It is one thing to hear you have to forgive it is another really doing it. It is one thing to know it is better for your health and soul to forgive, but is it that easy?
Recently I experienced grave unfairness, I was bitter. Knowing what to do did not help me. I had to know HOW TO FORGIVE…
An example of forgiveness is that of a man called, Shimei. He was a man who was loyal to king Saul, but when David became king he was in the king’s palace. When David fled Jerusalem during the revolt of Absalom, Shimei become loyal to Absalom and cursed David, accusing David publicly of having incurred bloodguilt through his usurpation of the throne of Saul (2 Samuel 16:5–13). (Shimei could have lived today – this is the type of person we encounter today as well). When David returned, Shimei met him at the Jordan, confessing his sin and pledging his allegiance (2 Samuel 19:16–23). David forgave Shimei and spared his life on oath.
When I put myself in the sandals (he did not wear shoes) of David, and hear the curses of Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:6-8, and then what the same man said when he was not safe anymore and asked for forgiveness in 2 Samuel 19:20, I might have been furious.
The people closest to us commit the most painful injuries.
Forgiving is not easy; perhaps the only thing more difficult than forgiving is not forgiving. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea how to forgive, much less how to help someone who desperately needs to and wants to, but does not know how to.
Many talk about the end result of forgiveness and that we have to forgive, but not a lot has been said yet about the process of forgiveness. Many feel guilty when they hear they have to forgive, know they have to, but HOW?
Perhaps we resist it or have an incomplete or mistaken view of forgiveness. Mistaken views of forgiveness can include:
- Some believe if they forgive they agree with the offender. Forgiveness is in no way condoning the offense.
- Loving means I don’t have to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Others think that forgiveness ignores justice.
- We hear so often: “When you forgive, you forget.”
- People sometimes think that forgiveness cancels the consequences of the offense.
These are just a few erroneous beliefs about the real nature of forgiveness – this can become a barrier preventing you to forgive.
It is clear we have to understand the process a person should go through to really forgive, not makeshift forgiveness.
To really forgive we have to go through a process:
- Define the injuries you have suffered.
- To forgive, you have to accuse. If nobody is to blame, there is nobody to forgive.
- Own the pain and injury.
- Restore the resources that were lost because of the injury.
- Cancel the debt and cut the bonds. “Only the brave know how to forgive…a coward never forgave; it is not in his nature” (Laurence Stern).
- Let God restore you and take steps towards restoration. Recognise that injury might happen again.
More about this to come…