When Christians ask themselves how to forgive or giving forgiveness to others: Dr. Jim explains what we should do and what is expected from us, as God’s children. If you’re looking for forgiveness or trying to find terms to forget someone who wronged you, this is a must read. This article can help you find ways to seek forgiveness and/or how to forgive someone.
How to forgive.
Life on this earth is not perfect. I know this will be a shock to some of you, but it just isn’t so. However, for Christians, this is as bad as it will get. I often think that life on earth is the Christian’s Hell. Have you ever wondered why God did not just take us straight to Heaven when we become His children? He always has a plan and this fact is certainly part of His plan.
In brevity (since this is not the focus of this article), allow me to say that God leaves us here to: 1) be messengers to the rest of the world who do not yet know Him; and 2) a chance to grow and be molded to become more like Christ.
Okay – so we are not going straight to Heaven and we have to live in this world. Since Christ lives in us, we just need to let His Spirit guide us in every choice and it will be okay. Yes, this is absolutely true – but Paul tells us that after we become Christians, we now have 2 natures. Romans 7:25 states ‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin’. The preceding few verses is where Paul shared where he does what he does not want to do, and does not do what he wants. The Christian has two natures and will until God calls us home to Heaven.
The ‘flesh’ side of us (pride, selfishness, etc.) continually causes us to err. These errors are seldom confined to the person making the mistake. It often negatively impacts another’s life in a very devastating way.
“Let His Spirit guide us in every choice”
Allow me to share some thoughts relating to wanting forgiveness from another, and the need to ask for forgiveness and how to forgive.
WANTING FORGIVENESS FROM ANOTHER:
Someone has hurt you and you are carrying this pain at a very deep level. It is difficult for you to forgive them and move on with your life. Yet, without the forgiveness, it is like a HUGE weight hanging around your neck. Have you noticed that this weight is usually only around YOUR neck and not around the other offending person? This fact makes you even angrier and you go deeper and deeper into a devastating cycle. So how to forgive?
You must reach the realization that YOU are the only one that these feelings are impacting. The impact on you is not allowing you to move on with life. I am not saying that you should not be angry. The basis of what offended you in the first place is something that you valued – a relationship, etc. You must go through the complete grieving process to arrive at the point of being able to forgive. Please read my article on Stages Of Grief.
When you reach near the completion of your grief, you will come to ‘accept’ the fact that ALL of us are very human and have our sinful ways – even us! For me, I accept the realization that there are many things I have done in life that caused intended or unintended harm to others. I then realize that God has suffered MOST of these offenses – time and time again. Yet, He has always forgiven me! I always have felt His love and forgiveness. He has NOT removed the consequences of my ‘sins’ from me, but always showered me with understanding and acceptance.
“You must go through the complete grieving process to arrive at the point of being able to forgive”
After recognizing our shortcomings and how we have experienced forgiveness from God, it gives us a roadmap in how to forgive others.
I like the definition that forgiving another is like saying ‘you no longer owe me’. They cannot PAY the debt anyway and likely do not even want to do so. Your action to release what it is you are expecting from them is a huge weight being lifted from you. Until you are able to do this, you are not fee to move on with life and receive many of the wonderful blessings He has in store for you.
Matthew 6:15 ‘but if ye do not forgive men their offenses, neither will your Father forgive your offenses’
WHEN WE NEED TO BE FORGIVEN:
Have you ever had someone come up to you and share their sorrow for something they did against you and then ask, ‘Will you forgive me?’ Did you feel like forgiving them? I suspect that you were not in the condition to honestly give forgiveness. It is not that your heart was hardened, you likely were not ready to deal with this action at the deep level required. So how to forgive?
When you accept the fact that you have wronged another, you need to pray about whether or not God wants you to go share this with the other person. In most case you should, but there are circumstances where it is not best – and He will guide you.
As you approach the other person, share where you know you have wronged them or done them harm. Instead of asking them for forgiveness, just state that you apologize for your action, accept responsibility for it, and are open to any suggestions they may have now or in the future for restoration. Then leave it up to God and them to process and respond if and when they should.
I believe it also important that any wrong done to one of His children is an action directly against God. Your act of forgiveness should begin with Him first and then ask Him to guide you in the steps you should take as your action has affected others. If you have His forgiveness, then you have the Holy Spirit going before you as you relate to others.
“James 5:16 ‘Confess therefore your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. [The] fervent supplication of the righteous [man] has much power’.”
May God guide you as you deal with forgiveness in your life. Satan wishes it to lead to guilt and depression for all parties involved. God wants to lead you to forgiveness and restoration with Him and others. God will always restore when we ask Him. Others may not but they do not need to hold us captive. God gives you a choice!
In His love,