What do fear and forgiveness have in common? It’s simple. When we let go of fear, we can learn to forgive. Finding the path from fear to forgiveness can change your life.
Anger, hate, and fear are all inter-connected. When we are angry at someone, it’s often a reflection of our own fear. When we are hateful toward someone, it’s often a mask for something we are struggling with in ourselves.
Do you struggle with offering forgiveness to people who have hurt you in one way or another? If you do, you’re letting them have power over you. Not forgiving another is a sign that you fear them in some way.
Finding Our Way To Forgiveness
When I was a kid, I was victim of an extreme religious cult. I was forced to work 12-14 hours a day. I was physically punished for the slightest misbehavior. For years, I harbored anger and hate toward the leader of the cult. Like everyone else in the cult, I was also afraid of him.
When I was 16 years old, I escaped the cult. I was a mixed up kid. For the next 6-8 years I was always afraid that the leader was going to come and force me back into his control.
Little did I know that the fear grew from my own anger and hate toward him. But one day everything changed. I was finding the path to forgiveness.
I was traveling by train and had scheduled a layover in New Orleans. After spending a night on Bourbon Street I came back to the hotel. For some reason I wasn’t able to sleep. I picked up the Gideon’s Bible that was on the desk. It was open to Psalm 18.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
I realized that I had escaped the cult. That it was behind me. I had been protected and would continue to be protected by something greater than myself.
Suddenly, I knew that the answer was simple. It was time to let go of my fear, my hate, and my anger toward the cult leader. And somehow I knew that forgiving him would release him from having any power over me.
Don’t Fear Your Enemies, Forgive Them
When we are angry with others, we make them into our enemies. We naturally fear our enemies. The fear acts as a barrier to forgiveness. The solution is to let go of the fear.
Our fear usually stems from situations or people we have no control over. The lack of control makes us fearful. I could not control the cult leader’s actions, so I feared that he would come after me. It’s actually quite illogical when you think about it. But it felt every bit real to me at the time.
Once I stood up and said, goodbye to the fear, I was able to see how foolish it was. I knew it was time to stop spending my energy being angry at the cult leader. I forgave him. And guess what? The fear began to disappear. I’m not going to lie. The fear didn’t go away all at once, but it did go away over a period of time.
Who Do You Fear?
Is there someone in your life who you fear? Did they hurt you in some way? Nobody’s perfect. We all do things that hurt others. Knowing this should help you to begin to let go of your anger and fear. Remember, as long as you hold onto the past, you’ll always fear the future. It’s time to let go! Start finding the path from fear to forgiveness.
If you’d like to learn more about the story of my childhood, I’ve written a book about it:
A Train Called Forgiveness: Based on a true story. Andy Burden was the child victim of a religious-based cult. In his mid twenties, ten years after he was able to escape from the cult, Andy starts to suffer from an undiagnosed case of paranoid schizophrenia. He begins a journey both physical and psychological. Traveling across country by train, Andy recalls and comes to terms with his past. He learns to forgive and discovers truth through an unusual array of characters he meets along the way.