A Process for Applying Forgiveness
Talking about forgiving people is one thing. But facing those sins on an individual basis – and fully connecting with the emotions, the damage, and the consequences – is entirely different. Most of us inappropriately deal with the way others have hurt us. We don’t understand the significance or the effects, so we think it will just go away in time.
The purpose of this process is to fully recall and work through each event that occurred that either you hold continued resentment toward or that remains toxic in your life. Don’t get caught up in the process but recognize that it is more important to evaluate and pray over the violations so you might identity which ones need to be dealt with. God must be the one who directs the process. And it must be covered in prayer.
The ability to connect emotionally is an important aspect of healing. Here are important aspects of recalling past violations. We need to ask ourselves, “Can I acknowledge that the act was wrong and that as a human being I had certain rights that were violated? Can I identify with how the act made me feel? Have I been able to connect emotionally with what happened? Have I ever cried, grieved, or expressed hurt as a result? If our answer was “no” to items on this list, it is possible we are still protecting the painful event through some form of denial, whether intentionally or not. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can “breakthrough” your denial. If you trust God, ask Him to reveal where you may be wounded and broken, yet consciously unaware. Remember, He may know that you’re not ready to deal with this issue yet, so don’t put pressure on yourself. It’s certainly ok to move on for now and focus on something else. Just remember to continue to pray for God’s guidance and power, not allowing the spirit of denial to take root.
Acknowledge the Truth
If we were able to answer yes to the questions above, then we can begin to write and speak truth statements about the act. We need to find a place where we can be completely alone and speak the words audibly that have been revealed to our hearts privately. You are going to declare this to ourselves, to God, and to the enemy.
- Willingness. The final step in the process is a willingness to forgive the person who committed the act against us. Some important things to remember.
- Forgiveness is a choice of the will, not a feeling or emotion.
- Forgiveness opposes our human nature. Therefore, we’ll need God’s divine power to do it for us.
- Forgiveness begins with a small willingness, not necessarily a strong desire.
- Whatever violation was committed against us, Jesus felt and bore it personally Himself. Therefore, we don’t need to go through this alone He has already gone through it with us and for us.
- As we deal with forgiving others, we aren’t necessarily going to ever be in a relationship with them again. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. We can only be reconciled with those who have realized their part in the situation, are emotionally (and physically) safe to encounter, and are willing to make amends to us.
Write It Down
There is something about the human will that seems to be more concrete when we write it down and sign our name to it. Knowing this, I’ve provided a simple “worksheet” for us to put our feelings and thoughts in writing.
- Name the violator or perpetrator ______________________________________________________
- Name the violation or hurt done to you: _________________________________________________
- Ponder your heart’s responses to these questions:
- Can I acknowledge that the act was wrong, and that as a human being I had certain rights that were violated?
- Can I identify with how that act made me feel?
- Have I allowed myself to fully connect emotionally with what happened?
- Have I ever cried, grieved, or expressed hurt as a result?
- Speak this declaration against sin:
- It was not okay that this violation or hurt occurred in my life.
- I refuse it and the message it sent into my mind and heart.
- It caused me to feel ______________________________.
- It caused me to see myself as ______________________.
- As a result, I continue to believe that I am ____________.
- Speak this truth statement into your heart:
- While the violation or hurt told me a lie, I choose to accept the truth of God that I am deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, absolutely complete in Christ.
- Speak to Jesus your willingness to forgive the violator:
- Jesus, as difficult as it is, I realize that I must forgive this person as an act of my will.
- I cannot do this on my own.
- Please take it for me.
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