(Photo courtesy of Dean Robbins, The Lifelong Learner)
There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.
— Bryant H. McGill
Forgiveness is defined as an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of feelings and thoughts of resentment, bitterness, anger, and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves.
Forgiveness is possibly one of the most difficult things that a hurt person could consciously do. We have all been in a situation where we have knowingly/unknowingly done wrong to someone we loved and wanted to be forgiven. We sort it in whatever way we may have had to redeem ourselves.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
— Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiving people who have deeply hurt us can be very difficult. Here are a few pointers that could you through forgiving
1. Let go of the anger. Holding onto anger that has mostly been caused by hurt can eventually lead to hate. God commands us to love each other and walk in love. How would we do this if we are holding resentment for each other? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 30 -31
2.Avoid think of yourself as a victim. Victimizing yourself or your situation drives your resentment, hurt, offense, and gives you the chance to feel like you have a right to be upset.
3.Focus on the future. What has happened cannot be undone or reversed. Focusing more on past hurts creates more room for resentment and hurt to settle in. Focusing on the future helps us move forward and focus more on forgiveness which brings forth a fresh start, a renewal of the relationship.
4.Ask God for guidance. Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
5.Let forgiveness be an everyday practice. This could be termed as being ‘forgivingly-fit’ which means slowly oftenly and intentionally practicing forgiveness. This could start with not avenging anyone that wrongs you, not speaking negatively of those who have hurt you in any way, this would feed the more forgiving side of your heart.
6.Address your inner pain. More often than not we are triggered and offended by pain that we did not deal with
7. Develop a forgiving mind through empathy. most of our actions develop from a single thought. Thinking of other’s grievances and what they are going through before our own feelings helps us to be more patient and empathetic when dealing with other people, even those that have hurt us.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.