This post is Part 7 in an 8-part blog series on forgiveness. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.)
In Part 7, I want to talk to you about committing to forgiveness.
We are getting near the end of this blog series, and if you have been working through the exercises in each blog post, I’m guessing you have made some progress toward forgiveness. You may have experienced quite a bit of change in your emotions toward the person who hurt you. Perhaps you are beginning to feel more at peace when you think about what happened.
Today I want to encourage you to do something physical with your body to indicate your commitment to forgiveness. Often we try to change things in our lives just by thinking about them. Sometimes this works, but sometimes we think a lot but still don’t see much actual change in our feelings or behaviors. Sometimes it helps to actually do something physical with your body related to the change you want to make. That’s the idea behind today’s blog post and the exercises I list below. We’ve been doing quite a bit of work on forgiveness, and I would like you to try to do something physical with your body to help anchor that work. Here are three practical things you could do to indicate your commitment to forgive.
- Write a certificate of forgiveness. Take out a blank sheet of paper. Across the top, write the words “Certificate of Forgiveness.” Then in the body of the paper, write the date and a statement of forgiveness. For example, “On April 20, 2015, I, Joshua Hook forgive [person] for [hurtful thing they did].” Then sign your name.
- Hand washing exercise. Take a pen or marker and write a description of the hurt on your hand. Then go to the bathroom and wash the description of the hurt off your hand. Commit to forgiveness as you wash your hand. Sometimes (depending on the type of pen or marker you used), not all of the writing gets removed in one washing. This can be understood as a picture of forgiveness as a process that occurs over time, rather than a one-time event.
- Write a letter expressing forgiveness. Write a letter expressing forgiveness to the person who hurt you. You do not have to actually give this letter to the person. Rather, writing the letter is a chance for you to express your thoughts and feelings toward the person, and write out a commitment to forgiveness. You can keep this letter as a reminder of your forgiveness.
Action Step: Pick at least one of the three exercises and do it. Note any thoughts or feelings you have as you do something physical with your body reflecting your forgiveness work.