This whole series really started when we posted The 6 A’s Apology. After the follow up post on The 4 Promises of Forgiveness, someone posed a question on our Facebook page. She asked how you forgive someone who isn’t really sorry. It’s a great question, but it assumes that forgiveness is something that the other person somehow earns.
Forgiveness really has nothing to do with the other person. Mark 11:25 says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” That verse doesn’t say to forgive after the person offers a genuine apology. It says that if you want your prayers heard, you need to forgive anyone that you have anything against.
Matthew 6:14, 15 says that if you don’t, your Father won’t forgive you. That’s a pretty steep admonition right there.
But here’s how you can do it. First of all, recognize that the word forgive is a verb. It’s something you do, not necessary something you feel. It’s an act of will. You decide to forgive. You choose to forgive, regardless of what the other person says or does.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that what the other person did was okay. In fact, that’s why we tell parents not to let their kids say, “It’s okay” when someone apologizes to them. It’s not okay, and forgiving the person does mean the person was right.
Forgiveness means you are choosing to take the other person off your hook and put them on God’s hook. You’re saying that you are not going to seek revenge, you’re going to make them pay or show them how it feels. Instead, you are release the person into God’s hands and letting Him deal with the consequences.
Here’s how it looks. First, out loud, make the CHOICE to forgive the person. Say, “I choose to forgive _______ for _________. I am releasing __________ in Your hands, God, and asking that you handle this in the best way for both of us.”
Then ask God to give you His perspective on the situation and to see the person through His eyes.
Ask God to help you completely and totally forgive this person and to take away the feelings of anger and hurt.
Then speak a blessing over the person. “I bless ________ in the name of Jesus, and I ask God that you give her the desires of her heart, that you protect her and prosper her and her loved ones.”
That’s it. Then just wash, rinse and repeat every time you think of it. Take heart, it can take a long time and many rounds of intentionally releasing the person before you actually feel like forgiving them. But the very choice to do it will be blessed. God will honor your decision, and He will be faithful to give you peace as long as you continue to forgive.
We’ll talk more about that tomorrow and we’ll give you practical steps to staying unoffended, as we walk through the progression from offense to hatred.