Lately I’ve been asked by a few people, “How do I forgive?”. It’s a fair question when you consider that many people have experienced betrayal, abuse, slander, or neglect from people they once trusted. When I hear this question I understand more clearly what people are asking. They’re not asking, “How do I forgive?”. They’re really asking, “How do I not feel angry or hurt anymore?”. People sometimes make the mistake of equating feelings with forgiveness. They’re two different things. Some might even be asking for God to take the pain away. Here’s the blunt truth: He won’t!
Why? The issue isn’t the pain or the hurt you are feeling. The underlying issue is making a decision to forgive. Forgiveness has NOTHING to do with how you feel. Yet if you forgive you will BEGIN to feel different. The pain of betrayal isn’t something God will take away. It’s something for you to give away.
So here’s how you forgive:
1. Say, ” I forgive (name person) for (name what they did).
And that’s it!
Sounds simple? Too simple? Well, it really is as simple as that. Will the pain or hurt go away right then and there? Most likely not. But forgiveness isn’t about feelings. It’s about mirroring God’s love. He forgives so we as His children should forgive.
But here’s what will happen right away–healing will BEGIN in your heart. The pain will BEGIN to soothe. AND yet, you will still be challenged to hold onto hurt. But when that happens you tell yourself, “No, I already forgave (person’s name). In short when you’re reminded of the hurt, remind yourself that you have forgiven. When you do this your feelings of hurt will begin to catch up to the faith you used to forgive.
It takes faith to forgive. You have to believe that God is pleased with forgiveness. You have to believe that the person is released from harm for the way they treated you. You have to believe that God will supernaturally heal your heart when you forgive. All of that happens at the point of forgiveness. However at that point it is possible you will FEEL none of that. That’s ok! Your feelings will catch up to your faith.
One more thing you should do is to release the pain by releasing blessing. Turn the pain into an opportunity to be a blessing. Pray for those who hurt you. Bless them with your words, a gift, or a kind gesture. Being a blessing transforms you from the inside out. As you bless those who once cursed you, you position yourself for rapid restoration.
I believe for rapid restoration of your soul, your strength, your health, and your mind! As you walk in forgiveness and blessing may you receive all that God has for you.
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10