Matthew 18:21-22 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?” Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! As a Christian, I look to the scriptures for examples on how I should live my life. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I wrong people daily in person and in my mind. There were times in my life that I found myself so angry. I was angry at my past, those who have hurt me and angry at myself for being angry. I wanted to forgive people for their transgressions against me but I didn’t know how. Because I did not know how to forgive I was in bondage because of my ignorance. This blog will share why I chose to forgive and some steps I took. I hope you will be empowered to start releasing and healing through forgiveness.
Change the Way You Think About Forgiveness
Perspective; it is important that you change the way you think. First of all, so many of us walk around as if we are infallible. Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and see yourself for who you are? It is so hard to see yourself objectively because the truth is, you can’t handle the truth. I honestly believe our own mind protects us from seeing who we really are until we put effort into knowing. So it’s easier to point out how you have been wronged than to see for yourself how you wronged others. Reflect on the ways you may have hurt or wronged someone willingly or unknowingly. Imagine the relationship you have or had with your parents or whoever raised you. If it is anything like mine and my father or mine and my son you need to forgive yourself. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The Lord’s Prayer shows that we must first ask for forgiveness for ourselves before we can forgive others. We have to change the way we think about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not simply telling someone you forgive them, it starts with you. Forgiveness starts in your heart. You have to accept your own vulnerability and your need to be forgiven, and how being forgiven will change your life for the better. After asking for forgiveness for yourself and accepting the forgiveness, THEN you can genuinely forgive others who have wronged you and be free from the bondage of hurt.
In one of my past blogs titled Resentment, I share how holding in the feeling you have when you are wronged can leave you feeling resentful. I give tips on letting go. It’s the same for forgiveness, you have to let go, whether you are forgiving or asking for forgiveness. Say I am sorry, name the things you are sorry for and ask the person for forgiveness. It is important that you respect the person’s feelings and know they may not to be ready to give forgiveness, respect that. The important thing is you make peace with asking for forgiveness. Likewise for those, whom you need to forgive, remind the person what they did to wrong you and how it has affected your life, and give forgiveness. This is not as simple as it seems because not everyone is available physically, emotionally or even still alive. Be gentle with yourself, take time and don’t rush the process. Making peace with you is just as important as giving forgiveness and asking for forgiveness. We all process pain differently, this is not a cookie-cutter solution. Please seek the support of a professional counselor or therapist if you find this process is causing feelings of self-harm or feelings of harming others. Do not be ashamed of who you are. You are a diamond a true jewel and a gift to the world. So how do you give forgiveness? You just do it!