As a creative writer, it’s hard to type this, but imagine yourself as a garden. Because this is the point in the series where the often-used symbols of seeds, plants, and fruits come in. Now that you’ve written your list and the offences of others, consider the process of how unforgiveness is planted, takes root and comes to fruition.
The “Flowering” Process of Unforgiveness:
- Seed/Inciting Incident of hurt occurs:
The initial instance of hurt is the seed. These seeds of unforgiveness are planted in our spirits. They are intended to grow into fruit bearing plants. Plants that will stifle our emotional peace, relationships and progression spiritually and naturally. The ultimate enemy of our lives fully intends to nurture these plants–keep them alive, healthy, and actively bearing fruit. I’ll discuss this in the next part of the series.
- Our lack of not addressing our hurt leads to the plant’s growth and it comes to fruition in our lives. Every day our actions, thoughts and mentality are directed by unforgiveness and unresolved anger and hurt.
(If we are not intentional with the act of forgiveness.) We live out unforgiveness—in how we treat others, and in how we treat ourselves. In how we take care of our bodies and minds. We suffer internally and externally, and apathetically engage in self-destructive or dysfunctional behavior. Our lives and decisions are evidence of that unforgiveness. We become offenders ourselves—we perpetuate the cycle of unforgiveness and hurt in others.
- The plant remains present and fruit bearing. When we passively “forgive” we often believe that over time the hurt will go away. We may not even identify the need to actively forgive because “it’s not really a big deal.” Conversely, we may have consciously made the choice to not forgive.
- We can trim back unforgiveness and its fruits “with time,” with therapy, or even confronting our offender, but the roots of it remain. In certain seasons it can reappear, causing us to think: I thought I was over that. And we may be unaware that the fruits of that initial incident are still being acted out our lives.
We have to cut off unforgiveness at the roots. We have to seek out and remove unforgiveness completely from our lives with radical forgiveness. Radical forgiveness is an intentional, active and ongoing process, and it involves you opening your mouth and saying out loud that you forgive.
Write down the ways in which unforgiveness and hurt has affected you. Can you identify the fruits or effects of unforgiveness in your own life, over time? I’ve made a list below based on my own experience.
|The “Fruits” of Hurt & Unforgiveness and Effects|
|A virulent anger, intrusive thoughts, self-blame, an inability to fully enjoy or be satisfied with life, fear, dysfunction, darkness. Making excuses for dysfunction: not holding myself or others accountable.|
|General distrust within relationships, fear of rejection, inability to be truest self. Fear of betrayal. Occasional overwhelm with additional realizations of past hurts. Ways of relating to my children, spouse, friends, and colleagues. Power struggles.Assigning/conflating characteristics of authority figures with God—limiting/cutting off my relationship/spiritual development and trust in God.|
|Nervousness, anxiety, fear of rejection, distrust, unwillingness to be vulnerable or open, self-directed anger, passive anger, aggressive anger and trying to hurt or attack others, avoidance. A feeling of not quite being connected, not quite belonging.|
|Callousness, suspicion, judgement, dislike, prejudice, hopelessness, and overwhelming emotions.|