By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
Have you ever thought or said I do not want to forgive?
I know I have. I erroneously believed that the person who offended me needed to demonstrate remorse or fix the situation before I would forgive them. They didn’t deserve my forgiveness until they set things right. I held out for fairness to be rendered. I didn’t understand that unforgiveness left me still hurting, not the offender.
Holding on to unforgiveness creates a bitter heart. We add more resentment to our embittered hearts when we imagine ways to take revenge on the person we perceived harmed us. We want them to suffer for their behavior toward us.When I Don't Feel Like Forgiving #Faith #Forgiveness Click To Tweet
Yet, they may not even know they hurt us. Or perhaps they do know, and they don’t care. They have moved on, and we are stuck in anger and hatred. Talk about unfair now. The wrongdoer mistreated us, and it seems they have not suffered a penalty for their actions. Instead, we suffer emotional turmoil as a result of their behavior.
What is the solution?
In my adult years, I finally learned that forgiveness is necessary for my freedom. Forgiveness releases us from the power the hurtful memory has when we give the person and the situation to the Lord. The person still owes us a debt, but we decide to forgive the debt and let Jesus take care of it. We can trust Him to do that when we ask.
Does forgiving a person mean what they did was okay?
No, it doesn’t. We are acknowledging the wrongdoing but letting it go. We hand the person and the situation over to Jesus.
Does forgiving the person mean I will forget what happened?
No, it doesn’t. The blessing is that the power the memory and the person have over you is released.
Does forgiveness mean letting go of my boundaries and saying anything goes?
No, it doesn’t. We need to recognize that it may be unsafe to be around the offender even though we have forgiven them.
Is reconciliation the next step after forgiveness?
Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation of the relationship is the next step. Restoration of the relationship may be a bonus, but it is not a requirement for you to decide to forgive. Reconciliation requires the cooperation of the other person. Forgiveness benefits us and is dependent on our choice to forgive regardless of the offender’s response.
How do I forgive?
The good news is God graciously forgives us through Jesus’s shed blood on the cross when we confess our sins before Him. In light of His mercy, can we do any less for others?
Before I share a prayer, I’d love for you to have the opportunity to chime in. What tips do you have for forgiving someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness? Be sure to leave your thoughts on our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion at https://www.facebook.com/groups/433961681828074
Consider praying the following prayer aloud:
Lord, You have made it clear You want the healing and freedom for me that forgiveness brings. Therefore, I choose to forgive (name of person) for (what they did) (repeat as needed). I release (name of person) from any debt I believed was owed me. I repent for judging, and I let go of all judgments against (name of person) and any consequences or retributions I wanted for (name of person). I give all this over to You, Lord. I ask this in the name of Jesus.