How to forgive someone. Easy to say. A little harder to do. Well, I thought I was doing a good job of forgiving those who offend me. But . . .
I few weeks ago, I had a battle in my mind. All those inner chats. All those things I wanted to say to the one who offended me.
Do you know what I mean?
God was telling me I still had people to forgive!
And (oh no!) I was keeping a record of wrong. The very thing I pray daily to not do. To not keep a record of wrong.
So, what have I done?
Watch & see what I did to overcome my inner chats.
In order to forgive, I must get control of my mind. I must win the battle for my mind. Winning the War in Your Mind begins with this verse.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 5:10
When you are dealing with how to forgive someone, you need to start with you. Take every thought captive to obey Jesus. Then, you can move forward to cancelling the debt that person owes you. They may never apologize, but you can forgive.
When you forgive someone, a burden (of bitterness & anger) is taken off your shoulders. From there, you experience joy, peace, victory and freedom.
Forgive or Forget?
But what if I can’t forget that person’s offense. Totally understandable. The old saying goes, “You can forgive, but not forget.” That’s what Christian counselors and pastors say.
Although I agree with this in a way, I’ve wrestled with it from a Biblical standpoint. Here’s what God is speaking to me.
How to Forgive Someone Verses
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.Hebrews 8:12
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.Psalm 103:12
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on.Philippians 3:12
I’ve been thinking about this idea of how to forgive someone AND forget the offense. Most authors, counselors and pastors will say you can forgive, but not forget. My question as I put on the lens of Scripture is, “What does God say?”
As I pondered these verses I was struck with these thoughts.
- If God forgets my sins from the east to west, should I strive to forget the sins against me?
- Paul says he does one thing: forget what lies behind … reach forward to what is ahead.
- If I’m becoming more Christlike, is it possible to be like Christ and remember those offenses against me no more?
- If I can pray for God to remember His good works, why can’t I pray to forget those sins against me?
I now pray that I will forget the sins against me. In the past five years, I had to forgive family members, church leaders, neighbors, ministry leaders for huge, deeply emotional offenses. These are the biggest offenses I’ve experienced.
Have I forgotten all those offenses yet?
Nope! However, I’ve forgotten some of those offenses. I trust the Holy Spirit to renew my mind daily. To make my thoughts, attitudes, emotions new every morning. In doing so, my faith is in God, not me, to not remember.
There is so much to consider as you forgive. That’s why I highly recommend June Hunt’s book, How to Forgive When You Don’t Feel Like It . I’ve read many books on forgiveness, and this one is by far, the very best. You’ll discover many lessons on forgiveness that come directly from the Bible.
Check back soon for my next post on teaching kids forgiveness from the heart.
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