How do you forgive someone when you just don’t feel like “burying the hatchet” of past offenses? Unless, “burying the hatchet” means planting it between the eyes of the individual who has hurt or shamed us! Of course, we all know that violence is a no-no and certainly not the Christian or respectable way to cope with our suffering. You have a choice today. You can live in a ditch surrounded by boulders of resentment and bitterness or you can make a conscious decision to move on..to forgive. Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness is dismissing a debt, dismissing your demand that others owe you something. Forgiveness is letting go of resentment, releasing your right to hear “I’m sorry” or your right to get even. Forgiveness lifts the weight of resentment allowing you to live a life of joy and peace.Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. It takes two to reconcile and only one to forgive. Forgiveness is not letting the guilty person off the hook. It is moving the person to God’s hook. Forgiveness is not being a weak martyr. It is being strong and Christlike. Forgiveness is not based upon what is fair. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ wasn’t fair. Christ endured the cross because of the ultimate goal of salvation.
God has some thoughts on forgiveness for us to think about. God commands that we forgive each other (Ephesians 4:32) God expects us to forgive others because he forgave us. (Colossians 3:13) God wants us to get rid of un-forgiveness and have a heart of mercy. (Matthew 5:7) God wants us to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
There are several stages of forgiveness. An individual must face the offense without minimizing the offense (Ephesians 5:11) or excusing the offenders behavior. Proverbs 24:24 Secondly, we must feel the offense. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8) If we refuse to feel the offense we choose to deny the pain and carry the guilt. Finally, we must for give the offender. (Mark 11:25)
But, how do we forgive another person? Here are some suggestions. Make a list of all of the offender’s offenses and think of them as “rocks of resentment” that you are carrying with you every day. Imagine a hand around your throat pulling you and constantly taunting you. Imagine carrying the weight of these burdens for many years or the rest of your life. Now, take the offender and the offenses to God allowing him to handle your pain in his time and way. Let go..move on! Deuteronomy 32:35 reminds us that God is able to properly defend us and bring about justice, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”