“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV).
So if God expects us to forgive others, what does healthy, biblical forgiveness look like? Here’s a four-part process that we should walk through as we’re dealing with pain brought upon by others.
- Recognize no one is perfect. When we hate somebody, we tend to lose our perspective about that person. When we’re filled with resentment and bitterness and hurt, we tend to dehumanize the offender. We treat that person like an animal.But we’re all in the same boat. The Bible says, “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT). We’re all imperfect.
- Relinquish your right to get even. This is the heart of forgiveness. The Bible says, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (Romans 12:19 TLB). You deserve to retaliate, but you must commit not to do so. It’s not fair, but it’s healthy. This isn’t a one-time decision but a daily one that may even require moment-by-moment decisions.
- Respond to evil with good. This is how you know you’ve fully released someone from the wrong that has been committed against you. Humanly speaking, it’s nearly impossible to respond to evil with good. You’ll need God’s help. You’ll need the love of Jesus to fill you up. Why? God’s love doesn’t keep track of wrongs (see 1 Corinthians 13).
- Refocus on God’s plan for your life. You stop focusing on the hurt and the person who hurt you. Instead, you refocus on God’s purpose for your life, which is greater than any problem or pain you might be currently facing.As long as you continue to focus on the person who has hurt you, that person controls you. In fact, you can take it a step further. If you don’t release your offender, you will begin to resemble your offender.
So don’t sit another day in your resentment. If you’ve been holding on to pain caused by someone else, go through these four steps and move on to the rest of the life you were created to live!
I AM YOUR FATHE R-GOD. Listen to Me! Learn what it means to be a child of the everlasting King. Your richest duty is devotion to Me. This duty is such a joyous privilege that it feels like a luxury. You tend to feel guilty about pushing back the boundaries of your life to make space for time alone with Me. The world is waiting to squeeze you into its mold and to crowd out time devoted to Me. The ways of the world have also warped your conscience, which punishes you for doing the very thing that pleases Me most: seeking My Face. Listen to Me above the clamor of voices trying to distract you. Ask My Spirit to control your mind, for He and I work in perfect harmony. Be still and
attentive in My Presence. You are on holy ground.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
ISAIAH 9 : 6
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.”
ZECHARIAH 9 : 9 (NKJV)
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry,
“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
ROMANS 8 : 15 – 16
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
EXODUS 3 : 5
Give God Your Best
God shaped you for a purpose and he expects you to make the most of what you’ve been given. He doesn’t want you to worry about or covet abilities that you don’t have. Instead he wants you to focus on talents he has given you to use.
When you attempt to serve God in ways that you’re not shaped to serve, it feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole. It’s frustrating and produces limited results. It also wastes your time, talent, and energy.
The best use of your life is to serve God out of your shape (the gifts and abilities God has given you). To do this you must discover your shape, learn to accept and enjoy it, and then develop it to its fullest potential.
The Bible says, “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:17 NLT) Don’t let another day go by. Start finding out and clarifying what God intends for you to be and do.
Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. Take a long, honest look at what you are good at and what you’re not good at.
Make a list. Ask other people for their candid opinion. Tell them you’re searching for the truth, not fishing for a compliment.
Ask questions like these: Where have I seen fruit in my life that other people confirmed? Where have I already been successful?