Forty Days of Forgiveness
Several years ago after I had been through an experience that left me deeply wounded, changed, and angry. I wanted to be able to let go of my anger and be able to interact with the people who had hurt me in a healthy, loving way. I knew that I needed to forgive and to heal. I committed to spend 40 days working through the issues I was facing.
I picked out a special journal in which to record my journey toward healing and forgiveness and divided it into four sections.
Section one included pages to ponder four different subjects that would help me see life in a healthier way. “Dreams” came first. I had stopped dreaming and I needed to see that the future held hope and promise. “Thanksgiving” came second. Taking time each day to list one thing for which I was thankful, would turn my thoughts away from what I considered to be unfair and painful, and remind me of the blessings God had given me. Because my experience had left me raw and feeling defeated, “compliments or accomplishments” was my third subject. I wanted to keep a list of positive things people had said about me or things that I had done that I felt good about. Lastly, I included “confident because . . . “ and listed reasons I had to feel confident. Here I focused on what the Bible has to say about who we are in Christ.
Section two included pages for each person, including myself, whom I needed to forgive. Each day I wrote the date under each person’s name, the offense for which I wanted to forgive them followed by a positive quality. I allowed myself to forgive the same offense more than once, because often the same issue reappeared time and again. However, I would not use the same positive quality more than once. This stretched my thinking, and helped to remind me that despite how I felt, each person had positive qualities and had been made in the image of God.
Section three contained pages for each day of my 40 day journey. I wrote the day and the number of the day of my journey (ie. January 1, 2006 – Day 1) at the top of the page. I prayed about topics God had led me to at the beginning of my journey. I poured out my heart to God and worked through my issues.
In the final section, I left space to record things I learned and experienced during my journey. I wrote brief summary statements so that I could remember those things I wanted to incorporate into my life.This 40 day journey through prayer and processing brought about deep healing as I forgave myself and others and began to see the bigger picture of what God had for me.