Forgiveness is a hard concept for many to grasp, especially as Christians. We are told to forgive one another, just as how God has forgiven us. Jesus told Peter when he asked how many times he is to forgive his brother, “70 x 7.”
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”Matthew 18:21-22
For some people, forgiving someone comes easy for them, but for others, they tend to hold grudges, stay mad, and even show hatred towards the person.
Why is it so difficult to show forgiveness towards others? Why can’t we just forgive and forget, like God forgives us of our sins, and remembers them no more?
A Personal Story of Showing Forgiveness
A fair few years ago I was in a relationship with an abusive guy. The things that he did to me, the things that I experienced, shook my old counselor to the core. Although I will not bring up the things that I experienced throughout this relationship, I want to talk to you about how I was able to forgive him.
Forgiving this person took time. I also had to give myself a lot of time, and grace to forgive myself for staying in this relationship for so long.
I also had to give myself space from this person, physically, socially (blocking him online, on my phone, not talking to any mutual friends about him, etc.) and mentally (not thinking about him or the things I went through).
This was hard.
But one of the many things I learned throughout these years since leaving him is that God gives us everything we need to heal, move on and find forgiveness in our hearts towards others who have hurt or wronged us.
The Lessons I Learned from Forgiving the One Who Hurt Me
There was something constantly weighing me down and it was the grudges I held, and the hurt I carried in my heart.
I needed to move on from this person, and this relationship, and in order to do that I needed to show forgiveness towards him. This is where I turned to the Bible for help. This wasn’t something that I could do on my own.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”Hebrews 8:12
Like I had said before, if God can forgive us of all of our sins: past, present and future, and remember them no more, then how hard can it be for me to forgive this one person?
Oh boy, was it difficult, but only by the grace of God was I able to overcome such an experience, and come out of it – stronger, happier and more forgiving than ever before.
There was no longer any need for me to hold these grudges or feel such hatred in my heart towards this person.
God had freed me from this man, and this relationship and had helped me completely heal and be transformed from the inside out. I had my liberty back. I am so happy and better off now. My relationship with God is stronger than ever before.
It was time.
Here are some ways that have helped me learn to forgive this person (and others too) that will encourage you to show forgiveness towards others as well.
5 Simple Steps to Forgiveness
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Stop Thinking About It
This is one of the hardest things to do, but it is so important. Once you learn to stop entertaining those thoughts about the person/situation, or the frustration and grudges you have against them, it is so relieving. There is no need to continue dwelling on the whole thing. Stop thinking about it and move on. You will know that you have completely forgiven the person when you no longer think about it or care anymore.
Give Yourself Some Time and Grace
Give yourself the time and grace that you need to be able to forgive and move on from the situation. It took me several years to forgive my ex over the things that he did to me. It isn’t going to be an overnight change in your mind and heart where you feel completely different about the person and have forgiven them and moved on from it all.
Turn to The Lord
True forgiveness is shown through The Lord forgiving us of all of our sins. Talk to Him and let Him guide you on how to deal with forgiving this person in the right way.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”Colossians 3:13
Pray for Those Who Have Hurt You
Pray for those who have hurt you. Pray for your enemies. Give it all to God in prayer. Let your thoughts and feelings about the person and situation be known to God. And in doing so, pray that God will heal your heart, mind and soul, and encourage you to forgive as He forgave you.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16
Set Healthy Boundaries
It is one thing to forgive someone, but it is another to let them back into your life. Forgiveness granted, but access denied.
I have never let my ex back into my life. I ceased all communication with him. If this is something that you need to do as well, then that is important for you to do.
Final Thoughts on Showing Forgiveness Towards Others
I truly hope and pray that you are encouraged today to find forgiveness in your heart towards those who have hurt you or wronged you in any way. Give yourself the time that you need to heal, and move on.
Please know that God is always there for you. He will help you through everything that you are going through. Trust Him for He shows us in His Word, the right way to forgive others, just as how He has forgiven us.