The Marriage and Family Blog

 

How Do I Forgive?

category: christian living Jan 22, 2024

If you are breathing, you have no doubt dealt with having to forgive someone who you felt didn’t deserve it. You have no doubt had someone unknowingly say something or do something to you that you have been offended by. If you scroll through social media or watch TV for any given amount of time, you will be offended by what someone has posted. So, why does it matter if we forgive people, situations, or even events in our lives? Why does it matter if you choose to let unforgiveness fester in your mind? 

 Why forgive? Because unforgiveness is like an unsuspecting cancer. Just like a cancer, it starts so small it can hardly be detected, but if not dealt with will grow and infect your whole being – spirit, soul, and body. 

 We all know that early detection of cancer means life or death. It is easiest to take care of when caught small. Unforgiveness is the same way. It is best to catch it when it’s small before it grows into a cancer that consumes you.

 I address this subject in my book, “Planted”,(which will be released in a few short months) because unforgiveness is a source of great anxiety. It will put a stop to living a peace-filled life. It will put a stop to enjoying your life, period! 

 The following is an excerpt from my book:

“You might have heard the analogy that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the offender to die. Holding on to hurt has no benefit whatsoever to you. Unfortunately, the thoughts of the wrong done to us play on repeat in our heads, stirring up more anger and hurt in a vicious cycle of pain. Whom do you think presses play on those tormenting thoughts for you? You guessed it, the devil himself. You see, he understands something about unforgiveness that you don’t. He knows that the longer you stay bitter, it will spill into all areas of your life. It will not only consume your thoughts but manifest in your body with ulcers and other physical ailments. It will also plague your future relationships with cynicism and distrust. Not to mention that unforgiveness is also a major cause of anxiety. 

One of the most sobering consequences of unforgiveness is found in Mark 11:25, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” God freely forgave us of ALL of our sins. You are forgiven for past sins as well as future sins. The scripture, however, is teaching us that to live fully victorious lives, we need to follow God’s example and also forgive others. You don’t deserve your forgiveness any more than the person who hurt you deserves his or her forgiveness. Praise God; He forgave us anyway – a debt that was too high for us to pay…

 Are you holding a debt over someone that he or she will never be able to repay? If so, that means you will be bound to that hurt and that person for the rest of your life. You unknowingly give the devil permission to replay what happened to you over and over and over again. It is like quicksand – the more you struggle with it, the more stuck you get.”

 You might be thinking, “I’ve tried to forgive, but then something comes up and I get angry all over again.” Well, the thing about forgiveness is that it is a choice, not a feeling. Your feelings have nothing to do with forgiveness. We forgive by faith. We forgive before we feel the results of that forgiveness. 

 How Do I Forgive? If you want to get free from the bondage of unforgiveness, do the following:

  1.     Pray and ask God to reveal to you what or whom you have unforgiveness toward. 
  2.     Write it down. Write, “I choose to forgive __________ for ____________. Now sign and date it. 
  3.     When the devil tries to hit the replay button in your mind, respond with, “oh no you don’t! I forgave _____________ on (the date). It was not a feeling but a choice.” 
  4.     Pray for that person or situation. Nothing will melt unforgiveness away like prayer. When you pray, the love of God will begin to overshadow the bitter feelings. 
  5.     Be pro-active. If you know you are going to be around a person who “pushes your buttons,” decide before you go into that situation that you choose to forgive before the offense even takes place. 
  6.     Stay built up in the Word. You can’t fight a spiritual battle unarmed. You need to stay built up with the Word of God.
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