"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love" (John 15:9)
If you constantly struggle to forgive people who have wronged you, you may consider yourself incapable of that kind of forgiveness. Many people are convinced that forgiveness is simply a feeling that can be experienced in the face of conflict. What a faulty understanding!
Genuine forgiveness is not a feeling bat an action. If you find it hard to forgive others, the following four guidelines can help:
1. Acknowledge and confess an unforgiving spirit. No, it is not always easy to forgive. We are sometimes the target of tremendously hurtful offenses. However, we are not accountable for other people's behavior; we are responsible only for our own. God commanded us to be loving, forgiving people. If we are unforgiving, that is our problem and no one else's. We must repent of this sin and ask God to help our unforgiveness.
2. Release the other person. Make a conscious decision to release the offender in your mind. If you find yourself reliving details of the upsetting behavior, force yourself to stop.
3. Forgive the offender forgetfully. By keeping details fresh in your mind, you trap yourself in a cycle of pain. Choose instead to separate the individual from the painful memory.
4. Forgive with finality. True forgiveness is complete. This means that you cannot "forgive" someone and then continually bring that subject up. Forgive them and move on.
If you've been nursing a grudge, pray for the strength to forgive. Then do it!
Lord, I confess my unforgiving spirit. I release those who have offended me and forgive them once and for all. Amen