All of us face hurt.
Some of us choose to forgive.
The rest of us live in bitterness.
How do you “forgive and forget?” We have a pretty good Example.
Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
You will hopelessly hold on to hurt until you realize what He knew:
Forgiveness becomes easier when we realize our hurt is really Satan vs. God. People are just caught in the middle.”
Here are 4 perspectives that will help you to forgive:
1. Recognize Your Enemy
A friend of mine was in a boxing match. His nose, eyes, and ears were bloodied and swollen. His coach tried to encourage him with, “Get back in there. He hasn’t laid a glove on you yet.” My friend replied, “Please keep your eye on the referee, then!”
He knew he was getting hit, he just didn’t know FROM WHERE.
Satan is your real enemy, not people. He manipulates the minds, tongues, and even the hands of humans to do his work. Then, he blames it all on humans….and enjoys watching us fight it out!
Like Jesus, pray for this for your tormentor:
“They know not what they do.”
2. Make A Decision
In a courtroom, the verdict is given with no emotion. The judge looks at you and gives you a “guilty” or “innocent.”
In the same way, forgiveness is not an emotional feeling. It is a decision, a sentence, a judgment. It is “choosing to release.”
It may takes days…or years…for all the feelings of hurt and bitterness to go away. You can always look back, however, at the MOMENT you “chose to release” that person. Do it right now.
3. Take A Step
During college, I was privileged to host Corrie Ten Boom at the ORU chapel service. She told about being in Germany ministering in a church after World War II. Suddenly, a particularly cruel guard from the Ravensbruck prison camp where she was imprisoned stood before her! She froze.
He extended his hand and asked, “Will you forgive me?"
Nothing but anger came up in her.
“Jesus, help me!” she prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.” With no feeling, she extended her hand…and instantly a rush of compassion and forgiveness flooded her.
TAKE AN ACTION. Reach out. Call, text, initiate. Do what you don’t even feel like doing and God will take your feelings from there.
4. Speak A Blessing
Unforgiveness brings a curse to your lips. When you have chosen to forgive, and taken an action, it brings a blessing to your lips.
“With it (our tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3: 9-10)
Go ahead, speak out a blessing over them. Ask God to bless your enemy. Something will happen inside of you: a release, a joy, a freedom.
Unforgiveness holds YOU captive, not the other person who has offended you.
Now, what will you do? “Recognize…decide…step…speak.”
You are only moments away from forgiving that person…and a lifetime full of freedom awaits.