Forgiving someone isn’t easy. Believe me, I know from personal experience! But I also know that it is possible. With promises found in scriptures we can do whatever we need to do with God’s power:
My past had me never trusting anyone. Always giving the side eye to anyone that tried to walk in my life. Putting up a wall and not letting anyone new in. It was like I was questioning anyone who wanted to move into my private space and I would simply shut them out. And because of the hurt and pain from being stabbed in the back several times I would always bring up the past hurt and continue to put up the wall of what I thought was protection. However God began to reveal how harmful it is to live with unforgiveness and the benefits of forgiveness. I never thought of it as living in unforgiveness but me shutting people out and never letting anyone new in my space was one of the symptoms of it. I think sometimes people believe forgiveness is more about doing a favor for the person who hurt them, when actually, you are doing yourself a big favor. The truth is, as you release the bitterness and anger in your heart, you are able to live with real peace and joy.
You may be thinking, “Ok, I want to forgive, but it’s so hard. I don’t know if I can do it!” Well, I want to encourage you to know that in Christ, you can forgive–no matter what has been done to you. Here are three steps you can take to genuinely forgive:
1. Make a Quality Decision
Forgiveness is about more than saying a prayer, like, “Lord, I forgive so-and-so.” Forgiveness is a serious decision you make. It’s not easy and it will probably be uncomfortable or even painful, but the reward of going through it will be worth any pain you’ve experienced.
2. Understand Your Emotions
The dictionary says that emotion means to move out and that emotions provoke psychological changes that prepare a person for action. So feelings create a desire to do something. When somebody hurts you and you feel pain, the first thing you may want to do is tell them off. You may want to get them back or you want to get away from them.You need to know that your feelings will probably need time to catch up with your decision to forgive. Your feelings are not the real you. They’re fickle. You can feel a thousand and one different ways about the same thing. You can love somebody one minute and then you can’t stand them the next. But remember, your will gives you the ability to live beyond your feelings.
3. Pray for Your Enemies
In Matthew 5:44 (AMP), Jesus instructs us to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This has got to be the hardest thing in the whole world to do. But we don’t get out of something just because it’s hard. Whatever God asks us to do, it’s always for our benefit. Let’s get real practical about this: If you have a coworker who gets the promotion you wanted, the minute you feel jealousy and envy, don’t just pray for them—go buy them a gift.
One time I found out somebody who I did business with saying unkind things about me. I was mad and wanted to tell her off, but God told me to love more on that person, I became filled with so much joy I actually laughed out loud.
The Choice Is Yours
Today, you have the choice to overcome evil with good and find a new level of joy you didn’t know was possible by choosing to forgive. I want to encourage you to do yourself a favor and make the right choice. Forgive.