Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you Ephesians 4:31–32
True forgiveness is a miracle, but there are no enduring relationships without it. Choosing to put others’ sins behind us is hard. How much easier to fixate on and replay that offense in our minds—but how toxic to our souls. While forgiveness brings healing and begins the process of forgetting, unforgiveness binds the offense to our hearts and ensures we will never forget.
Even when we know we should forgive, our efforts at forgiveness are often clumsy at best, sharp-edged and vengeful at worst. Though we have ample opportunities in life to be forgiven and to practice forgiving, most of us are amateurs in the art of forgiveness. We know we should forgive, but how do we actually go about it? And once we think we’ve done it, how do we know if we really have?
“THE FRUIT OF YOUR ACTIONS TELLS THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART.”
Forgiveness comes in two parts: a crisis and a process. It begins with a decision, an act of the will. When you choose to release a person from the obligation resulting when he or she injured you, this is the crisis of forgiveness. It’s a decision: I choose to forgive. I’m not trying to get even or looking for vengeance. I don’t wish for bad things to happen to that person, and I’m not focused on the offense. I’ve released him.
After the crisis comes the process, which is where deep healing takes place. In the crisis of forgiveness you say, “I choose to forgive,” but in the process you say, “I will treat you as though it never happened.” In the process, you must hold yourself to these guidelines:
1. I won’t bring up the offense to the person, except for his or her benefit.
2. I won’t bring up the offense to others.
3. I won’t bring up the offense to myself (which is hardest of all). I will not replay it or dwell on it.
Written by James MacDonald
Full article at Walk in the Word