Forgiveness is an important word or phrase in Christianity or Christendom. Psychologists generally define Forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate, decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or a group who has harmed you regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness or not. Forgiveness does not change the past but enlarges the future, it’s also an attribute of the strong, the weak can’t forgive.
It’s very important to recognize that to forgive is not to downplay a wrong doing or necessarily to reconcile when we choose to forgive, we release a person from his indebtedness to us.
we relinquish the right to seek personal revenge. We chose to say we will not hold wrong doing against whoever it may concern, however, we do not necessarily allow that person back into our trust or even fully release that person from the consequence of his sin.
According to the Bible “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) while God’s forgiveness relieves us from the death like consequences of sin (such as a broken relationship) or the penalty provided by the Justice system. Forgiveness does not mean we act as if no wrong has been done it means we recognize that grace abundant has been given to us and that we have no right to hold someone else’s wrong doing over his head.
the idea is to forgive and forget, love keeps no record of wrongs (1cor.13:5) and covers a multitude of sins (1pet 4:8) however changing hearts is God’s business and until an offender has a true supernatural heart change it is only wise to limit the level of trust one places in that person.
Being cautious doesn’t mean we haven’t forgiven, it simply means we are not God and we can’t see that person’s heart. God’s forgiveness is not based on our works, forgiveness and salvation are founded completely in the person of God and by Jesus redeeming work on the cross.
James 32:14-26, Luke 7:47, We are completely unworthy, yet Jesus chose to pay the price for our sins and to give us forgiveness (Romans 5:8)as we are given grace and should give grace to others in return. In the parable, we are appalled at the servant who would not forgive a minor debt after having been forgiven his unplayable debt. yet when we are unforgiving, we act just as the servant in the parable.
Unforgiveness also robs us of the full life God intends for us. Rather than promote justice our Unforgiveness festers into bitterness (Hebrew 12:14-15) (Rom12:19, Hebrew 10:30). Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling it is a commandment from God and a requirement to be fulfilled before anyone can enjoy the grace of receiving his blessing and forgiveness in our lives. Bitterness is useless, repayment is impossible, revenge is impotent, Resentment is impractical. Only forgiveness can reconcile the differences and restore healing to a relationship.
It is definitely not easy to forgive and it may be impossible to forget. However, it is possible for us to forgive because we have the power of the Holy Spirit within. Think for a moment and honestly answer the big question, have you considered forgiveness? Decide to forgive the person who didn’t respond to you the way you needed to be treated.
Reasons Why We Forgive.
We often think of forgiveness as a kind, magnanimous act. an act of mercy or compassion extended to someone who wronged us.
(1) Forgiveness makes us happier – when you forgive someone that wronged you, we tend to be free and happy especially if the person is close.
(2) Forgiveness improves our health-when we dwell on grudges, our blood pressure and heart rate spike signs of stress which damage the body; when we forgive, our stress levels drop, and people who are more forgiving are protected from the negative health effects of stress.
(3) Forgiveness sustains relationships: when friends hurt us, holding a grudge makes us less likely to sacrifice or co-operate with them which undermines feelings of trust and commitment.
(4) Forgiveness is good for marriage:(most times) spouses who are more forgiving and less vindictive are better at resolving conflicts effectively in their marriage.
How to cultivate forgiveness.
Forgiveness is both a choice and a trainable skill that almost anyone can learn here are some research strategies for tapping into that capacity whether you’re trying to forgive others, forgive yourself or seek forgiveness from someone else.
1. view forgiveness as something for you, not a gift to someone else forgiveness is best seen as something that will bring peace, closure and reduce your suffering if not end it.
2. Articulate your emotions: If you want to forgive or be forgiven, be willing to express how you’re feeling to others and to yourself. Ruminating on negative feelings is both unhealthy and unproductive.
3. Make effective apology: if you’re seeking forgiveness from others, studies suggest that apologies might only make things worse. Because an effective apology has four parts :it acknowledges the offense, expresses remorse or shame, and involves a reparation of some kind.
4. Understand that forgiveness is a process true forgiveness doesn’t happen in an instant, instead, it takes time and energy to achieve and might not come easy.
5. Seek peace, not justice: most times, the people who hurt you may never get their just desserts, but that shouldn’t prevent you from moving on with your life.
6. Cultivate Empathy: when someone has hurt you, they will be more likely to forgive and less likely to retaliate if they sense the distress or remorse felt by the person who hurt them.