Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Although the authorship of Ephesians is up for debate, the main theme of this early church letter is:
Christians! Make it work!
Sometimes it is hard to imagine something working once it has been broken. Whether it is an object, a situation, or a relationship, cracks of hurt, betrayal, and anger can render the once beloved as obsolete. Without value. Dead. When this happens we have a few choices: a. hold a funeral. b. replay the hurt over and over to ourselves and anyone who will listen. c. make it work...or, as the author of Ephesians would suggest, forgive.
This last course of action can be pretty complicated, especially if we’re talking about relationships instead of dinner plates. Our feelings can be hurt. The hurting might be an ongoing process. We might feel justified in our anger. We may be overwhelmed by the thought that this person we had trusted could do something so egregious.
The thought of forgiving another person (or group of people) may cause us anxiety.
“If I forgive them then they will have gotten away with “it”.
“I can’t forgive them or I will appear weak.”
“They need to suffer like they have made me suffer.”
“I can never forget what they did to me.”
The nice thing about tapping prayer is that when we apply it to forgiveness, none of the above is likely to happen.
“But won’t I be vulnerable if I forgive....
the guy who cut me off in traffic? the ex who won’t leave me alone? the bully who hurt my kid? the Marathon bombers?”
I would argue with the author of Ephesians, that to the contrary, forgiveness can make us strong. It can give us the strength of kindness, and tenderness. It can allow us to draw from that spiritual energy instead of being drawn down by anger and hatred. Talk about toxic waste! Carrying a bag of that stuff can make you vulnerable! The good news is that tapping prayer allows us to forgive without forgetting. Tapping prayer allows you to let go of the bag and grow in the strength of God’s love.
If you are ready to try option C, choose something that you are having trouble forgiving. Say, “I have trouble forgiving.......” and fill in the blank with whatever it is that you are holding on to. On a scale of 0-10, how true is that statement? Write that number down on a piece of paper. The number is called a Subjective Unit of Distress (SUD). You will refer to it after you pray.
If you are new to tapping prayer, check out the basics by reading this article. When you are ready, please take responsibility for your participation in tapping prayer, and let’s pray:
Karate Chop: Dear God, I am wary of this particular tapping prayer. I am afraid that if I let go of the thing I can’t forgive, I will fall apart...or hurt someone...or get hurt. I need you to gently heal this fear and anger I have been holding on to. Help me release this toxin so that I can feel your peace and strength coursing through my soul. Right now I am at a SUD of.....because I have trouble forgiving............
Even though I have trouble forgiving.......I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God. Even though I can’t let go of my feelings around forgiving.......I am completely loved and deeply accepted by God. Even though I’m having a hard time forgiving.......I am your beloved child who you care for and love every minute of every day.
Top of head: It’s difficult to forgive......
Eyebrow: i have so much hurt.
Outer eye: I have so much anger.
Under eye: I’m feeling bitter.
Under nose: I might feel afraid.
Under lip: I am too afraid to forgive.
Collarbone: It’s too hard to let go of what......did.
Underarm: I can’t forgive......... for...................
Wrists: I have a right to feel these feelings.
Top of head: Even though it’s hard to forgive.......I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Eyebrow: I wonder why that happened?
Outer eye: I’m so ticked off that.........did that!
Under eye: My feelings are so strong about this.
Under nose: My feelings might be holding me captive.
Under lip: I wonder what it would take to be free of the anger? free of the hurt? free of the bitterness? free of the fear?
Collarbone: Even though I have these strong feelings around forgiving......I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Underarm: It’s so hard to forgive............
Wrists: Forgiving...............seems impossible.
Top of head: Even though it seems impossible to forgive......I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Eyebrow: I guess I am stronger than God if I can create something that is impossible to do.
Outer eye: I don’t feel safe with all of this power.
Under eye: I choose to feel safe.
Under nose: Perhaps God can make the impossible possible?
Under lip: …....doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.
Collarbone: I don’t deserve to be forgiven. I can consider forgiving.........
Underarms: Even though I consider forgiving.......I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Wrists: I consider that God forgives........for............
Top of head: Even though it is difficult to forgive.......... I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Take a deep breath.....and thank you God for sending your Spirit to the places in me that are hurting the most around forgiving........... Hold me as I reflect on your healing...Amen.
Try saying: It is difficult to forgive........” and then check your SUD. Has it gone up? Down? Stayed the same? If it has gone up, what issues are driving that movement? Try applying tapping prayer to those specific issues until they come down to a 0-2. The more specific your prayer, the more likely it is that you will begin to feel peace. If your SUD has gone down, the Holy is moving you in the direction of a tender heart and kindness. Note any shifts in your spirit and record them so that you can track God’s movement in your life.
When we invite God into the process of forgiving, we often discover new possibilities for ourselves and for those who have hurt us. Some of these possibilities may lead to a renewed relationship. Some of the spirit’s promptings may give us the strength to walk away from a situation that is not healthy for us to be a part of. Forgiveness liberates us. Forgiveness can make us strong. Forgiveness can lead to something...beautiful.
ps. Check out the THURSDAY THUMP: prayer tapping on pain.