Christian forgiveness


This is a part of a series about forgiveness and handling memories, first to last

This post begins here…

They were based on the level of forgiveness I had managed to achieve at that time. Those posts were written years ago. Now more recently God showed me how to forgive in a way that is simple and very powerful. Thank you for giving me a chance to share it with you here.

It’s hard to under-estimate how important forgiveness is. If you refuse to forgive, the Lord’s prayer says you will not be forgiven. It’s really just that simple. If you refuse to forgive… you are harming yourself.

So… in a nutshell… here’s how to forgive.

It’s a two step process.

  1. Tell the truth (what happened, what went wrong, what should have happened)
  2. Release that person

Rinse and repeat.

Step one is based on what Jesus Christ said “the truth will set you free”. He was utterly right. You need to tell the truth about what happened.

We all have secrets and some secrets can harm us, our families or other people. So who should you tell the truth to? Well… you can tell a person… OR… you can blog it, you can write in on your FB wall, you can email me, you can tell God, OR you can even get a picture of the person and put it on a chair in front of you… and then you tell the truth to that picture.

It doesn’t matter who you tell… just speak it out.

You don’t have to tell it all at one time. You can tell the truth in small doses. Don’t over do it! Take care of yourself.

Tell the truth of what you felt when it happened. That’s what is most important. Tell the things you have never admitted before. Say “when you did ABC, I felt XYZ”. Tell the truth about your hurt. Get it out.

If you are lying in bed talking to God or talking to a picture, then there is no risk that you are hurting someone as you tell the truth… so go right ahead and tell the whole truth… because as you tell the truth, you will find freedom.

When you have told some truth you may feel some tiredness if you have kept that heavy secret of what happened and how you feel for a long long time.

Step two. Say “I forgive you for doing ABC” to me. If you cannot yet forgive them, then take some more time to talk it all out. Really get it out. When you have talked and talked and talked until you are tired of talking about it, then try again to forgive. Remember, you must forgive in order to be forgiven.

Forgiveness can come in layers. At first it might be very shallow, you might not be able to forgive from an emotional perspective but you might be able to forgive from a spiritual perspective.

Here’s my story

The truth that I had to speak about was how I felt when various things happened to me in my past. So I told the truth about those events, so that I could untwist my own thinking.

It was just me in my room, late at night. I began to speak quietly in my own thoughts about the hurts I had felt. I spoke about the pain, the suffering, the sadness.

I spoke about what should NOT have happened… and spoke about what SHOULD have happened. I spoke about how these events had damaged my life. I spoke about how life SHOULD have been if these things had not happened.

It was then that I could forgive and let go. I even found the grace to admit that the person who hurt me had also been hurt in their own past. They were also hurt and that’s why they had hurt me. I was able to extend grace, because I had told the truth.

I did this for all the times I got hurt. In all the cases I argued back against what had happened and I told the truth.

I told the truth that the abuse should NOT have happened. I told the truth that I should have been protected. I told the truth that I could not protect myself. I told the truth that I was not to blame. I told the truth that I would not let that happen to my children in future.

I set the record completely straight. I broke through.

And then I was able to forgive. It was very very easy. One by one I worked through the hurts and I forgave all who had hurt me.

I got so much freedom in that evening. My life has literally changed ever since then. You see, there is another truth that we greatly under-estimate which is this one:

Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

Try telling the truth and then forgiving and see how much your heart improves   🙂

Please share this post with someone who might benefit from it. Post it to your FB wall. Tweet it. May God bless you – and I look forward to reading your comments and replying to them!

New blog

I now have another very personal, intimate blog http://attaching.wordpress.com and I invite you to read through it, from the start to the end. That page is the end. It’s only 31 posts and each of them is short.

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15 responses to “Christian forgiveness

  1. Yes. I get it. It will be my goal to speak the truth about what happened. I pray God gives me the right moment and I too will be able to be free and give freedom to that who hurt me.

  2. Thanks, Mark. I liked this one, too. Thanks for encouraging me to read this later post on forgiveness. I can relate to the fact that you were at a certain point of forgiveness, then God’s brought you further since then and you wrote this post. It’s a process, isn’t it?

    Mimi

    • Hi Kevin

      Often a person struggles to forgive because they have a sense of injustice and they can’t imagine the other people getting away with it and then going and doing it again.

      I’ve found times when God says it’s best for me to forgive my enemies, because the OT and Romans says that forgiveness opens the way for His wrath.

      Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Rom 12:19

      So in a conflict situation simply forgive, let it go, and open the way for His wrath.

      I always bear in mind that in a conflict situation He knows just how to handle the situation. It’s not possible for me to know who did what and why. But He sees the heart of the person or people. He knows how to sort it all out. So trust Him when He says that vengeance is His.

      Secondly, if you are reconciling with someone – like a cheating wife or husband – then forgiveness definitely requires the other person to open up and repent. Repentance means to say you are sorry for what you did, explain it, explain why you won’t be doing it again and explain what you will do instead next time. Repentance means a complete change of course/direction.

      So that’s my answer. Does forgiveness depend on the other person asking? It’s really not about law, it’s about the heart of the situation. The law was made FOR man, not man for the law. The rule which applies depends on what is the best thing for you and for your health and the other person’s health.

      It is hardness of heart – I won’t forgive my wife until she asks for forgiveness – which is a big problem as well, because that is more like control dressed up as legalism.

      So think it through, forgive, and pray and speak the truth – the truth sets you free – and then forgive more, and keep speaking, and forgive again. And if nothing changes… forgive and open the way for God to resolve things, and you let it go and go on with you life elsewhere. But first do all you can reasonably do to forgive and reconcile.

      I hope that helped.

      God bless you, Mark.

      • Thanks Mark. I’m sorry, but I disagree. We need to have an amount of grace that allows us to forgive ‘trespasses’ –that means, letting little things slide (your friend borrowed a tool, and didn’t return it) without being formally ‘asked’ for forgiveness. However, when your friend and business partner embezzles $100,000 and runs away to Belize with your girlfriend, then forgiveness just becomes a part of the justice process. The justice process begins with ‘discovery of the offense’ and doesn’t necessarily end with forgiveness. Forgiveness for grave offenses, whether against God or man…or both, can’t be given away until the offender owns up to it, requests forgiveness with a sincerely contrite heart, and makes restitution or recompense…well, forgiveness can absolutely be granted before restitution is made, but the forgiven offender must actively work toward the goal of paying for the {crime|sin|offense} Handing out forgiveness to those who want no part of it, and are laughing about how they burned you, is casting pearls to swine. Yes, our awesome, all-knowing, just God will make all things right in the end…but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a responsibility to stand up for our rights, (love ourselves and others) and participate in the “earthly justice system.”

        I think sometimes people use “Let go, let God” as an excuse not to participate in the honorable fight for justice. God is omnipotent, but He almost always intends to work through us.

        I am going to reviewing a book called “Forgive for Good” by Dr. Fred Luskin. My Pastor gave it to me last year, and I thought it was great, accept for the fact that like you, he preaches “forgive those who don’t ask.” I would really enjoy debating that point with you, and whoever else may want to jump into the discussion. You are very articulate, and obviously, are a man of God. Check out my site, I will link back to you, and you can mirror the discussion on your blog as well. What do you say? http://bangaricontentgallery.com

  3. I am trying very hard to learn to forgive people in my past that have hurt me and this has been a wonderful help. Thank you. Could you please send this to my daughter. She could use this site to. God Bless you so much for helping others:-)

    • Hi Tina

      I don’t know your daughter. Perhaps you could share it with her? I don’t know you either… but just at a guess… perhaps you want her to forgive someone? If I may… let her see you modelling forgiveness in your life. Really walk in it. Don’t TELL her, let her SEE you doing it. She might not be listening any more because of anger, but she is still watching and learning from how you live your life 🙂

      God bless you,
      Mark.

  4. Hey Mark,
    I like your post, but I’m struggling to understand what forgiveness truly means… People talk about not wanting to get back at the person who has wronged you, but I rarely want that. It’s just that when I remember what has happened I still feel hurt and sad – is that normal or does it mean that I haven’t truly forgiven them?

  5. Hey Mark, thank God for your excellent post. i believe God has led me to your site because i was struggling with forgiveness and it really helped me. God bless you 🙂

  6. wow mark, i really needed to read this. I am grappling with forgiving my mother. i have kept the abuse quiet for so long. Living a double life where i am a loving daughter but inside i am dying. I never felt like I could be vulnerable and talk about these things…so much shame involved in my life. I like that you say talking is a way to get it out..i mean to me…thats such a relief. I feel like i have been told to shut up my entire life, ESPECIALLY about that stuff…some times i have to just write the words so i know it was real and its ok that im hurt. Rape, abuse, sexual abuse, screaming, running away, prostitution, force,rape, hunger, filth eating out of trashcans, hiding in closets, sidewalks, gunshots, being ignored… it wall happened and it was me in those memories..its ok to cry and be hurt. No one has ever said it to me until this last year…Jamie its ok to hurt…what happened to you was wrong, you must grieve the past. thank you for this post, it affirms my need to talk and share my story…before i forgive fully…like you said i have forgiven my abusers at the deepest level i could at the time…But God is mining my soul…and its a lot deeper than i ever thought. Excellent post.

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  9. Mark

    I like what you say about forgiveness. It is so important. Also, concerning being honest. I have found that it sets me free all the time. Even just being honest with myself. That is the first step. Then being honest with God. That is when the freedom comes. I love being honest with God. It makes me feel closer to Him. It allows me to surrender to Him. And that gives me peace and fills me with a sense of His love for me. Oh, how abounding is His grace for us. May we all have “short-tabs” with God and share everything with him. It truly is liberating.

    Bless you brother

    Dyl

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