I can’t claim to have already overcome, but I am growing fruit through the overcoming process. Through this process I have discovered that it is easier to forgive hurts from the past than it is to forgive hurts happening in the present. This is true for me because I’ve learned how to separate myself from the past. However, I have not mastered separating myself from my present. And to forgive in the present requires me to make decisions today that demonstrate forgiveness. This means I have to live in ways that will make me vulnerable to continual hurt. I can’t build walls of protection when I know from experience that more wounds are most likely coming my way. Maybe you’re arguing with me about my right for boundaries. If so, my response proposes a different definition for boundaries. Boundaries should not be put in place for the purpose of protecting myself from hurt. Those boundaries have never proven successful for me because I still feel hurt when people are hurtful. Rather, boundaries should be used as a means for not allowing people’s hurtful behaviors to change who I am — to define my response behaviors. They should be used as a means for overcoming hurt rather than preventing hurt. Since I am human, my instinct is to protect myself, so I tend to engage in self-preservation behavior when I feel threatened. Thus, though I sometimes behave as a fighter, I usually build walls, pull back, become quieter — I retreat into my introverted personality bubble. However, while I can’t (and shouldn’t try to) change my personality type, I can make efforts to shift from letting my personality weakness shine to letting my personality strength shine. But this shift has to to come through God’s work in me because I will fail if I try to shift it myself.
Forgiveness is a decision. It's choosing to not bring up other people's wrong doing for vindictive purposes. It's loving people even when they make loving them difficult. It's being willing to give the same grace to them that I realize I need for myself. Thus, I have found forgiveness to be a very difficult challenge.
Forgiving others does not come naturally, rather, it is learned through Him teaching. And my learning from Him teaching happens through my daily relational conversations with Him. Forgiveness requires me to be brave enough to let His strength be made perfect in my weakness.