Practical Steps to Forgiveness
Friday, 2nd of February 2024
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Categories : Forgiveness
When someone hurts us or the ones we love, our natural instinct is to seek revenge. Hurt leads to anger. Pride starts giving us instructions on how to get back. In such a bleak scenario, how is it possible for a person to forgive?
The Foundation of Forgiveness
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
The act of forgiveness is firmly rooted in the Christian faith, where Christ's sacrifice serves as the ultimate model for forgiving others. By dying on the cross, Christ paid a debt we could never repay ourselves, offering forgiveness freely to all. This fundamental truth reminds us that all acts of forgiveness are a reflection of God's grace towards us (Ephesians 4:32).
1. Forgiveness through the Power of the Holy Spirit
True forgiveness is anchored in the divine and surpasses human capacity. It is the Holy Spirit within us that empowers and guides us to forgive, even when it seems impossible. By relying on this supernatural strength, we can overcome the barriers of bitterness and resentment (Galatians 5:22-23).
2. Forgiveness through Prayer
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)
Prayer is a powerful tool in the process of forgiveness. Jesus' command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us is not just an ideal but a practical step toward breaking down the walls of hostility. Through prayer, we align our hearts with God's heart, learning to see others through His lens of grace.
3. Forgiveness through Faith
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Walking by faith means trusting in God's larger plan, even when it contradicts our understanding or emotional state. Forgiveness through faith involves handing over our hurt, our desire for revenge, and our sense of justice to God, trusting that His ways are higher than ours.
4. Forgiveness through Humility
12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12-13)
Humility is the soil in which forgiveness thrives. Recognising our own need for forgiveness from God helps us extend grace to others. The Apostle Paul's exhortation to clothe ourselves with humility, gentleness, and patience is a reminder that forgiveness is often a reflection of understanding our position before God.
Forgiveness is not a one-time act but a continuous journey. As someone who has navigated the challenging path of forgiveness, I have found these steps to be vital in moving towards genuine reconciliation. It's essential to remember that forgiveness does not condone the wrong or erase the pain, but it frees us from the cycle of anger and bitterness. Let us strive to be reflections of Christ's love, extending forgiveness freely as we have received it.
By embracing these practical steps and reflecting on the lessons from scripture, I believe we can begin to forge a path toward healing and peace. May we always remember the depth of forgiveness we have received in Christ and strive to extend that same forgiveness to others, transforming our relationships and reflecting God's unconditional love to the world around us.
Father, grant us the grace to forgive as we have been forgiven. Empower us by Your Spirit to release hurt and embrace healing. May our lives reflect Your love and forgiveness to all in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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