Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful and freeing words in the human vocabulary. However, it can also be one of the hardest things to master. Do you struggle to forgive others and tend to hold grudges? Do you have a hard time forgiving yourself and think you don’t deserve to be forgiven? When forgiveness is given through grace, we can start the healing process and truly free ourselves.
Let’s dive into how this is possible. First, you can’t make peace with others if you do not have peace within yourself. Your mind must be in the right place to not only show grace and provide forgiveness but to let go of the burdens in your past. This in return will relieve the stress and anger that keeps creeping into your heart. It’s also important to understand that forgiving someone doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or expecting anything in return. Forgiveness is simply an action that allows one to move forward WITHOUT any resentment.
Matthew 6: 14-15 reads “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” Remember, you must be willing to give forgiveness in order to receive forgiveness. It’s a two-way street that many struggle with and relationships have been destroyed because of it.
It's okay to feel the pain, while you prepare to address it and find meaning within the suffering. Seek the silver lining of why a situation occurred and how you can learn or possibly benefit from it. Next comes a large amount of understanding and empathy. One cannot demonstrate grace if they do not lead with empathy and a foundation built upon Christ. While not condoning another’s actions, you can try to understand their situation and where the actions may have originated from.
Whenever possible, be proactive and intentional with your relationships. You can do this by developing a forgiving heart and becoming ‘forgivingly fit’. Just as you would slowly start a new exercise routine, you can begin to build your heart muscles and incorporate forgiving habits into your life. Make a conscious effort daily to not talk disparagingly about those who’ve hurt you. If you refrain from talking negatively, it will feed the more forgiving side of your mind and heart. In return, you are positively changing your inner world one step at a time.
Finally, when feeling discouraged or extremely hurt, don’t forget to PRAY for God’s wisdom and guidance. Forgiveness is what He does best! Sometimes it may feel impossible to forgive someone through your strength alone. However, we know through God, anything is possible. That doesn’t mean it will happen instantly and it doesn’t mean it will be easy. But if you wholeheartedly ask God to help you forgive, He will give you the strength to do so.