Forgiveness does not come naturally; in fact, it is supernatural. It is God’s way – His idea. Let me suggest a fairly straightforward process to forgiveness. This process consists of four simple steps, each beginning with the letter H.
Step 1 – Hurt: Identify, experience, and express your feelings.
Label them as specifically as you can. Think back to what gave rise to these feelings.
It is not wrong to hate; in fact, we are supposed to hate what God hates.
Refusing to forgive provides a feeling of power, but this feeling is deceptive as it is really a cover for your own sense of hurt and vulnerability.
Hate The Sin Love The Sinner Tee
Step 4 – Heal: Forgiveness is both an event and a process.
One day you will wake up and find yourself thinking differently about the one who hurt you. You may never like or trust this person, but the intensity of your hurt will diminish. One day you will find yourself praying for your offender. Soon you will realize you are free. Forgiveness is the road to freedom. But it makes little sense unless seen in the context of Christ’s forgiveness toward you.
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Eph. 4:32 HCSB).”
Are you forgiven? Then you can forgive.
The truly forgiven ones can become truly forgiving ones. God began by forgiving us. He invites us to forgive others. Your willingness to participate in the process of forgiveness is a measure of just how much you appreciate being forgiven by God.
Stuart Rothberg is teaching pastor, Sagemont Church, Houston, Texas.