An important part of Emotional Transformation is develop a spirit of Forgiveness; and to Forgive those who have hurt us and down wrong against us.
We must release that pain and hurt so we can move on to freedom in Christ.
Impact of UnForgiveness
- Bitterness and negativity
- Hurt those around me
- Physical, spiritual and emotional sickness
Benefits of Forgiveness
- Freedom to move on
- Antidote for resentment and anger
- The situation no longer has power over us
Forgiveness is not ...
- A Feeling, but a decision, an act of will, a process
- Minimizing the offense
- Condoning the offending behaviour
- Trusting the offender or restoring the relationship
- Letting the offender off the hook
- Expecting an apology
3 Stages of Forgiveness
Stage 1—“to forgive”
To Forgive is a choice; an act of the will. You do not need to feel like forgiving someone to do it. You do need to choose to release any desire for retribution and to ask God to treat the offending person in the same way God has treated you—with mercy.
Forgiving is a process whereby your choice to forgive begins over time to align with your emotions. This process sometimes takes months or even years. On one particular occasion when I was severely betrayed, I chose to forgive the person in a deliberate act of will and wrote the date and time in my journal. However, a few days later I heard more information about this person’s false accusations and my emotions began to spin out of control. I had already forgiven him of his sin, but this new information ripped off the scab of healing that had begun in my heart. There was no new sin, but the issue was brought again to my conscious mind and stirred up emotions of anger and bitterness.
This is where many Christians get caught in a vicious cycle. They either assume they have never really forgiven the person because the same emotions rise to the surface on occasion, or the repeated surfacing of such issues causes so much pain that they go into denial and bury their bitterness. Unconsciously they assume that genuine forgiveness is not possible in their particular situation and no final resolution ever occurs.
Forgiving is a process whereby your choice to forgive begins over time to align with your emotions.
So how does this process of “forgiving” actually work? Did you notice that Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, while Paul tells us twice in Romans 12:14 to bless those who persecute us and to bless and not curse. “To bless” someone can be likened to a type of prayer, and Jesus commands us directly to pray for those who have persecuted us.
The key to stage two—“forgiving”—is prayer. In the situation I alluded to earlier of being betrayed, I vowed in my heart to begin praying for this erson daily. My early prayers were ones of asking God to give him what he deserved, show him the error of his ways, and cause him to repent. As time went on, the Spirit of God began to remind me of how merciful and kind He has been with me despite the evil in my heart and the things I have done. Although it was slow in coming, I eventually began to pray that God would bless the person’s life, his marriage, his children, and his ministry. I made it a habit never to take the Lord’s Supper until I had thoroughly and from the heart sought God’s blessing on behalf of this brother.
About a year later a mutual friend visited this particular person in another state and brought back a positive report. Not knowing the depth of the betrayal that I had endured, he assumed I would be happy about the encouraging news. The initial reaction in my heart was anything but joy, but I quickly put a “Christian smile on my face” and told him how good it was to hear that this man was doing well. My first reaction told me that I was still in stage two—“forgiving.” My reaction revealed that I still had subtle desires for his downfall and for justice to be meted out to him. I had forgiven him—stage one, “the choice”—but the “forgiving process” was not yet complete.
It wasn’t until another eighteen months had passed (and I continued praying through this time) that through a different set of circumstances, I heard yet another positive report about this brother just minutes before I was about to preach a message at my home church. Without hesitation and without thinking, my immediate response was joy. After praying for over two years, stage two had been completed and stage three had begun!
Forgiven —the Spirit of God aligns your choice to obey God in forgiving with the emotional experience of feeling genuine joy when blessings occur in that person’s life. It was not an easy process and I must confess that this was certainly not a onetime experience. I have had to practice these three stages of forgiveness in many situations over the years. But through this experience, I learned the three verb forms of forgiveness and experienced the peace and freedom that comes when we understand and apply genuine forgiveness.
Forgiveness is ...
- Life Changing
- A decision only I can make
- Obeying God
Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
- Freedom and release
Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
- A process
- Living in a higher realm
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
- Unilateral; no response is expected from the offender
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
- A reflection of my maturity
Joseph, in Genesis 50:20-21 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
Process of Forgiving
Identify the Pain
Forgiveness does not mean the action by the other party was justified, in the contrary. To release the pain caused, you need to identify that pain and express your feelings of anger and frustration before genuine forgiveness takes place:
- Identify the hurt and pain
- Examine and Validate your feelings
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Recognize he is human under sin
For we all have sinned and went astray
Recognize that you may done similar sins in your life
May be we didn't make the same mistake, but surely we all have our fair share of mistakes and sins against others
God had forgiven you for your sins
Jesus has forgiven us for our sins and redeemed us (made it right) by paying the price on the cross.
He will also make right with the people that we sin against, by compensating them and heal their wounds, likewise He is hear to heal your wounds and make it right for you from the hurt that you received
- I should release the pain to God
- I should release the Person to God
- I should release the RIGHT to punish him to God
- I must break the bondage between him and I, through anger and pain
I can’t punish him for what he did, I truly pray to God to forgive him as well.
I have no expectation of him recognize that he did anything wrong, on the contrary, he will continue in his actions and behaviours.
From here on, I will not let him into my personal issues
However, I will have no grudge, no malice toward him, I will no longer have the right to be angry about what happened, as I continue to feel some pain about this, I will move on.