“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” — Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Forgiveness is one of the many things God is teaching me in this season of polishing —I’ve asked God questions like: How does it really work? Will saying “Yeah, I forgive you/him/her” be enough? Is it still normal to feel remorse for the person who did wrong to you? Should I just forget what this person did to me? Or should I write it down on my journal and re-read this page every time I see this person (or even hear this person’s name)? Does what he/she did give us the excuse to hop on the next space ship to Mars and pray never to see this person again? How do we forgive?
You might happen to ask the same questions as I did (except maybe for the question with the space ship, haha!) and might wonder if, maybe, there’s a guidebook for it. Are there steps to follow in forgiving? If so, how should we do it? Colossians 3:13 tells us to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” —hmm…alright, sounds easy to do — forgive as the Lord has forgiven me….“How, you say, did the Lord forgive me again?” Well, I’m glad you asked — In Hebrews 10:17 it says “Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’” (emphasis mine). To better understand the connection of the two verses being the answer to the question “How to forgive?” we will be applying simple logic (Logicians, please do correct me if I’m wrong ):
First Statement: We forgive like Christ forgave us. (Colossians 3:13)
Second Statement: Christ forgave us by forgetting all our transgressions. (Hebrews 10:17)
∴ We forgive by forgetting all the other person’s transgressions (I really hope I remembered my logic class and used it correctly making this point, haha!)
Easy-peasy. Now that we’ve given an answer (or maybe just a simple idea) as to how, what are the steps? (Based on my experience.)
First step in forgiving is — consciously choosing to genuinely forgive whenever you see, hear, smell, or touch this person and/or remember and the thing[s] this person did to you. Even if it meant doing it every single day. Every single day? Yup, because when you chose to forgive this person today, you’ll pretty much remember this person or what this person did to you maybe not tomorrow, maybe the next day or the following week, and yes you will have to choose again and again to genuinely forgive this person. (DISCLAIMER:) Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean you let them treat you wrong over and over again and just forgive them every single time — that is why we are given wisdom to know when enough is enough as well as gentle speech to talk to them about the issue.
Then next is praying for them. It is important, as choosing to forgive them, that we lay all our negative thoughts [about them] to God and let Him lift off the burden of anger [or other unwanted thoughts] we have in our hearts and replace it with peace and joy. This step is the very application of letting go and letting God. I understand that at times, what they did is beyond our limits and it seems unforgivable — I just want you to remember this “When God Calls, He also Equips”. Let us not be controlled by these circumstances and choose to trust God to take over — without a doubt He will deliver you from it.
Okay, to summarize everything:
Two steps in forgiving:
1. Consciously choosing to genuinely forgive.
2. Praying for them.
How? Just as Christ forgave our transgressions.
It won’t be easy and it’s not normal either. But God is willing to replace those harbored negative feelings with joy and peace. Now, I am encouraging you to forgive the person who may have hurt you recently, or in the past. You’ll be surprised as to how God will work in your life.