At some point in our lives we all struggle with forgiveness, and for some of you that point might be right now. We all struggle with surrendering our desire to hurt another person for hurting us. But as we discussed on Sunday in “The Forgiveness App” in our Life Apps series as we explored Matthew 18:21-35 – Forgiven people forgive people. When we understand and grasp the weight of our own sin and rebellion against God and the extent to which He has forgiven us through the cross of Jesus, it begins to put everything in perspective.
- Identify the offense and specifically name it.
- Feel the pain from the age of the heart that was hurt. We might have a good relationship with the person that hurt us today and we may even rationalize it away (they didn’t mean it, etc.), but the heart that was wounded wasn’t the adult us, the heart that was wounded was the ___ year old heart. While our heads can rationalize it, our hearts still feel the hurt and the pain.
- Bring any anger, pain, bitterness, and hatred you have toward them and give it to Jesus. Forgive the person with Jesus there with you.
- Release them from any right of revenge or repayment from you
- Release them from any expectations that they’ll change or that they’ll apologize. Remember, forgiveness is not just about the other person. Forgiveness doesn’t require anything of the person who wounded us. It’s not based on their apologizing or having remorse. We forgive them regardless of their response. In addition, reconciliation is separate from forgiveness and for reconciliation to happen there may need to be heartfelt remorse and apology (depending on the level of the offense).
- If you can pray that God will bless them with more of Him, then you know that you’re heart is doing well with forgiving them.
I would also encourage you to memorize Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” It will help remind you that forgiven people forgive people.
If you need help with forgiveness, contact our Recovery & Support Ministry. From individual help to support groups, we can help you connect with Jesus’ power to move forward.