When you forgive someone do you feel like you’re letting them off the hook? Do you feel like you’re making an excuse for their behavior? Contrary to what we may think, forgiveness isn’t any of these things. It’s not saying that what’s wrong is okay. It’s not forgetting hurt feelings. Forgiveness is extending grace. It’s commanded by God, and it’s something you can do for others . . . and for yourself.
Notice the word “give” in “forgive.” When you forgive, you give someone a gift—you waive a penalty—and you give yourself the gift of grudge-free living. When you withhold forgiveness, you not only refuse to offer what God has given to you, but you also hurt yourself. Unforgiveness bears down on your heart and gets in the way of spiritual growth. God knows it’s not easy to forgive, but He wouldn’t ask you to do something without giving you the strength to do it! Ask Him for the ability to forgive freely as you have been forgiven. He’s the Master of the impossible!
How Do You Truly Forgive?
- Imagine right now that there is a hook attached to your collarbone. And imagine all the pain attached to the hook as a result of the wrong that was done to you.
- Ask yourself: Do I really want to carry all that pain with me for the rest of my life? The Lord wants you to take the pain from the past and release it into His hands.
- Then take the one who offended you off your emotional hook and place him onto God’s hook. The Lord knows how to deal with your offender. God says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:35)
Prayer of Forgiveness
“Lord Jesus, thank You for caring about how much my heart has been hurt. You know the pain I have felt because of (list every offense). Right now I release all that pain into Your hands. Thank You, Lord, for dying on the cross for me and extending Your forgiveness to me. As an act of my will, I choose to forgive (name). Right now, I move (name) off of my emotional hook to Your hook. I refuse all thoughts of revenge. I trust that in Your time and Your way You will deal with (name) as You see fit. And Lord, thank You for giving me Your power to forgive so that I can be set free. In your holy name I pray. Amen.”
Author, singer, and speaker June Hunt is the founder of Hope for the Heart, a ministry that offers biblical hope and practical help in more than 60 countries on 6 continents.