Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Jesus says: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
I don’t think there is a more penetrating statement in all of scripture! If you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you! Your relationship with God is integrally part of your relationship with others and vice versa.
We are all desperate for it, but we are also confused with what true forgiveness really is. Forgiving doesn’t mean you must go back to or reunite. Forgiving doesn’t mean we tolerate the wrong he did or that we want to forget what happened. Forgiving isn’t excusing the person who did it. Nor does forgiving mean to surrender our right to justice. It’s not an invitation to hurt us again.
Forgiveness involves three primary stages. First, HURT! There is no need for forgiveness without the pain of hurting. Don’t try to minimize this stage. It’s important to really feel this pain.
Second, HATE! It’s like clockwork. You’ll have some degree of anger over the hurt. There’s nothing wrong with this response. It’s natural!
Third, HEALING! This third stage is the way it’s supposed to go-toward some level of healing. This brings us to what forgiveness actually is. It’s being willing to pay for the offense yourself and not get even with the one who hurt you. When you forgive, you take the pain yourself! It’s the final form of love. There are five steps in forgiving another person: i. Remind yourself that this person is only human!
- Relinquish your right to get even! You’ll never be able to get (exactly) even. You’ll either not get back at them enough or you’ll overdo it.
iii. Be ready to hurt in order to heal! Take the pain all by yourself! This is the real secret to the dynamic of forgiving someone. You must pay for and not demand that they do!
- Wish them well! This could be the best real evidence that forgiveness has taken place. Try praying for them—for their success!
- You may have to repeat the process! When Jesus said we’re to forgive someone 490 times, he meant it to be unlimited.
What is the primary motivation to forgive anyone—especially your enemy? The answer is FREEDOM! As long as you refuse to forgive, you are in bondage to this person who hurt you! In bondage! You are his/her slave for as long as you don’t forgive! To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you!