In Matthew, 6:14-15, Jesus said "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Unlike a wrestling match, when offenses come, i.e. insults, disagreements or fights, no one gets to tap out, give up or quit.
No one is immune to offenses. Some of us are reluctant to enter relationships because we have been hurt, rejected and abused in the past. Jesus warned his followers of people who would deliberately offend them. Because he was preparing them to function without his human presence, he reminded them they would be mistreated. To comfort them, he promised them a Comforter and peace to overcome those who offended them. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
When it happens, letting go of an offense can be challenging. Our mind replays the moment like a scene from a bad movie repeatedly. Forgiving may not delete the scene but it can stop the endless painful loop of the memory in our minds. The grace of God through forgiveness, reconciliation and time heals our hearts and our memories. There is hope! When we let go of the offense and forgive the person, the next step is to give it to God. Since God will forgive our sins when we forgive others, we need to pray for compassion, obedience, the mind to forgive and Holy Spirit power to forgive the offender as Jesus did on Calvary for us.
So, how do you forgive when you don't want to? Follow the steps below.
1. Acknowledge the offense. (Psalm 43)
2. Acknowledge your emotions and thoughts resulting from the offense. (Psalm 43)
3. Acknowledge that ALL offenders (the one who offended you and you, too) need mercy. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:1-2)
4. Pour out your heart to God about the offense and the offender in prayer. (Psalm 62:8)
5. Ask God for wisdom on how to confront the offender about the offense. This is useful whether the offender is alive, available to you, dead or unavailable to you. (James 1:2-8)
6. Talk to the offender or someone who can stand in for the offender about the offense. (Matthew 18:15-17)
7. Forgive the offender for the offense against you in your heart. (Matthew 18:21-35)
8. Say out loud, "I forgive (insert the name of the offender here) for (insert the offense here)." (Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 12:14, Romans 10:10, Colossians 4:6)
9. Leave the offense with God, our Heavenly Father, who forgives your sins as you forgive others of their sins (Matthew 6:14-15)
10. Rejoice for the forgiveness of sins! (Psalm 107:2)
11. Guard your heart from offense and unforgiveness. (Proverbs 4:23)
12. REPEAT. Feel free to repeat any or all of the steps above until you no longer carry the weight of unforgiveness, bitterness, anger and strife. (2 Peter 3:9-18)
Who do you need to forgive today?
Forgive them now by doing the steps above.
I would love to share more with you that will help you forgive others who have offended you. I want to help you grow spiritually and build healthy relationships.
Please comment below and let me know what you need to know more about forgiveness and spiritual growth.
Bible Way Church and I bless you in the Name of Jesus Christ. We love you!
I invite you to come and join us in worshiping Jesus Christ our Lord.
WE WILL SEE YOU SOON.
Bishop Earnest E. Robinson, Sr.
Words of wisdom to live by from our Senior Leader, Bishop Earnest E. Robinson, Sr. and other guest writers.