I’ve never really understood what it means it to forgive someone. I try, but I’m still hurting and I don’t know if I’ve forgiven or not.
Forgiveness starts by accepting that a hurtful deed was done to you that cannot be reversed. It is coming to terms with that wrong, and while you may never understand what happened or why, acknowledging that you can’t undo it is the first step in letting it go.
Forgiveness is your decision and it is not dependent on whether or not an apology was offered to you.
Forgiveness takes time. It takes time to deal with the pain and the hurt and rushing the process can short-circuit it, throwing you back to square one all over again.
Forgiveness realizes that hanging onto the pain does more damage to you than releasing it. It is a conscious decision to let go of the power of the wrong, refusing to allow it to control you any longer.
Forgiveness is an act of the will that detaches the offender from the deed. It sees the brokenness of that person and is able to want their best, starting with the reparation of their soul.
Forgiveness is an act of the will that takes repeated, intentional effort, choosing to turn off the recording that replays itself in your head over and over, and replacing it with a different voice – music, a compelling podcast, or an audiobook you’ve been wanting to read, etc.
Forgiveness is an act of closure that puts the pain of the raw wounds behind you and propels you forward.
Forgiveness does not automatically renew trust or relationship. You may or may not feel led to reach out in reconciliation to the other person, but hear this: forgiveness is not dependent on restoration of relationship. Sometimes reconciliation is out of your hands, particularly if the other person has severed the relationship.
I am praying for you, that you will be able to move toward and through the process of forgiveness. This is one of those things you can’t go around, you have to go through it. Jesus prayed for forgiveness for those who took his life as he hung dying on the cross. He has told us how important it is to forgive, and in fact our unwillingness to forgive jeopardizes our relationship with him. Whenever you find yourself questioning whether or not you’ve forgiven or if you are dwelling on the offense/offender, take that as your reminder alarm to stop right then and pray for them. Choose to forgive because it is the right thing to do. It’s commanded by God and it’s in your best interest to live the love of God even to those who hurt you.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
–Psalm 130:3-4 (NIV)
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
–Matthew 6:14 (NIV)