Forgiveness is absolutely essential, but sometimes our hurts are just so big. Here are some steps I have found useful in getting to a point of forgiveness.
1. Be realistic about your pain and what it is you are forgiving. If you are angry, be angry. If you are hurt, be hurt. Don’t pretend it’s not as bad as it is. If you are destroyed, but you only let yourself feel put-off, you will forgive being put-off, leaving the whole rest of the mess to be deal with later. Don’t do that to yourself! Forgiveness is the only good way to free yourself from the harms done to you, so do it right. Be real about what it is that you are forgiving.
2. Also be realistic about the offender: did they mean to cause pain? Did they know better? Should they have known better? Are there factors at lay which call for pity rather than wrath?
3. Imagine what it will be like for the person who harmed you to realize the full extent of the pain and damage they caused. Imagine that pain being real to them and they find themselves without excuse and exposed for God and everyone they know and all of creation able to see and know exactly what they did.
4. Often step 3 moves me to the point of pity and empathy for the person and I can start forgiving them. If not, I just tell God that I need more help and wait for my heart to turn and be ready to forgive. Sometimes, I have to ask God to help me to even want to forgive! Depending on the hurt and your willingness, it can take time. Just commit to getting to the point of being willing to forgive. You’ll get there.
Come back tomorrow to learn my stages of forgiveness!