Forgiveness takes a lot of hard work and requires a tremendous commitment and discipline. It usually does not come easily; it seldom comes all at once.
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult ideas to define, and yet it can make incredible differences in one’s life. I have struggled with forgiveness after many hurts in my life, and there are some things I have come to realize. Maybe there are certain steps to the process.
How Do We I Forgive? Steps to Forgiveness
First, I know that forgiveness, for me, is not done all at once. Instead, it is done in stages. I do not have to forgive my husband for abandoning us out of the blue while I was pregnant while I forgive him for his lack of child support or the lies he has told about me or any of the number of other things he has done.
Forgiveness for these things does not have to happen all at once.
Instead, I can choose to forgive him for being tempted by the other women. I can choose to forgive him for falling to a very human desire and for wanting to run away when things get tough.
I know forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. I know the man I married has been replaced by someone I do not recognize. I know this individual certainly does not have any of our best interests at heart, and I know that I need to watch my step with him. I need to keep my guard up and not blindly accept what he tells me anymore.
Forgiveness is something I must consciously do every day. At certain times, when I feel the anger seep into me, when I feel the blackness threaten my heart and soul, I must say the words. I must make the choice,
“I forgive you.”
These words are not spoken aloud. I know he is not ready to hear them and would only mock them or think I was using them falsely. I do not want him to think that I forgive him because I think I am better than he is. That is not the reason I work to forgive him.
I forgive him because the Bible tells us to over and over again.
because Jesus tells us to forgive, “…not seven times but seventy-seven times.”
because Jesus gave up His life to forgive me for my sins.
because I do not want his sins to hold him bound in the very real place called Hell for all eternity.
Sometimes forgiveness must be done repeatedly. It is a reminder to myself that I have the power to forgive if I want to. When my ex husband does something hurtful, I must force myself to say to myself, “I forgive him.” Sometimes I must do this every second for hours before it sinks in, but I can do it.
At the moment I realize I have forgiven him, I also realize his sin then has no power over me.
Instead I have power through Jesus Christ that gives me the power to defeat sin against me.
The ability to forgive is a gift from God to us, but it is one we must choose to accept and use appropriately. It is not often a natural ability, but it is one worth cultivating.