“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Forgiveness is important not only in heaven, but also on earth.
We ask God to forgive us for our sins toward Him, but just as importantly, we need to forgive others.
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things you will ever do.
Someone has said, “If it was not for people, I’d have no problem with forgiveness.”
Unfortunately, most of us live in a world where the opportunities for offense and hurts abound. Life will always be full of these opportunities.
There are two facets of forgiveness.
The first is giving up the need for revenge. Revenge is a negative motivation. It works against your emotional well-being. It wastes precious time and energy. Letting go of your need for revenge is difficult, but it must be the first step.
The second thing we need to do is to absolve the guilty party of responsibility.
This is the hard part of forgiveness. It takes time to work out.
If we don’t work this out, it can be a form of denial.
“If I forgive you, we can pretend that what happened wasn’t so terrible.”
There is no short cut to forgiving. If our relationship with others and with God is going to be a loving relationship, we must forgive as God forgives us. God’s forgiveness is unconditional. Ours should be also.
How do we forgive?
We must face reality.
We must face the reality of the harm and let ourselves feel the hurt.
Realism allows healing to occur. Self-deception is easier than forgiving but leaves us wounded and broken.
We need to realize that we may be angry and what do we do with that angry feeling.
We need to find a healthy release for that feeling.
This may be just talking about it and re-experiencing the hurt to deal with that feeling. We must give up the “pleasures” of holding offenses. Such as vengeance, and attracting pity from others.
We become partners with God in experiencing death to self and unconditional love for others.
Forgiveness means that we are free people with self-respect. Only free people can choose to forgive and start anew with someone who has hurt them.
When we learn to forgive, we learn to love. To love others is to be blessed and to have a meaningful, fulfilling and beautiful life.