Heal Thyself? It Might Be Easier Than You Think
We talked about this article by Annie Holmquist on the radio show the other day and it has stayed with me since. I loved the mention of a “Joseph moment” in the article. I've never had it put that way.
To sum up, Joseph was sold in to Egypt by his brothers in an act of betrayal. He suffered much affliction in captivity, but was able to endure that and turned desperation in to prosperity, rising to a place of prominence. So much so, that his brothers, now in desperate straits of their own, came to Joseph seeking relief.
Not recognizing their once cast aside brother gave Joseph a chance to extract his pound of flesh. That certainly would have been a justifiable action. How many of us wronged by another have sought ways to get our retribution? But Joseph chose a different reaction that I think can be beneficial to us. He forgave his brothers.
I've wondered why he would do that. Based on my own experience, and reading accounts from others, I may have have discovered Joseph's motivation. In Joseph's forgiveness, he was actually healing himself.
The healing power of forgiveness is a profound and transformative force that can bring solace, liberation, and renewal to both individuals and relationships. It is a process that involves letting go of anger, resentment, and the desire for revenge, and choosing to release the emotional burdens that weigh us down.
Forgiveness is not about condoning or forgetting the hurtful actions of others. It is a personal choice to free ourselves from the shackles of negativity and reclaim our own inner peace. When we forgive, we release the grip of bitterness, resentment, and grudges that poison our hearts and minds.
Forgiveness has a profound impact on our mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. It allows us to break free from the cycle of negativity and victimhood, empowering us to reclaim control over our lives. By forgiving, we shift our focus from the past to the present, enabling us to embrace the present moment and open ourselves to new possibilities.
Moreover, forgiveness fosters empathy and compassion. It enables us to understand the complex humanity of others, recognizing that we are all fallible and capable of making mistakes. Through forgiveness, we cultivate a deeper sense of empathy, not only for others but also for ourselves. It helps us develop a greater capacity for self-love and self-acceptance, acknowledging that we too are deserving of forgiveness. And that's a key.
Forgiveness also has the power to mend broken relationships. It opens the door to reconciliation, enabling bridges to be rebuilt and wounds to be healed. By choosing forgiveness, we create an opportunity for growth, understanding, and the restoration of trust. Just ask Joseph, or more particularly, ask his brothers.
Forgiveness is not always easy. I can speak to this from one of my own personal “Joseph moments.” A few years before we moved to Cedar City, I was working for a radio station in Salt Lake City that was abruptly taken off the air, and all of us were dismissed. Facing unemployment and in a bit of a desperate situation I was in a panic mode wondering how I would provide for my family.
I obtained some part time work very quickly, but it would not be enough to support us. While I was working at my part time job, one of my former colleagues, who had also been dismissed, came in to talk with me and said that he had been talking to another broadcast organization, and that this now group was going to pick up our old format and bring all of us back. “Couple weeks” he told me and we'll all be back to work. Well that wouldn't be too bad, and we could get through that.
So I waited. And waited. The couple of weeks came, and the station was back on the air. I wasn't. My call after call to my former colleague went unanswered. When he finally did respond to me, it was simply I'm sorry, but I decided to hire someone else. Click.
So I was back in that desperate situation again, now with no answers, and in this situation because, at least from my standpoint, betrayal from someone I considered a friend.
Well, now fast forward about 6 months. I had found a series of part time jobs that mostly kept the lights on, and then had obtained a full time position that would get us back to some normalcy. We had dug a pretty good hole while I was stringing things together, but at least now, it looked like we had a path forward.
About, this time, that former colleague called me up and said, “hey look, things haven't worked out with the other person I hired. Would you please come and talk with me, and let's get you back on the station.”
Would I come talk to him? Absolutely! I was soooo anxious to come see him. At the end of our meeting, he would have been better off going through a nuclear detonation. I was on my way to our meeting, loaded for bear and ready to give my colleague both barrels. But while I was driving I had just a undeniable impression hit me that was, in effect, “you need to let this go.”
What?!!? I owed this guy and I was going to give it to him! But the impression just kept coming stronger and stronger until I had to submit to it. And as I did, as I forgave, there was such a cleansing experience that went through me that was so purifying it really can't be described.
I met with my colleague, thanked him sincerely for the invitation, but then kindly told him I felt good in the situation I was in and felt that I should stay there, but if I could offer any help or assistance he should not hesitate to call. And, I believe, we parted with a healed friendship.
But if not that, I know, at the very least, I was healed.
Forgiveness requires courage, vulnerability, and self-reflection. It is a journey that may take time and effort, and it is a deeply personal process that varies for each individual. It may involve seeking support from loved ones, therapists, or spiritual guides.
Without question however, forgiveness holds immense healing power. It liberates us from the burdens of the past, nourishes our emotional well-being, and allows us to cultivate empathy and compassion. By embracing forgiveness, we embark on a transformative journey that leads to personal growth, healthier relationships, and a more peaceful existence.
Like Joseph, we heal ourselves.