When Forgiveness Is the Hardest: A 5-Step Process to Forgiving Others
Written by Aysha Ives | March 7, 2012
It’s hard to forgive when you’ve been mistreated–pain can be very deeply rooted. However, it’s God’s desire that we forgive everyone who has wronged us in any way.
Whether you’re healing from abuse, you’ve been mistreated by a frenemy or you’re angry with an ex-boyfriend, it’s important to begin the process of forgiveness. Here are a few tips to help you along your journey:
- Understand the IMPORTANCE of forgiveness. God tells us to pray for our enemies and forgive the people who have wronged us. Although this may be one of the hardest things you have to do, it’s something God expects from His children. You see, forgiveness is NOT for the other person, it’s for YOU! If you’re holding on to pain and bitterness, then it’s difficult to walk in love. However, when you’re able to forgive others, you will be able to follow God’s command to love all other people as you love yourself.
- Ask God to help you. God knows your pain and He understands how hard it is to forgive those who have really hurt you in some way. We’re only human, so if we rely on our own strength, then the pain can prevent us from truly forgiving others. The Holy Spirit, God who lives within us, can help us heal and forgive. Never underestimate the power of God.
- Say a forgiveness prayer. When you’re able to see others the way God sees them, it’s easier to forgive them. God is able to forgive and pardon sin, so we should also focus on forgiving those who have sinned against us. Try saying a forgiveness prayer to release the pain. You can find an example of a forgiveness prayer here.
- Be committed to forgiving the person. Forgiveness is hard, especially if someone really has violated you in some way. Remember to stay the course. Say that you forgive the person who hurt you OUT LOUD daily. It’s important to say it because you’re training your spirit to begin the process of healing and forgiving. Eventually you’ll internalize what you say and you’ll finally be able to truly let go of the hurt and to forgive.
- Find peace. You’ll know when you’ve finally forgiven a person because you’ll feel a sense of peace about the situation. The thought of the person will no longer make you angry or bring you to tears. That sick feeling you experience in your gut or the rage you harbor when you hear the person’s name will subside and eventually disappear. When you experience the peace that only God can provide, you’ve truly forgiven that person.
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:25-27).
Forgiveness can be hard and takes time. However, God will help you forgive others, even when it’s the hardest. Stay focused, pray and rely on God; you’ll see how quickly the forgiveness comes.