My backdoor neighbor and dear friend brought me a book and said, "I think you will want to read this book." I said, "What is it about?" and she said, "Total Forgiveness." I said, "I don't think there is anyone in my life that I haven't forgiven." And she said, "Just read the book and see what you think."
That was many years ago. I did read the book. It was by R.T. Kendall, and as I read, I realized that there were some people that I hadn't truly forgiven. It was helpful to me to revisit those incidents, make amends ----when necessary, and embrace peace of mind. That was then.......Now, I am quite sure I needed to read the book, and, as a matter of fact, I'm reading it again. I would even like to encourage you to read, Forgiving What You Can't Forget by Lisa Terkerust.
I suppose forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to harbor hard feelings if we don't mind giving up peace of mind, contentment, and the satisfying life God would allow us to have on this earth. We can refuse to forgive and ignore the fact that Jesus shed his precious blood in order to forgive us. He isn't asking me to shed blood, but perhaps He's asking me to dig deep and forgive another even if I think I was right and ___was wrong. Forgiveness is mentioned 127 times in the Bible. That makes me think it might be important. Important to whom?? I believe it is important to God. He always wants what is best for us, and unforgiveness is like an abscess festering and steeling our healthy minds. It's essential to our well-being, prayer life, and peace of mind.
I don't know about you, but when someone hurts my feelings or offends me, I find myself replaying the scenario. I think, "I should have said.... or I could have just.....I wish I would have.....and the cycle begins. I may be praying at night in my bed, and before I know it, the same scenario is on replay. I am talking to God, and I feel so disrespectful that my mind is in a cycle of replaying the offense. Replay....justify....rethink..
This may not apply to you, but then again, it just might. Satan seldom misses an opportunity to distract us from living a peaceful Christ-centered life. I have no idea what you are dealing with in your life that needs your forgiveness. It could be divorce, betrayal of a friend, a business partner who cheated you, or a brother or sister who got more of the inheritance than you. It could be someone who spread malicious gossip about you, your children, or any number of things. But the bottom line is this: Unforgiveness hurts you (or me) more than the person we aren't forgiving. Lisa Terkeurst said, "When we don't forgive, teams form, bitterness brews, and division ensues. Let's protect ourselves from satan's strategy in our life." That sounds like a wise choice to me.
Now the question arises, "How?" And...Will the cycle of defense stop when I go to bed at night?
First: It requires some serious prayer time. Mark 11:25 says, "when you are praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone, so your Father in heaven may forgive your sins." You may not feel that you are at fault. Forgive anyway. You can still be right, just don't mention it to the one you are forgiving. Mark goes on to say, "but if you don't forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you your sins." Hmmmm. That makes me think that perhaps forgiving the one who has hurt me just might stop that cycle that repeats itself.
One time, a girl came up to me at church during the invitation and said, "I just want you to know that I was holding something against you, and I have forgiven you." I was so surprised because I had no idea that we had a problem.
I suggest you ask the Father to lead you to the correct approach to your forgiveness. How you forgive is fundamental to how the person you are forgiving responds. Part of the forgiveness depends on the relationship you have with the person you are forgiving. I can't possibly cover all the scenarios.....as if I might know the NO 1 best way to forgive the offender. This I do know, if we don't forgive, satan gets a foothold in our life, and that is the last thing I want.
So how??? I often write down my feelings in letter form because if I depend on my mouth without a guard, I could make things worse. After I write down my thoughts, I can reread them and think about how I might react. Sometimes less is more. You may not even tell the person you are forgiving them. It might be between you and the Lord. I certainly don't know all the answers, but I do know. Jesus instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven. We have been forgiven much, and we certainly didn't deserve it. Think about it, pray about it, and forgive as you have been forgiven. It will relieve you of the vicious cycle, and should that cycle raise its ugly head, just remind "little s" that you have already taken care of that.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
Father God, I'm so thankful for Jesus and his sacrifice to forgive my sins, and because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I believe I can forgive anyone who hurts me. Amen