Christian 101 Series

Christian 101: How to Forgive

Forgive but don’t forget!

Everybody And They’re Mama

We’ve all heard this phrase before and some of us have probably even said it when someone did something unfavorable to us. Truth is…you didn’t forget OR forgive. In my opinion, forgiveness is the easiest concept to understand but one of the hardest to practice. In theory forgiveness should be as easy as snapping your finger but depending on the situation, it can take years and copious amounts of money and therapy to truly forgive someone. Because we are all imperfect beings, we will ALL end up on both sides of this coin. At some point in time you will offend or hurt someone and you will be the person hurt.

Why is Forgiveness Important?

  • God asks us to. Forgiveness is mentioned over 100 times in The Bible
  • Over time it effects the condition of your heart (which is what God constantly looks at)
  • Unforgiveness is a popular vehicle for the enemy to use to create tension
  • Conquering forgiveness is the way you can win a majority of the battles you face daily.
  • To receive the forgiveness you will inevitably need, you have to give forgiveness prior to your offense.
  • Our goal in this Christ Walk is to be more Christ-like. Christ forgives everything we do…so should you!
  • Forgiveness is the mercy and grace we give each other.
What Can I Do to Forgive the Ones That Hurt Me?

Step 1: Distance

Contrary to popular belief, it is not petty or mean to distance yourself from someone who hurt you. We all process things differently and it is far easier to process your emotions and actions when the person who stirs up negative emotions is not in your direct eye sight. Block, delete, mute, or move if possible to avoid emotional manipulation and allow space for God to begin working on you. You may even have to temporarily remove yourself from your friends and family who probably mean well but come with their own set of emotions and opinions.

Step 2: Confess

Be honest with yourself. When you are honest, then God can reveal things to you and speak to you clearly. It’s perfectly okay to be emotional. It is not okay to hold on to those emotions and use them to justify behavior that is not Christ-like. You guys know I love a good list, so go ahead and write out a list of your honest emotions in the moment. Are you angry, sad, embarrassed, disappointed, or vengeful? for each emotion, write down the root cause of the emotion. Example: I am angry because this is the second time Joe spent money I gave him on his hobby instead of bills. You may be surprised to discover the root cause of some of your emotions come from past situations and hurt that you have yet to heal from. These are you need to bring to God in prayer.

Step 3: Empathize

Recognizing human deficiencies can help you come to terms with the reason why someone hurt you. We are all imperfect. As much as it pains me to admit it, Michelle Obama has a flaw somewhere. There is someone out there that she hurt and even that person has to find a way to forgive her. Think of a time you hurt someone unintentionally. How did you feel? How did you make amends? Is that person still apart of your life? If a similar situation comes up in your future how will you handle it now? What lesson did you learn? Maybe you should go and finally apologize to someone you haven’t been able to apologize to. Once you apologize and they accept your apology how do you feel? Did it help you move on? Another way to help you empathize is to write a letter to the person that hurt you explaining in detail what their actions did to you financially, emotionally, physically. When you are finished the letter…burn it! Throw it away along with those emotional pains.

Step 4: Reset

Make up your mind that you want change. Commit daily to doing things that make you feel better & improve your mental health. Once someone has hurt you, it is easy to forget anything nice they’ve said to you or done for you. Commit to yourself that when that person or event pops into your head that you will think of one good memory about them. You will of course have flashes of emotions that are unpleasant but if you practice thinking of something positive directly afterward, then you can begin to reset your brain to attach that person or event to positivity. Maybe they have a nice smile or they were cheering loudly at your graduation. They may have given you a great gift for your birthday one year or they went out of their way for you once. Use those small moments to reset. The devil wants you to harp on the negative things to keep you in a cycle of hate and unforgiveness so he can introduce you to more unhealthy practices like drinking, bad friendships, or stealing. Don’t let him take your joy! Reclaim what’s for you. The Bible says joy is yours, peace is yours, long life is yours! Take it back from the devil by learning to control your thoughts and emotions.

Step 5: Seek Help, Not Revenge

Depending on the situation, it may take more than one avenue to change your mindset and forgive someone. If money was involved, you may want to seek help from a credit or financial advisor. If there was abuse or manipulation, you may want to see a spiritual counselor or therapist. Pastors, mentors, and other specialists are great for specific situations and can help give you advice that leads to closure and maturity. Of course during all of this you should continually pray to God for guidance and for joy to replace your sorrow. The worst thing you can do is seek revenge. Regardless of your specific debacle, you should avoid reciprocity of any kind because you can end up further complicating the situation as well as damage yourself. Forgiveness is ultimately about you! Matthew 6:12 & 14 are familiar verses that make it clear about Gods expectations for us when it comes to forgiving other people. He tells us to forgive people so we can receive that same forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. Let Him seek revenge on the people who purposefully hurt and use you. I won’t lie and say that this is an easy thing to do but it is probably the most important thing to take from this Ted Talk.

Forgiveness is like a wave pool. It comes in ebs and flows. It varies in size and height. Sometimes it is overwhelming and sometimes it doesn’t bother you. Take each day step by step and it will get better with the help of Abba Father. Ephesians 4:32 is another good verse to keep in your forgiveness survival kit. It simply reminds us to be kind to everyone even the ones that don’t like you. The ones that want to see you fail and fall. The best revenge you can get is by living a life that is filled with joy and not misery.

k, good talk

-J

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