I know, my fingers trembled as I typed that word “premature!” WHAT on earth could be premature about forgiveness you might be asking, probably with a tone of dismay? I know.
I’ve always (well maybe not always) believed that forgiveness was a good thing and needed to be done quickly. The longer you hold on the longer you hurt yourself by keeping those poisonous toxic feelings of hurt, anger, guilt, hostility, etc, etc. I know.
I still believe that – the sooner the better when it comes to forgiveness.
BUT…that’s only if it’s the real deal: If you are really forgiving yourself or someone else, better today than tomorrow. The operative word in that last sentence is “really.” Is it really forgiveness? Or is it some look-alike that can trick you into thinking you’re done with a situation when you’re really not so done? Perhaps the grudge is still a weight on your back?
Premature forgiveness is the kind of “forgiveness” that doesn’t last and that’s probably because it’s being granted for the wrong reasons.
Here are some warning signals that you may be forgiving prematurely:
- You’re forgiving to get someone to stop talking about and/or asking you for it
- Or, because you know it’s the thing to do, you believe it so you say to yourself “self, I forgive you for all the wrongs you have done…” BUT the words are not backed up by either action or deep emotional alignment
- You don’t feel forgiven – evidence of shame and guilt is still apparent
- You don’t feel lighter after telling someone you forgive them
- You still think of them with anger or cold indifference – the grudge is alive and well
- You are unable to pray for them and wish them well
- You say you’ll forgive so the person (or people who know) would think you are a good and spiritual person
- The pain is still raw from the violation and the anger has not been worked through sufficiently
- You visualize the wrong being done and get upset all over again
- Your heart is just not in it!
If even just one of these 10 red flags resonate with you then slow down a bit and be still. Reflect, pray, meditate and take some deep breaths. Forgiveness is a decision that has to be backed by daily renewal until the wound is thoroughly cleaned and you are light with love. It is an act of love (primarily for yourself) and cannot be engaged in through a sense of guilt, obligation or coercion.
Grant it when your heart is in alignment and your thoughts and emotions are in full support. Anything less than that and you are slowing the healing process by stifling your true feelings.
Wishing you a life of love, peace and grace,