The Forgiveness Project.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you...For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?" - Matthew 5:44, 46. 

I am a hoarder.  I hoard control.  I hoard fear.  I hoard memories.  And I hoard hurt.  I clutch them so tightly and strangle my heart with them.  I have not discovered any particular reason why I do this other than I am human.  And being human gives me an allowance of doing one or two stupid things in life.

But because I hold on so tightly to these things, I've learned that we often hide our hearts behind them.  As nutty as it sounds, one day I simply woke up and said, "Lord, I'm tired of this.  I know it will be a process and it will have to be completely Your doing.  I will fail and will have to work at it every day.  But I need to let this go and move on with my life.  I need to forgive."

And so I began the Forgiveness Project.

I started out on an incredible journey that hasn't been easy, but has been so crazy that I had to share it.  Keep in mind that I didn't do everything all at once; forgiveness didn't come overnight.  It was not like some magic dust was sprinkled in my general vicinity and all was lollipops and sugar swirls.  It's something I've had to grow into.  I've had to continually claim forgiveness when, as Brandon Heath sings, the pain comes back again like a bitter friend.

My Forgiveness Project started out simple.  At first, I made a list of all of the people who had significantly hurt me and who I was having trouble forgiving.  After that, I created an index card for each individual.  I wrote their name on the top and then I wrote, very briefly, what they had done to hurt me.  For some, I simply listed items.  For others, I wrote it as if I were directly talking to the person.  I grew angry, hurt, and insecure all over again as I relived painful moments and ran my fingers along the edges of healing scars.  I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel in the moment, then took it all to God in honest and sincere prayer.

When I felt I was ready, I took a red marker and, on the opposite side of my scribbled words, I wrote the name of my Savior.  "JESUS" was written big and bold across each index card so that when I looked at these people and the surrounding situations, I would see Christ and His redeeming blood.  I then prayed over the index cards and spoke blessings upon those whose names graced the top.  Even if I did not mean them at first, my prayers soon became sincere and earnest.  As time passed, I no longer had to take out the cards.  If a certain situation arose, as one recently did, which would tempt me to relive the hurt, I would immediately begin praying and talking it through with God.

I have found that the Bible is speaking the truth when it says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  I've noticed that the less time I give my mouth to relay painful situations, the more restful my heart tends to be.  It has just been another realization in the learning process.  But as I've traveled down this road, I've picked up one vital truth.

We should rest so deeply in the love of Christ that we even love our enemies.  We should love them so much that when we think of them, His love blinds us to the pain they've caused.  

It's not easy.  It's incredibly difficult.  But I encourage you to take on a forgiveness project of your own.  Embrace this new year and make 2012 a time for becoming healthier in spirit and closer to the Father.  There is nothing more comforting than resting in His capable hands.


  1. I like this index card idea. I, too have been learning forgiveness, and I believe this will be of help to me. Thank you for your words.

  2. Forgiveness is difficult, but it is freeing. I pray that God blesses your journey!

  3. What a cool idea! I'm sure it hasn't been easy for you, as forgiving someone is never easy. We're a very selfish human race who only wants to do what is comfortable for us, so forgiving someone else is not an easy thing. But I'm glad you are in the midst of your project and in the midst of growing in Christ's love! Thanks for sharing.