One of the most common questions people ask me is:
“How do I forgive someone who hurt me?”
Here are three keys to make forgiveness easy, even when it really hurts.
Look to the Cross – The first step to making forgiveness easy is to look to the cross where Jesus died for your sins. The Bible teaches us to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32, italics mine) If we are to forgive as Christ forgave us, that means we are to forgive a) before the other person asks for or admits they have done wrong b) totally and completely without any plans to hang what they did over their heads c) by complete mercy and grace, undeserved on the part of the offender. Look to the cross and remember how merciful Jesus was to you, then go and extend that same mercy to others. (Luke 10:37) (I would highly recommend memorizing Ephesians 4:32!)Look to the #cross. Remember how merciful #Jesus was to you, then go and extend that same #mercy. Click To Tweet
As an Act of Your Will – I know that the pain from an offense can run deep. We feel hurt. We feel wounded. We feel mistreated. It is important to not suppress or ignore our feelings, but it is equally important not to live by them! You can forgive people even when you do not feel like it and even when you still feel hurt. As an act of your God given will, you can choose to forgive those who have offended you. You might argue, “But you don’t know how I feel! And you don’t know how bad they hurt me.” And you’re right. I don’t. But what I do know is this- Jesus died on the cross for your sins even when he did not feel like it! Jesus was in so much anguish over the cross that He sweat blood! (Luke 22:44) Yet He obeyed God’s will and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34, ESV)As an act of your #God given will you can #forgive people even when you do not #feel like it. Click To Tweet
In the Power of the Spirit – Here’s some good news – you do not have to try and forgive in your own strength! If you are a Christian today, the power of the Holy Spirit is living inside of you. And let me tell you, Holy Spirit always wants to forgive! And when we do not forgive, we grieve the Holy Spirit. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:30-31) The Spirit of Jesus Christ within you is willing to empower you to forgive even your worst enemies and greatest offenses.
If you are not yet a Christ follower, let me exhort you to become one today! Pray to God, commit your whole life to Him and ask Him to completely forgive your sins on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross.The #Spirit of #Jesus #Christ within you is willing to #empower you to #forgive. Click To Tweet
Prayer: Here is a prayer you can pray to incorporate the three keys to forgiveness:
“Thank you God for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I receive your complete forgiveness for all I have done wrong based on the blood that Jesus shed for me on the cross. As an act of my will and by the power of your Holy Spirit, I choose to completely forgive [person(s) names] for [offense(s) committed]. I release them to you God, and give over my rights to retaliate in any form or fashion. I bring all my hurts, wounds and pains to the cross and receive your complete healing by the wounds of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Want to go deeper? Download my scholarly article on the difference between secular and biblical forgiveness.
You may also enjoy my most popular on-line writing, How to Deal with Difficult People the Bible Way
How about you? When do you find it most difficult to forgive? Which of these three principles helps you the most?