. Forgive first; hope for the best for him afterwards. Even if he’s never free from the prison of addiction, you will be free from yours.
- Keep Checking the RootsIt would be nice if you could pull out the suffocating weed once, leaving you to enjoy a beautiful blooming bush from then on. Unfortunately, you have to keep going back. That weed can easily creep back in if you aren’t careful. You must continually choose the process of forgiveness. As you perform a daily check on your heart for bitterness – removing any you find there – you cultivate a heart of forgiveness.
When Addiction and Divorce Collide
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