We have a double standard when it comes to forgiveness.
We want God’s forgiveness, but find it hard to forgive others. Especially when the damage is life changing or when the offender continues doing things that cause us pain.
God told us to forgive, but sometimes it feels impossible. The truth . . . we don’t want to!
If you missed yesterday’s post – Why We Should Forgive the Unforgivable, you can head over and read it now. Then come back to for:
5 Truths to Help You Forgive the Unforgivable
1. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong. It gives mercy to the person who did the wrong.
Forgiveness doesn’t remove or deny the past. It does, by God’s grace, give you peace, strength, and courage to move into the future free of the bitterness and resentment . . . ready to live and be happy.
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12–13
2. You don’t have to tell the person you’ve forgiven them unless they ask.
The person who hurt you may not believe they’ve done anything that needs forgiveness. They might believe their words or actions were justified. You could make the problem worse or cause yourself more pain by telling them you forgive them.
If you think you need to voice unsolicited forgiveness make sure you’re not motivated by anger or a desire to hurt or manipulate them to get even.
“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~Anonymous
3. Remember that hatred and resentment only prolong the pain.
I hate when a perfectly wonderful day gets interrupted by a painful memory. It doesn’t take much . . . a familiar smell, a song, a picture, a comment and suddenly I’m reliving a painful moment.
We can’t control our thoughts and memories, but we can control how long we allow them to hold our attention.
So change painful thoughts and memories by calling a friend, turning on some music, getting up and moving, or reciting your favorite verse or quote.
“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control… to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.” ~Lance Morrow
4. Pray for strength to forgive.
Honestly talking to God about my feelings and asking Him for strength has been the only way I’ve been able to forgive when I don’t want to.
I’ll bet you’ve had times, like me, when you’re sure the person who hurt you doesn’t deserve forgiveness. They’re not sorry. They don’t care. They’re lives look good and you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
Pray! Pray more!! Thank God for the many times He has forgiven you and ask Him for strength to forgive.
Lord, teach me what You want me to do, and I will live by Your truth. Teach me to respect You completely. Lord, my God, I will praise You with all my heart, and I will honor Your name forever. You have great love for me. You have saved me from death. Psalm 86:11-13, 17
5. Choose to forgive – sit in a room by yourself and speak or write forgiveness.
Now it’s time to turn off distractions. Take your anger, hurt, frustration, and all the other junk in your head and let it go. Forgive.
[Tweet “Need help . . . use this statement of forgiveness to free yourself from anger and resentment.”]
Speak or write the following:
I have held on to this anger, hurt, and resentment for too long. And because I am completely accepted and forgiven by God in Christ Jesus, I am able to forgive and accept you, ______________. I choose to forgive you for ______________, and release you completely. You don’t owe me. You are no longer accountable to me for this. You are free. I am free.
If you choose to write your forgiveness, I recommend burning or shredding it after you’re finished as a symbol of the forgiveness you’ve given and freedom you’ve received.
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~Corrie ten Boom
What truths do you hold to help you forgive? What is the best thing about finally forgiving the unforgivable?
Join me tomorrow for – How to Heal After You’ve Forgiven the Unforgivable.