TOPIC: CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
QUESTION: HOW CAN I FORGIVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HURT ME?
Study References: Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, Colossians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 2:5-8, Matthew 18:21-35
Our study will be taken from the Parable of the Unforgiving servant, who was foreign by a King but refused to forgive his fellow servant. So shall God treat all those who refuse to forgive. This is the principle in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 18:21-35; "Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No, not seven times, Jesus replied, but seventy times seven! Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned to pay the debt.
But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Forgiveness is first reverence to God, secondly a freedom for you and thirdly a grace or mercy to your offender. Bible says in Matthew 5:7; "God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
STEPS TO OVERCOME UNFORGIVENESS
STEP ONE: Think of the many things you have done for which you needed forgiveness. When you realize how much you needed to be forgiven for all the wrongs you have done, and how you have received forgiveness, it makes it easier to show forgiveness and mercy to those who have hurt you. Unlike the unmerciful servant.
STEP TWO: Realize forgiving others is a spiritual exercise. In fact, it is impossible to truly forgive others without God’s help. God can help you forgive because not only has He forgiven tens of billions of people, He also has the power to help you, in particular. Just remember: He only helps those who admit their helplessness. You might say a simple prayer like this: God I admit I can’t forgive with my own power. Please help me. Help me to understand how much You have forgiven me, so I can forgive the person who has hurt me.
STEP THREE: You can’t truly forgive unless you have grasped the extent of the violation that has been done against you. With the help of a counselor, minister, or another professional, you need to seek to understand what happened to you when you were hurt and why it hurts so much. When we realize we can be forgiven for everything we have ever done, it is then we are able to begin forgiving the people in our lives who have hurt us.
STEP FOUR: Now it’s time to make the big decision to surrender. Let go of your deep desire to get even with the person who has violated you. Come up with a prayer or statement announcing your decision. Here’s an example: By an act of my will, and God’s power, I give up my rights to get even with so, so and so. I make a commitment that when those bad feelings come over me again, I will release them. I won’t babysit them. I admit the feelings are real, but I choose not to be controlled by them any longer. Instead, I will dwell on the good things I have learned from this experience.
STEP FIVE: Make a choice to have compassion on your violator. Look at them first, as a tragedy. In one sense they should be pitied. Bottom line is, because of their violation against you they have suffered, are suffering, and in the end will suffer far more in this life, or the one to come. We’re not making excuses for them, but we’re only saying they are pathetic, and desperately need our compassion. One way to show compassion is to pray for the person who has hurt you. Jesus said, Pray for your enemies. He knows it is impossible to continue to pray for someone, and still hate them. Then, while you’re praying for this person, ask for a blessing in their life. Pray that good things come to them. Wish them well.
STEP SIX: Move on. It’s time to stop dwelling on what happened. By forgiving someone you’re promising not to bring it up again to use against him or her. If you are going to talk to someone about how the other person has hurt you, make sure this person is a professional or a wise person you can trust.
In conclusion, forgiving someone who has hurt you could be the greatest challenge of your life. But if you choose to forgive, you will join those who are not being destroyed by bitterness, anger, hurt or other toxic emotions. There is nothing quite like living in peace, knowing you are a forgiving person. May God bless you as you seek to be a truly loving and forgiving person.