3 Steps towards Forgiveness

Festering like a hidden sliver in my thumb, it’s a pain I prefer not to touch. No matter how much I try to ignore it, the swelling ache continues to annoy me. A broken relationship that refuses to mend. My offender chose to part ways without reconciliation and now the thought of contacting this person fills me with anxiety.  Fearing what they might say or what the Holy Spirit might ask of me. I have spent much of the passing years frustrated at the person, reliving the painful acts and words that spewed from their mouth.

I realized that my constant focus on what this person did wrong, was my way of deferring blame, telling myself “It’s their fault!”. Deferring blame became my veneer to an underlying issue of unforgiveness. As long as I focused on what the person did, my eyes looked beyond my own faults and only looked at their wrongs.

I am astonished at the lack of awareness of my sinful nature. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve spent years, giving counsel, comforting and praying with others, while all the time quietly carrying my own overweight baggage of offense.

Somehow I need to get a firm grip on a pair of tweezers. pulling out this festering sliver of unforgiveness. To become vulnerable and willing to seek reconciliation with my offender. According to R.T. Kendall, our biggest tool to remove unforgiveness from our lives is prayer,

“The ultimate proof of total forgiveness takes place when we sincerely petition the Father to let those who have hurt us off the hook”                                               Total Forgivingness by R.T. Kendall

When we ask God to forgive and let the offender off the hook, we are asking God to bless, prosper that person.

Instead of deferring blame onto the person that wounded me, I should use my energy to daily pray for God to bless them, prosper them, completely forgive them and treat them as if they did nothing wrong. As I type I realize that the above prayer might be a bit mechanical for me at first, but in time it will be sincere.

I’ve wondered why all these thoughts are stirred up in my heart? For the past few years I’ve had a longing for more of God, and more of His power working in my life. Ephesians 4:30-32 gives the answer, making a connection between forgiveness and the work of the Holy Spirit.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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 4:30-32 NIV

The Holy Spirit has been proactive pinpointing areas where I need to forgive others, so that I am not grieving the work He longs to do in me. Here are three steps that I am taking to walk on the path of forgiveness.

  1. Pray God’s blessing upon the offender. Refrain from praying that they would see the errors of their way, but rather pray for God to bless them and their children personally. When I pray for their personal benefits, it helps steer my attitude in the right direction.
  2. Give thanks for their positive qualities. I force myself to think of their positive qualities, verbalizing them during my prayer time as words of praise to God. “Lord, I thank you for the heart of _________ for their desire to be used by You.” “Lord, I thank you that _________ is a good mother.” “Lord, I thank you for the creative mind that you have given _________.
  3. I surrender my offense to God, the true Judge. Forgiveness is an act of surrendering I turn the grudge, anger, bitterness, pain and power over to God.

Edited by Lydia King

 

Author: Cyndi

Being a ministry wife in Asia for the past 30 years has filled my life with stories of joy, challenges, and fulfillment. I love sharing my stories with other pastor’s wives, hoping to bring a smile or word of encouragement to their day.