Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Process of Forgiveness

The Process of Forgiveness

Have you every had to forgive someone that hasn't asked for your forgiveness? Has someone said things about you that are mean, rotten and nasty, it short of pounds in your head, "WAY TO OFTEN". I will admit, I have had people do this to me. I find myself dwelling on the words they said and how they treated me. OK, I just want you'll to know that the people I am talking about is not part of my home life or church life. I'm having "NO" trouble at home, or at church. To be honest, this isn't even someone I ever have to be around! I feel better already just writing this post. I"m going to spare you'll the details of the offense or the offender. I just thought, if I stuggle, maybe one of you do too! Down below, I have written out a process that has helped me in the past. My life is still good!

As you all know, I took up working-out every morning a while back now. For starters, it really helps with my anxiety. After being on the treadmill for an hour and a half this morning, I decided that maybe that wasn't going to do the trick alone. While I was working out this morning, I rememberd writing this all out for a young lady years ago. She was having trouble forgiving and letting go. I thought maybe it could help someone else.

Most of us do not find it easy to forgive—and if the offense is serious, we may think we are unable to forgive. Perhaps viewing forgiveness as a process can be helpful. The steps outlined below may take a long time, or they may happen within a single day. Prayer should certainly be part of each step. And you’ll probably have to pay close attention to be sure you keep at it, because the process of forgiveness often takes a lifetime.

1. Acknowledge that you have been wronged If you deny that you have been offended you cannot begin the process of forgiveness

Don’t magnify the offense beyond what actually happened, but don’t diminish it either Talk with the offender (usually) to be sure you have not misunderstood the offense Consider what part (if any) you might have played in allowing or provoking the offense and let this modify your intended response Don’t substitute “understanding why” the offense happened for genuine forgiveness

2. Decide not to require payment from the offender Remember that God wants you to forgive others as He has forgiven you Even as you make this decision (and others), ask God to help you forgive Talk with a mature Christian friend both about the offense and your decision to forgive

Finish any needed “ventilation” by talking with only a few friends—not everyone At times you might talk with the offender about your decision to forgive, but don’t bring up the offense every time you have a problem with him/her

Sometimes circumstances may cause you to decide that the offender is helped most by requiring restitution or payment of some kind You may have to renew this decision many times, and your success will depend largely on how successful you are at accomplishing the next three steps

3. Decide to stop reciting the offense to your friends Tell a few close friends about your decision to stop talking about the offense/offender Be sure you have Adequately ventilated before you decide to stop reciting the offense to your friends

Ask your friends to hold you accountable, to tell you if you fail to achieve this goal

4.Decide to let God help you to stop reciting the offense over and over again in your mind and thinking negatively of the offender No one else can hold you accountable to this step, and, depending on the nature of the offense, it may take a long time and be very difficult If you find yourself reciting the offense, stop and pray for the offender

Ask God to help you to stop reciting the offense over and over again in your mind and thinking negatively of the offender

5. Ask God to show you if you should work to repair the damaged relationship with the offender This may be the most difficult part of the process You will have to decide if God wants you to restore the broken relationshipwith the offender Don’t try to do it all at once, take small steps over a period of time Be patient—both with yourself and with the offender—rebuilding trust takes time and new experiences

6. Expect to discover that the process is never completely finished If you think of the offense/offender again (perhaps months or years later), this does not mean you have failed to forgive, but that the process is still on-going If you remember the offense/offender again and feel anger or hurt, don’t conclude you have failed to forgive—instead examine your actions to see if you have treated the person as if they had not committed the offense

Scripture passage that I went to today!

MATTHEW 18:21-22 NKJ
Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Surely Jesus was not setting a maximum limit on the number of times we should forgive. He gave an absurdly high number so we would realize He meant for us to forgive without limit.

LUKE 17:3-4 NKJ
"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
"And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, `I repent,' you shall forgive him."

Can we have love but not forgiveness? Or true forgiveness without love?
What often makes forgiveness so difficult is that we tend to think of it as a sacrifice, as giving in, giving up, losing our “rightness.” It’s like giving up the chip that says “You owe me.” It seems to discount the pain we felt. Forgiveness is sometimes experienced as letting someone who hurt us off the hook, no longer holding them accountable for their actions.

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