“You were taught…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Forgiveness is not something we do once and it is finished. It is not a natural part of the human experience. Forgiveness is something we learn to do as we walk with Christ.
There is a process to forgiveness. First, we must be ready to forgive. It requires time. How much time depends on the severity of our hurt and the closeness of the relationship. We may need to grieve for what might have been.
Second, we must decide to forgive. We must decide to let go. We may have to tell ourselves often, “I have decided to forgive them. I will let it go.” Forgiveness means we actually stop blaming the person who hurt us.
Third, we enter a state of forgiveness. We can tell we really have forgiven someone when we honestly wish them well. Forgiveness must not depend on the actions of the other person. Forgiveness must depend on our decision to forgive.
When we forgive, we allow God to make us into the person He wants us to become. God forgives. When we forgive, we act like our heavenly Father.
I find it hard to forgive; I am offended too easily. My feelings are too fragile. But this I know: I don’t want to ruin my future happiness by harboring unforgiveness in my heart.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
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Copyright (c) 2003 Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God.