If you’re a human being, then you’ve felt the pain of being hurt or disappointed by someone before. It’s something we’ve all gone through at one time or another. After that, we can either go through life harboring unforgiveness and resentment or we can choose to forgive.
The steps to forgiving someone are no easy task. In fact, forgiveness can be the hardest thing someone ever decides to do. It goes against human nature. Usually, we want to make things fair and equal. “An eye for an eye,” right?
But when Jesus came, He showed us a new way to live. He died to forgive all humans of their sinful condition that would have normally doomed them to an eternity in hell. The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) But Jesus didn’t die only for His friends, He died for His enemies as well.
He died for those men who wanted to see Him crucified. He died for those who gave Him sour wine when He asked for a drink. Jesus didn’t discriminate while He was on the cross. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Holy Son and sacrificial lamb can and will be saved.
So how can we walk in the footsteps of Jesus and forgive those who have done great harm to us? There’s three steps to follow and by doing these things (although not easy), we can become free from living with resentment and bitterness that eats its victims alive.
A Strong Desire
“If the why is powerful, the how is easy.”
Before anything comes to fruition in life, there must be a strong desire. There must be some force that moves someone to act. But I get it: How on earth am I supposed to want to forgive someone who hurt me? Well, I believe that if you study up on the Word of God and find out what it says about forgiveness, you will soon desire to do it.
“But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.“
– Matthew 6:15
“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.“
– Luke 17:4
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.“
– Mark 11:25
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:32
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 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
When you look at the above scriptures, you’ll notice that God commands us to forgive. It’s not negotiable; it’s an order. God expects us to forgive those who do wrong to us and tells us that if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us. Therefore, it’s more important to forgive than we may think. We can’t have a healthy relationship with God until we forgive those who have done wrong to us.
If you’re still struggling with growing a desire to forgive, pray, and ask God to grant it to you. He can do anything if you ask. Therefore, ask God and He will help you with this first step.
Make A Decision
The very next thing for you to do is make a decision that you will forgive. Regardless of how you feel, decide that you will obey God. Anytime God asks us to do something, it’s for our benefit. He will always remain to be God. As our Father, He wants what’s best for us.
Although we cannot see the ultimate purpose He has for us, we must trust in His guidance. Also, when someone does wrong to us, they’re actually sinning against God. It’s not our battle to fight.
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
– Romans 12:19
Rely On The Holy Spirit
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
– John 15:5
The final step of forgiveness is extremely important. You must rely on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit if you’re going to overcome unforgiveness. Humble yourself before God and ask Him for His help in this battle.
Although we want to do the right thing, desire alone may not be enough to do it. The Bible tells us in Matthew 26:41 that the Spirit may be willing, but the flesh is indeed weak. Therefore, we need a strong spiritual power to overcome bitterness and resentment. Remember, we’re in a spiritual war. Any attack that’s coming from a human is actually from the spiritual realm.
Remove the person from the equation and recognize that you’re actually being attacked by an unclean spirit. That’s why you cannot fake forgiveness. It may seem like you can just act like you’re over an action a person committed against you, but you may fall into the trap of the legalism spirit.
Legalism is when you follow biblical commandments phsically but still have an unclean heart. God sees the heart and not just the actions committed. People may not be able to tell the difference, but I assure you that God can.
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.“
– Zechariah 4:6
We have no power apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Understand that, humble yourself before God, and submit to His Ways. Don’t try to fight these hard battles by yourself! God is with you and He’s for you!
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Forgiving someone who has done wrong to you is incredibly difficult- it almost seems impossible. But I’ve been hurt many times in my life and have successfully forgiven those who have hurt me. Was it easy? Ha! Absolutely not! However, we can do all things through Christ and He supplies us with all the grace we need to obey His commands.
My love for God is stronger than anything in this world. When God tells me to do something, I know better than to disobey. Also, the sheer thought of not spending eternity with the God I love because of my stubbornness to not forgive makes me shudder. How many Christians are walking around in disobedience by refusing to forgive? My guess is too many.
Nevertheless, that does not have to be you! You can make the decision to turn this battle over to God (it’s His anyway) and trust in Him to vindicate and take care of you.
The three steps to forgiving someone are:
- Create a desire to do so.
- Decide to do it.
- Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
I pray you found this article helpful to you. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to leave a comment below. As always, thanks for reading!