how to forgive

I need help in forgiving my ex-husband. I have been praying about this, but I think I need additional prayer!! I have to get rid of this hatred that I have for him and I must forgive him. But, it is hard. We have been divorced for about eight years, and honestly I don’t really give him too much thought. But, I am in RCIA class and I have begun thinking about everything that I will have to confess during my first confession. I want to be able to really forgive him in my heart so that I can go thru confession and move forward in my spiritual growth. But, I don’t know how to get over the way he hurt me and our kids!! Right now, I absolutely hate him. I don’t want to go to a therapist to get over this, I want God to help me get over this. Any suggestions? Janice

Pray for the grace to want to forgive your ex.

Ask God to show you how he sees your ex (probably like a two-year old with dirty diapers [sin] as he see many of us a lot of the time).

Ask God to help you love your ex like God loves your ex.

[quote=jpowers]I need help in forgiving my ex-husband. I have been praying about this, but I think I need additional prayer!! I have to get rid of this hatred that I have for him and I must forgive him.
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Janice, wow, I am going through the very same thing with my ex husband and ex-boyfriend.

I find that those 2 men have hurt my beyond words, and I need to be healed. For several years, I thought I was healed, but God revealed to me that I was not.

So, here is what I have done to help. T.A.Stobie has hit the nail by asking God for healing specifically for your anger, hurt, unforgiveness in your heart. And each time I find myself thinking about them in an unkind way, or having self pity, or being angry about the offenses done to me, then I offer them to the Holy Spirit to take them away.

Sometimes I ask the Holy Spirit what seems like a million times a day for help. He always helps.

I also pray hard for these men, for their happiness and success - but most of all for God to convert them and soften their hearts.

Gob bless you Janice. God will take away your bitterness if you ask with a sincere heart.

[quote=jpowers]I need help in forgiving my ex-husband. I have been praying about this, but I think I need additional prayer!! I have to get rid of this hatred that I have for him and I must forgive him. want God to help me get over this. Any suggestions? Janice
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Don’t be too hard on yourself, Janice.
Some things are humanly impossible. We can’t forgive, by our own efforts. Only the grace of God can do it. Ask Him to do the forgiving on your behalf, so to speak. Say you WANT to be forgiving, but you can’t do it unless He does it for you! That sounds a bit unorthodox, maybe, but what God really wants to see from you is that you WILL to forgive him, but that you acknowledge your powerlessness.
And when the hateful thoughts come, don’t get too distressed, but try not to indulge them. Tell God “here I go again - I don’t want to hate him, I want to love and please YOU” and shift your focus on to God as quickly as you can, and as often as you need to, and sometimes the hate just melts away magically, even if temporarily. Anything is better than nothing!
You know how you can be stewing over something and the phone rings and at once your focus has shifted to what the phone call is about? You’ve forgotten what was bothering you (at least for a while, and sometimes completely). If you can shift your focus on to God (who dwells within you and who loves you so much more than you hate your ex-husband) you may be able to experience that same sense of freedom from obsessing thoughts. If you fail, no matter, try again … and don’t lose heart, ever.
The main thing is that you desire to forgive. Remember the prayer of the man in the gospel “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief”. Likewise you can pray “Lord, I do forgive [in my WILL], help my unforgiveness”

It might be helpful to understand what forgiveness is. I got this from the book Full of Grace by Johnnette Benkovic:

To forgive does not mean that we condone the hurtful behavior.
To forgive does not mean that our pain does not matter.
To forgive does not mean that everything is okay.
To forgive does not mean I should allow ill will toward me to continue.
To forgive does not mean I should stay in an abusive situation.
To forgive does not mean that I feel forgiveness.

It goes on to give steps toward forgiveness. Ask God for the desire to forgive. If that is too difficult we can ask for the desire to desire to forgive. This is an act of the will not the heart.

It’s helpful to know what forgiveness isn’t and that we are not just blowing off what happened. And it is freeing to not hold someone in “spiritual bondage”.

If you have RealAudio you can listen to an archived show of “The Abundant Life” on forgiveness here. Scroll down to 18.

I attended a retreat called Healed in the Spirit run by Sacred Heart priests, assisted by lay team who was into charismatic movement. first time I ever heard the entire rationale and process of forgiveness. It is not a one time thing, it is process that includes grieving, and several well defined steps, and like grief, takes time, and cannot be rushed. Look into it or into books on healing and forgiveness, Fr. McNutt is one good writer on this topic.

There have been a lot of good suggestions here. I hope and pray that you will resolve your hate.

I have found when in a similar situation that even though I was the “hurt” party, I played a role in which I attempted to hurt back. It was only when I (mentally) apologized for my reactions was I able to then forgive the person (who was dead by then).

So even if your husband hurt you 100,000 times more than you hurt him, you probably tried to exact revenge and get back at him. In your healing process spend some time reviewing your actions and ask him for forgiveness (mentally, if you can’t talk to him).

I’ll pray for you both.

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