"How to Forgive"
Dictionary.com says forgiveness is to cease to feel resentment against someone or to pardon an offense or an offender. "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins" Matt. 6:14-15 Can you imagine God not forgiving you for the things you've done? You might be saying, "well he's God and I'm not! It's not hard for him to forgive". I hear you, but if you are a child of God, unforgiveness is not an option for you.
When we hold on to unforgiveness bitterness moves in. Did you know one of the meanings for bitterness is hatred? A heart full of hate is not going to change what happened to you instead it will destroy you. The person that hurt you is somewhere laughing it up and enjoying life to the fullest, while you are angry, depressed, physically sick and stagnant in life because of them.
Let me briefly add, not only are we to forgive those who hurt us, we are to humble ourselves and ask those we've hurt to forgive us as well.
Steps to Forgiveness:
- In your quiet time, speak to God with an honest heart letting him know how you feel. Keep it real! If you're angry and you hate someone and you wish they would get hit by a mac truck, tell God that. Unload your frustration on God.
- Ask God to change the way you feel and to help you forgive those who've caused you pain, even if you have to ask him daily.
- Begin to pray for those who've hurt you. Your prayer may not be genuine in the beginning and it may just be one word, that's ok. Forgiveness is a process but you have to start somewhere. Eventually your prayer for the person will increase and come from a sincere place.
- Pray he or she doesn't hurt another person the way they hurt you. Pray that God would help them change. Pray for their happiness, health and salvation.
Release the person/s to God and let Him deal with it so that you can be free to enjoy your life. When you forgive and pray for your enemies you are choosing to obey God's word. I believe this pleases God. It shows Him that you trust He will not let the unjust pain caused by another person go unavenged.
"Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the Lord. Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good." Romans 12:19-21.