How To Forgive

by pastortimfowler

Forgiving is not easy. It is something that God requires Christians to do, but few Christians seem to be able to do it. Even when we say we are forgiving someone, those old feelings of anger and resentment have a way of coming back. This past Sunday I preached about how we love the fact that God forgives us when we ask, but we tend to make people wait on the forgiveness that we should give. But, for many, we want to and try to forgive but get stuck with the residue of hurt and bitterness. Here are a few things that you can do if and when you struggle with forgiving someone.
First, and this is important, we are not God and cannot forget the past. We are told that God never brings up our sins again after they are forgiven, and we hear people say stuff like, forgive and forget. But we can’t forget. What we must do is daily and if necessary hourly, every minute, or every second, remind ourselves that we chose to forgive. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to sin. In other words, he reminded himself everyday that the old man was gone and now he was a new creature in Christ. Just like every other sin we struggle with, forgiveness is a sin that has to be dealt with daily. God is perfect and His forgiveness is perfect, ours is not.
Second, we need to do everything possible to grow in our Christian lives. There are a few wonderful verses Peter’s 2nd letter that can help. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says to add to our faith, purity, to purity, knowledge, to knowledge, self-control and so on. If we ever think that we are as good as we get in our Christian lives, we are going to stumble. Forgiveness takes maturity and to mature as a Christian, you need, Bible, prayer, church, and practice, and of course, God.
Third, sometimes we feel like that person is not getting what they deserve. This is common, but we must remember that God is the one who will judge the unrighteous, and Psalms 7:11 says, God is a fair judge, a God who is angered by injustice every day. We must trust that if there is an injustice, God will deal with it, we don’t have to. But if God has forgiven that person, and we don’t know if they have asked or not, but if so, then it is forgiven and we need to let it go.
Forth, if possible, tell the person that you forgive them. Be prepared for them to say that they did nothing to need forgiving, but if there has been a real wrong committed, let them know you forgive them. If this is not possible, write out what they did on paper. Write down how you feel and your desire to forgive. Daily, or as often as needed, pray over it and ask God to take away all bitterness and resentment and that your desire is to forgive completely. Let God know that you are weak and that you need His strength to release it. Once you have been freed from this, burn the paper and thank God for the release. Thank Him for forgiving you and forgiving the person you just forgave or if you think that person is not a Christian, pray for their salvation.
Forgiveness is hard, but it is beautiful when it comes in fullness. You can forgive because, Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

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2 Comments to “How To Forgive”

  1. Pastor Tim,
    My very good friend from HS posted this on FB and I’m grateful she did. She is a member of your church. I feel that I have forgiven my parents for their mistakes and was able to tell them this. But I am saddened they weren’t able to do the same for me, for their souls sake. They told me this fact – I am not assuming their forgiveness. How do I deal with this knowing they passed away with anger and unforgiveness in their hearts?
    Daphne

  2. Very nice blog post. Sometimes we tend to think forgiveness is about the other person, when in fact it is about following the instructions of Jesus who instructed us to do so. The perks of us doing what He has asked is that we are set free from effects that unforgiveness can produce in our hearts like bitterness, anger, etc. You’re right, it’s hard, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it can most certainly be done. God Bless you!

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