Forgiving those who have significantly hurt you is one of the most difficult things to do, especially if the wound is so deep. However, without releasing forgiveness, you will remain a prisoner of hatred and bitterness. These two are poisons that can eventually destroy your character.
If you want to forgive for the sake of your own peace but you do not know how, read these tips coming from the Bible.
1. Think about how God has forgiven you.
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
The said verse encourages us to bear with one another and forgive if there is any offense made. It sounds hard to do, right? However, if you will consider the second statement, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”, it could be easier to do.
Unless you have been living a perfect life ever since you were born, you would realize how much you owe God. Every day you sin–or offend God–but, still, here you are breathing, living a life that others only wish to have. It is because of God’s grace. The Lord has shown you mercy by forgiving you every time you asked Him. If God has forgiven your every sin, even the worst ones, why can you not forgive others?
2. Choose kindness and compassion.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
God wants us to treat each other with kindness and compassion. If we choose to be kind and compassionate to someone who has hurt us, it will be more bearable to release forgiveness.
Both of these characteristics exhibit selflessness. Therefore, it will be easier for you to set aside the pain, anger, frustration, and disappointment caused by others if you live by kindness and compassion. The willingness to forgive will be more natural to you.
3. Do not judge those who have hurt you.
Luke 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
One of the reasons why it is hard for us to forgive those who have offended us is because we only focus on their mistakes. We see their negative side and think that they do not deserve to be forgiven. However, Jesus reminds us not to judge others for their mistakes, or else we will also be judged for ours. Remember that no one is perfect, including us.
If you understand that the one who has offended you is as imperfect as you are, you will consider forgiveness all the more. You will realize that you and that person are both under God’s grace, so you are no better than them.
4. Forgive so you can boldly face God in prayer.
Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
The first part of this verse tells us that our prayers will not be complete without first forgiving those who have wronged us. Part of prayer should be confessing our sins and asking forgiveness for them. Without God’s forgiveness through Christ Jesus, we cannot be considered righteous, and our prayers will not be effective, as James 5:16 says.
For this reason, before soaking in God’s presence through prayer time or devotion, choose to forgive those who have hurt you.
5. Forgive so you will be forgiven.
In connection to no. 4, forgiving others is a prerequisite to your own forgiveness. Before God will forgive you for your transgressions against Him, He wants you to forgive those who caused you pain first. In general, He wants your heart to be purified from all hatred before you face Him.
Yes, releasing forgiveness is not easy, especially if those who hurt you have not apologized. Nevertheless, choose to forgive, not for them, but for yourself and God. Do it to glorify the Lord through your life, and do it so you can also be forgiven and live a life of peace.
6. Choose to forget just as God has chosen to forget your sins.
Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more …”
Do you know one of the reasons why it is hard to forgive the people who hurt us? It is because we keep on replaying in our minds what they have done to us. Forgiveness does not happen automatically. It starts with a decision that we need to stand by every day until such time it becomes real in our hearts.
To help you completely forgive, choose to forget what happened. Stop meditating on your pain. Realize that even God chooses not to remember your sins anymore.
7. Let love overcome hatred.
Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.”
As we continue to dwell in hate for those who have hurt us, it will be impossible to forgive. The first step to forgiveness is letting go of the hate. Then, we have to ask God to help us love them. Why love?
Love is selfless, and as the verse says, it overlooks insults or offenses. Thus, if you learn to love those you hate, it will be easier to look past their mistakes. It will be easier to forgive them, as a result.
8. Forgive over and over again.
Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ “
What if those people keep on hurting us? Do they deserve our forgiveness at all? It seems unfair to be giving second chances to people who only take us for granted, right? Well, Jesus tells us to be generous in forgiveness anyway. However, He does not tell us to allow them to keep hurting us.
You ought to forgive people no matter how many times they offend you. Nevertheless, you are not required to keep trusting them. After forgiving them, you can choose to set a boundary between you and those people to prevent them from hurting you again.
9.Remember God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7-8)
Ephesians 1:7-8 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”
The best encouragement for us to forgive those who wronged us is remembering how Jesus had to suffer and sacrifice Himself to death just so that we can be forgiven for our sins and have access to eternal life.
If Jesus willingly died for the forgiveness you do not deserve, how much would forgiving others cost you? God treated you with grace. Pay it forward, then.
God Can Help You
Forgiving others is easier said than done. God knows this, and He is willing to help you. All you need to do is surrender your pain to Him. Ask the Lord to heal your heart and change it. Then, ask for wisdom and strength to forgive those people completely.
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