Everyone should read a book on forgiveness by a respected Christian author. A book I do recommend is ‘Total Forgiveness’ by R.T. Kendall.
At various times in my life, God has used books I have read on forgiveness, and my heart has been challenged and I have been truly changed by each one, as I have allowed the light of God’s Word to shine into my hard heart, and penetrate the darkness in my soul.
Forgiveness is essential for a Christian to live a fruitful life unto God.
Forgiveness is not a concept, but a lifestyle.
Forgiveness is a necessary part of a healthy mind and soul.
Some years back I read of a psychotherapist who believed that up to 80% of patients in a mental institution were there because of unforgiveness and had no other cause for their mental illness.
If we don’t forgive those who have sinned against us, we risk disease in our bodies and crippling thinking in our minds, and a host of other wrong ways to think about life.
When we don’t forgive, our minds are playgrounds with carousels of hate, envy, jealousy, bitterness, resentment and all kinds of impurity. We hurt ourselves and because of a hardened heart, we start to hurt others too.
So how do we forgive?
- Acknowledge before God in prayer that you have not forgiven ___________for __________ (put their name and offence in there).
- Pray from the Lord’s prayer: “forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt 6: 12, NLT). This quickly reminds us that we are forgiven as we forgive.
- Ask God, by the Holy Spirit for grace to forgive. Wrestle with this as much and as often as you need to.
- Do not dwell on their sins towards you, but on your mercy towards them. Mercy says, ‘I will give you what you don’t deserve’.
- Do this as many times a day as you need to, and keep doing this day by day. It will be often at first and as your heart accepts and your mind renews, your thoughts will fade and your attitude will change and one day you will realise you are free.
Does it matter whether the other person knows what you have done or felt?
No, it does not, as forgiveness is your gift to yourself.
If the other person knows of the problem between you, then go to her.
What about forgiving yourself?
If you are living in regret, guilt and shame, it is time to forgive yourself. You do this before God in prayer too, and let go of the pain and the shame, knowing that all the sin you have committed is washed away, cleansed, by Christ’s blood, as you trust in Him, not in yourself for forgiveness and salvation.
Do not set yourself up as your own God, judge and jury! Leave that to God who judges all men’s hearts.
Where and how have you found help to forgive? I invite you to comment on forgiveness.