We all come from different backgrounds. We have different nationalities, culture, family and lifestyle. Everyone is unique in their own way. This means the way we think or act can’t be totally the same. At some point we may not have to agree on some decisions, we could have different perspectives about things. Nobody is the same as you. Somehow, there will be friction and misunderstanding would arise in our everyday relationship with other people, that’s why it is important to learn how to forgive. We all face this problem of forgiveness. Several times in my life, I’ve faced this problem. Unforgiveness creates a bitter spirit and a bitter and grievous spirit cannot really function in life. For us to be able to function at our maximum level, we need to get rid of bitterness; ‘’A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken’’(Proverbs 15:13). Sometimes, it’s not easy to forgive due to the severe hurt and pain of the offender’s action but when we allow other people’s action to determine how well we live our lives, we will never be happy, because the truth is that people will always hurt us. Here are some principles I have applied that has helped me;
- Pray for them :- When someone hurts me so badly and I’m tempted to hold them up in my spirit, I pray for them. Forgiveness is not something we can do by ourselves. I pray for those who have hurt me and I don’t curse them in my prayers. I bless them, I wish them great things, I pray for them like they are my best friends.
- Don’t wait for their apology:- A lot of people make the mistake of waiting for apology from the offenders. You see sometimes the people that hurt us may not even know that they’ve hurt us and if we will wait for their apology, we may never get them because they didn’t know they hurt us in the first place. Even for those who know, we should still learn to forgive them before they ever walk up to us and apologize(that’s if they will). This has helped me a lot. When people hurt me, I forgive them immediately and sometimes when they walk up to me for apology, I tell them well I’ve already forgiven you long ago.
- It’s okay not to forget: We are humans and we have memories. People confuse forgiving with forgetting. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you could completely forget what they’ve done to you. While we may have these memories of their wrong actions, we must not let these memories create bitterness in our spirit. We could rather let these memories create a lesson for us so we could avoid these circumstances that may make us hurt again by others.
- Take a step towards them: Like I said earlier, sometimes the people who hurt us don’t know about this, it is necessary to take a step and tell them about it. While you may tell them of their wrong actions, do it in a loving way, not with arrogance.
- If you apologize, it doesn’t make you a fool: This is quite difficult. We may ask; Why should I ever apologize after all they’ve done to me. Well, here’s something you should understand, just because you apologize doesn’t make you a fool, it in facts means you’re wise.
- Understand that it may not be as it used to be before: Sometimes after misunderstanding, in some cases it is highly recommendable to stay off those people. Here’s what I mean, you may not be best friends with that person anymore, but they could at least still be your friend. You may not share your deep secrets with them anymore, but you could at least put a smile on their faces,give them a nice greeting, take them for lunch….
A forgiving heart is a heart that loves. Let love flow naturally in you. Without being a loving person, you can’t be a forgiving person.