Probably the toughest thing I deal with when counseling others is their inability to forgive or to understand forgiveness. I have counseled many good people who are being “eat up” on the inside because they are unable to forgive.
Here are ten important things to know about forgiveness of others.
- Forgiveness is important to God. If you hold something against someone, God will hold your lack of forgiveness against you. …if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matt 6:15
- It is natural for you to not want to forgive. You need God’s help.
- If you don’t forgive, you are hurting yourself. There will always be pain and it will turn into bitterness.
- You forgive, but you won’t forget. Usually when a person tells me she has forgotten, she is in denial. She probably has not forgiven either. You are not commanded to forget. Unless you get hit on the head or have some kind of psychotic break, you will not forget.
- Since you don’t forget, you have to reforgive every time you remember it. It will get easier to reforgive every time you do it and you may get to a point where you will no longer have any pain when it comes to mind.
- Forgiveness means being OK with letting God handle the consequences for the other person.
- Forgiveness means being OK with the other person’s successes. This one is hard especially if your life is not going the way you would like.
- If you have forgiven, you won’t hold it against that person in future arguments. The history can’t be used as a weapon.
- If you have people you have not forgiven, it is messing up your current and future relationships.
- Forgiveness does not have to mean reconciliation if the other person has not repented. You need to forgive as in letting it go but repentance is the key to reconciliation with others and with God.
Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness (repents), you must forgive.” Luke 17:4
Question: Can you think of any other points to make about forgiveness?