Forgiveness is one of the greatest issues in people’s life. Every one of us has different stories of pain. There are stories of people being sexually molested, betrayed, bullied, murdered, raped, and more. Most of the people who have experienced so much hurt in their life withhold forgiveness to people who caused them pain.
When we do not forgive, we are actually imprisoning ourselves to pain and it affects our attitude and how we deal with others. Some of us even justify our unforgiveness by saying “I am not Got who can just forgive.” There are times that we tend to carry these hurts for years not knowing that we are becoming the playground of Satan. If we don’t forgive, we will only let the enemy worsen our wounds until we find ourselves being held captive by our own pain.
The tendency is that it also affects our relationship with other people because we become more sensitive and easily offended because of the hurts we are harboring in our heart. Unforgiveness hinders the move of God in our lives. But if you want to experience breakthrough in your life, start with forgiveness.
Here are 8 steps to forgiveness given by Christian Today to guide us into forgiving people who hurt you.
Acknowledge the pain. Sometimes it’s hard to admit you’ve been hurt because doing so intensifies the feelings. But you won’t be able to work through the pain until you admit you’re hurting. Tears are a pretty good indicator that something’s wrong. So are feelings of resentment.
Remember that God forgave you and He commands you to do the same. If you’re a Christian, you’ve admitted your need for God’s forgiveness. Remembering how he forgave you, when you didn’t deserve it, can help you forgive others. You may not be ready at this point to voice your forgiveness to your offender. In fact, communication with that person may be impossible if, for example, the person is no longer living. That’s OK. You can forgive someone without having your offender accept your forgiveness. When Jesus taught about prayer, he stressed the importance of forgiving others (Luke 11:14). And in Mark 11:25, he says, “If you hold anything against anyone, forgive him … “
Let go of the pain. Once you’ve gone through the stages above, refuse to hold onto your hurt. Don’t replay the offense over and over. Allowing yourself to get sad or angry again and again will only cause you more pain. Determine that you are going to choose to forgive your offender. Your emotions might not agree with this decision. This is where prayer comes in. Tell God you want to forgive, and ask him to change your heart toward the person who wronged you. You may want to consider voicing forgiveness to your offender either vocally or through a letter. But again, if this isn’t possible, it doesn’t mean you haven’t expressed forgiveness.
Continue to forgive. If the wound was deep, you’ll probably have to forgive more than once. When memories of the wrong come to mind and you find yourself getting worked up over it, immediately go to God in prayer.
Pray for the one who hurt you. It may be impossible to restore a relationship with your offender. For example, you don’t know where the person lives or contacting this person could be a safety risk. But you can pray for the one who hurt you. Ask God to reveal his love to your offender. Doing so will help you to release any remaining resentment.
These people could be your family, step mother or step father, friends, husband, wife, children, etc. Whoever they are, God is calling you right now to forgive all of them for it is only when you forgive you will experience total freedom. Here is a simple prayer that may lead you to forgiveness:
“Lord, I am forgiving (name), for (the pain he/she causes you). I repent for harboring this pain in my heart. Right now, I am releasing forgiveness. I want to experience total freedom and I want You, Lord, to freely move in my life. Holy Spirit, teach me to love on these people so that I can also glorify you in my life, in Jesus’ name, amen. ”