Forgiving a Person Who Is No Longer Alive Part II
"Don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for [unresolved] anger gives a foothold to the devil."1
Yesterday in answering Jamie's question on how to forgive her mother who had died, we discussed her need to express her pent-up negative emotions of hurt and anger to make forgiveness possible. One way to resolve her anger was to write to her mother as if she were still alive and express these feelings to her.
Another way to resolve anger is to go for a drive in your car, park in a safe place, turn your radio on fairly high, and talk to your mother as if she were right there in the car with you, and express all your hurt and angry feelings to her. You may also need to do this a number of times.
Another way to get your anger off your chest is (when you are home alone) to sit down and place an empty chair in front of you and pretend your mother is sitting in that chair and express all your hurt and angry feelings to her—or read your letter to her.
If you feel you can't do this or that you might go out of control, I suggest that you see a qualified, professional counselor* who can help you to get all of your painful feelings off your chest. Once you are confident that you have done this, forgiveness becomes much easier and is a choice ... so tell your mother you forgive her.
Remember too, as William Walton put it, "To carry a grudge [unforgiveness] is like being stung to death by one bee."
One more suggestion. It may help to do what I once did. After resolving most of my negative feelings towards my father whom I felt had rejected me, I went alone to his graveside and sat there for a couple of hours "talking to him" as if he were alive. This, too, I found to be very freeing.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You have created me with emotions that put sparkle into life. Please help me to find a safe way to express all my negative feelings and to freely forgive any and all who have ever hurt me as You have freely forgiven me for all my sins and failures—so I can move on to live a full and productive life for Your glory. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT).
*NOTE: If you live in North America you could telephone the Narramore Christian Foundation for the name of a Christian counselor in your area. Call 1-800-477-5893 and press "1" for Dianne and she should be able to help you. Or go to www.actsweb.org/counseling_resources.php for counseling resources.