Forgiveness is one of the most important principles in the Christian Faith. I am saddened when I hear of the struggles some Christians have when they try to Forgive others. I hope this short Blog post can clear up any misconceptions you may have.
Forgiveness is simply making a choice. When someone has hurt you or wounded you, God commands us to forgive them. When the hurt or wound is very deep, we cannot forgive in our own power. God must accomplish this forgiveness in us.
When we forgive someone for a wrong they have done to us, it is like canceling a debt that was owed to us. We are making a choice to allow Jesus’ work on the cross to remove our hurts, wounds, judgments, bitterness, resentment and hatred. We are surrendering our right to be paid back for the sin committed against us. We decide to let God be the Judge and Jury. We wash our hands of trying to punish them for what they did and give the entire situation to God to handle as He wishes.
FORGIVENESS CHECK LIST
- We must make a choice to Forgive others. We must ask God to accomplish this work in our heart because we cannot forgive on our own. Forgiveness must be written on our hearts before it becomes a finished work in our lives.
- You must surrender your right to be paid back for the hurts against you. Release the person to God and let Him be the judge and jury. We must cancel the debt we believe the offender owes us and release them to God to be dealt with as He sees best.
- Ask God to heal your emotional hurts and pains and memories. Ask God to help you and strengthen you to renew your mind to forget the Pain of the Hurtful Memory. (We are not expected by God to forget the offense-we simply want release from the pain).
AS TIME PASSES, EVALUATE YOUR PROGRESS TO SEE IF YOU HAVE TRULY FORGIVEN THEM. (If you have any of the following symptoms—go back to God and forgive them again and again until the Forgiveness has been accomplished in you. Deep wounds and hurts may take some time. It is not always a one time prayer before Forgiveness is complete in us.)
- Can you think of that person without having multiple flashback memories of what they did to you? Have you stopped rehearsing speeches you wanted to say to them?
- Do you no longer feel the need for revenge and no longer want to return evil for evil?
- Do you have strong emotional reactions when you see the person who hurt you?
- Can you honestly and sincerely ask God to bless this person and truly mean it with all your heart?
FORGIVENESS IS/ NOT:
- Not Denying your anger toward the person or the hurt that you feel.
- Not Excusing the offender’s actions. He was wrong and it was sin and he is responsible to God for his sinful actions.
- Not Forgetting what happened. (God does not command us to forget, only to forgive)
- Forgiveness is not immediate trusting again. Trust must be earned. When trust is broken, the way to have it reestablished is through restitution. (Ex. In cases of abuse- it may not be wise to reconcile).
We must always remember that to forgive someone else or even to forgive ourselves is our choice.