As we mature as Christians we become more like Jesus, and as CHRISTians we learn to forgive in our hearts like Jesus does for JOY.
To forgive in our hearts is to properly forgive. This is the only forgiveness that is forgiveness. When we pray to Jesus “I forgive them” we pray “I realise they hurt me as they are hurting inside themselves and I genuinely in my gut feel compassion for them and want them to be happy instead”.
For Jesus. We forgive people who have hurt us as Jesus has commanded us to in the bible. This is because He wants us to get on with each other as He loves us:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15 ESV
For Others. Check out my “Fire and water” post. This post basicly says that we should not fight fire with fire, but with water i.e. we do not fight hate with hate but instead with love. We should love our enemies and pray for them:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:43-44 ESV
For You. If we do not forgive then we will find that we are left grumpy and feeling down as the devil still has his hooks in us. When we forgive the person who hurt us, the hooks are removed and we feel relieved. Sometimes we may even feel physical tension has left us as forgiveness is so powerful. This is a snippet from Mathew 18 that shows us about the hooks. Read all of the “unforgiving servant” to find out why we should forgive as Jesus forgave us a massive debt:
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matthew 18:34-35 ESV
How can we do it?
It is hard as it is natural for us as human beings to let our emotions get in the way but as we mature as Christians we become less like the world and more like Jesus:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV
- Realise that they hurt you as they are hurting inside themselves. People hate as they are hurting. Probably as someone hurt them. Break the chain and have compassion on them as you would not like it if you were hurting inside.
- With the strength of the Holy Spirit we can do what is harder to do than hate. That is to forgive instead. You are actually stronger than them if you do.
- Cleverly learn it e.g. imagine them crying and then giving them a hug and helping them.
- Be aware of the JOY model above. Then you realise it is the best way, and that you actually want to do it.
I am trying to forgive my pussy cat Sabrina for scratching my hand. I realised that she is a nutty fruit cake and in compassion gave her some tasty treats.
Obviously there are more serious examples of forgiveness, but the principle is the same always. Pray to Lord for help to forgive if you find it hard.
If we manage to forgive the people that hurt us and also confess our sins to Jesus then we are keeping short accounts with God and we are therefore more spiritually healthy.
Sabrina has apologized by snuggling up to me. We both feel released and ready to serve Jesus.
Shouting “I forgive you, you worthog!” at your enemies in an aggressive tone does not qualify as genuine forgiveness. If the bible had small print, then worthog specifications would have been laid out clearly.
If we are still hurting from what they did to us then it will make it a loy easier to forgive them if we let go of the hurt. Letting go of the hurt also makes you stronger if they try and hurt you again.
This is a good way to let go of the hurt:
Acknowledge what hurt you by labeling it e.g. “Joe Bloggs called me a big fat pig and it made me feel horrible”. Labelling it will help you to process it and move on. Do not ignore your emotions. It will make it harder if you do.
Give yourself time for your emotions to heal e.g. let the frustration, sadness etc out in a sensible way over time as suppressed emotions are dangerous.
Learn to manage your emotions in a clever way e.g. if it was failing at an interview then do something positive like tweeking your CV.
Let go of the hurt and start a new chapter by literaly writing down what happened and then tearing up and putting it in the bin. Then write on the next page “next chapter” and write positive actions for getting yourself back on track.
Do not dwell on what happened. Change your thoughts by distracting yourself.
Let go of negativity and think positively instead e.g. be thankful for the things you have and replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts that are stronger.
Keep company with wise friends that you trust and make you happy.
Take responsibility for your actions and if possible, do not put yourself in a vulnerable situation again. This does not mean it was your fault. This gives you more power over the situation in the future.
Share your story with a Christian friend you trust. This is a great way and a problem shared is a problem halved.
Take good care of yourself. Check out other posts on this blog for doing that.
Set boundaries for people in future e.g. do not hang round with people who make you compromise your faith.
Check out my post named “Fire and water”. It is a better way to live than people getting at each other.
Sometimes we need to process the negative emotions of our hurt in a safe private way before we forgive. Do this is by reading this post: