July 19, 2024

All of us have been hurt at one stage or another and the offender may well have been someone we love, member of our family, our dearest friend, or someone from out there. We often attempt to get past the pain of such situations with comments like, “That’s okay”, “Don’t worry about it,” or “It will come to pass” and yet we just can’t seem to shake or take out that penetrating sting. Why aren’t we able to let it go?
One reason we struggle with unforgiveness is a simple matter of pride. Why don’t we forgive or why can’t we forgive? “Because that person hurt ME!” we cry. As a result of our offended pride, the injustice grows much greater than we should allow. It becomes an issue of personal insult rather that an honest mistake or flash of insensitivity.
Factors in our unforgiveness are bitterness, anger, hurts, and pains. We become resentful when we refuse to deal honestly with hurt feelings and then allow the matter to fester in our heart. A growing sense of irritation spreads through our spirit and soul like an infection. It has been rightly said that bitterness and all those unforgiving factors are like a poison that you prepare for someone else and then drink yourself. While it silently destroys our life, the person who hurt us may remain completely unaware of our dark feelings.
Finally, we struggle with unforgiveness because we often have a poor idea of what it is all about. Or, we might be sitting around waiting for an apology that may never come.
If you have hurt recently, pray for the strength and honesty to approach the offender say, “You did this and it hurt me. But I love and refuse to allow this to destroy our relationship.”
If you constantly struggle to forgive people who have wronged you, you may consider yourself incapable of that kind of forgiveness. Many people are convinced that forgiveness is simply a feeling that can be experienced in the face of conflict. It’s a faulty understanding! Genuine forgiveness is not a feeling, but an action. If you find it hard to forgive others, the following four guidelines can help:

  1. Acknowledge and confess an unforgiving spirit. True, it is not always easy to forgive. We are sometimes the target of tremendously hurtful offenses. However, we are not accountable for other people’s behavior; we are responsible only for our own. God commands us to be loving, forgiving people. If we are unforgiving, that is our problem and no one else’s. We must repent of this sin and ask God to help our unforgiveness.
  2. Release the other person. Make a conscious, firm decision to release the offender in your mind. If you find yourself reliving details of the upsetting behavior, force yourself to stop.
  3. Forgive the offender forgetfully. If you continue to keep details fresh in your mind, you are trapping yourself in a cycle of pain. Choose instead to separate the individual from the painful memory.
  4. Forgive with finality. True forgiveness is complete. Forgive them and move on.
    Remember forgiveness is for you. If the offender did not response to your action, don’t react to it, their behavior is their own look out, you are freeing yourself and not them. If you forgive and they did not forgive you, that’s their problem and decision. What matter is you.
    If you’ve been nursing a grudge, pray for the strength to forgive. Then do it.