Forgiving yourself and forgiving others can be challenging,
particularly if you have been addicted to drugs and alcohol and are embarrassed
or ashamed by some of the things you’ve done. That’s the beauty of forgiveness,
though. It allows you to move past the mistakes and wrongdoings and move
forward toward a healthier future. For Christians in addiction treatment and recovery,
it’s important to understand the Biblical meaning of forgiveness as well.
Forgiveness is Important in Recovery
The 12-Step program refers to making amends to others in
Steps 8 and 9. According to the publication, Twelve Steps and Twelve
Traditions, these two steps are “concerned with personal relationships.”
In part, the goal is to “consider how, with our newfound knowledge of
ourselves, we may develop the best possible relations with every human being we
step, in particular, demands a new kind of honesty about your relationships
with others. It begins with the procedure of forgiving others as well as forgiving
yourself as you learn how to live in the world without the substances to which
you were once addicted. You can be assured that you are ready and willing for
this step when you can apologize to others and decide to replace your judgment
of others, particularly if they have hurt you at some point, with attitudes of
mercy and forgiveness.
During these steps, you are not just forgiving and making
amends with friends or family members, but also with those whom you consider to
be “enemies.” Humility is a critical part of forgiveness. It is now your
responsibility to forgive others, including your enemies, and apologize for
your own wrongdoing.
The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness serves to release
your feelings of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has harmed you. It is
a conscious, deliberate decision that you make as you progress through your
recovery from addiction. You are not deciding whether anyone deserves your forgiveness.
You are also not excusing any real offenses against you.
Relationships can become seriously damaged when you are
addicted to drugs or alcohol. Through forgiveness, you are taking a step toward
repairing that damage. It will also bring you peace of mind as it frees you
from your pent-up anger toward the other person. You cannot truly forgive
someone if you are still harboring negative feelings toward them. Forgiveness
gives you the power to recognize the pain someone else has caused you without
letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal emotionally and mentally.
An Important Part of Christianity
Forgiving yourself, asking for forgiveness from others, and
showing forgiveness to others are important aspects of
your Christianity. The Bible says that you are to follow the example of Jesus,
who taught you that you should forgive. Part of what this means is that you are
to let go of the negative feelings that come with bearing a grudge against
Your feelings of hatred and anger can cause harm to you as
well as to the other person. Jesus has taught you to basically let those feelings
go. In fact, as you reach out to others with compassion, you release those
feelings of resentment in an act of Christian love.
This is, in essence, what the Biblical meaning of
forgiveness is, that you should let go of those feelings of hatred and anger
toward someone whom you feel has wronged you. Just as you ask God for forgiveness
when you have done something wrong, so you should be willing to forgive others
when they have done something against you. Jesus taught that you should love your
enemies and pray for those who persecute you. You cannot do this while holding onto
harmful feelings of anger and revenge.
Bible Verses About Forgiveness
As you work on forgiveness in your addiction recovery, keep
in mind these helpful and inspirational words
from the Bible:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not,
and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” — Luke
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have
anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive
you your trespasses.” — Mark 11:25
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, as God in Christ forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:32
“The Lord has forgiven you, so you also must
forgive.” — Colossians 3:13
California Faith-Based Drug Addiction Treatment
To get help overcoming drug addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our
faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team helps men and women break the
cycle of addiction and begin anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ,
along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.