- Religion and Philosophy
The Importance of Forgiveness
It's Not Always Easy
Forgiveness is not always an easy thing. In fact it can be one of the most difficult things to do. Forgiveness means that we have to let go, and that can be very hard when we have so much pain attached to the issue. However, it is very important to following God's word and to our health that we forgive others. I hope after reading this page you will have a better understanding of the importance of forgiveness, as well as, how to forgive.
What does the Bible tell us About Forgiveness?
The Bible talks a great deal about forgiveness. It is very clear in numerous versus that we are to love and forgive others. Jesus tells us to forgive others as we want to be forgiven. And how many of us ask for God's forgiveness over and over and over again? I know I have, and because God loves us so much He continues to forgive us over and over again. Are not the sins we ask God for forgiveness for greater than the the sins others committ against us? And still we expect God to forgive us as we struggle to forgive others. Mark eleven verse 25 tells us, "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions." Matthew eighteen verses 21 and 22 say, "Then Peter came and said to him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?'
22 Jesus said to him, "“I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven." These versus make it clear that not only does Jesus want us to forgive others, but to continue to forgive them for as many times as they may repent.
Why is it Important to Forgive?
We tend to think of forgiveness as a kind act to another person. However, this is not really true. I believe the reason it is so important to forgive is not for the other person, it is for our self. We cannot completely heal or move on from a painful issue if we are not able to forgive whoever we may hold accountable for the issue. Forgiveness is something we must do for our self, for our own health and happiness. Once you are able to forgive someone there is a freeing and relieving feeling that follows that forgiveness. As cliche' as it may sound, it truly is a breath of fresh air.
7 Steps to Forgiveness
Here are some helpful steps to forgiveness...
- Pray, ask God to help you let go and move forward. You don't have to go through this process alone.
- Write, Talk, etc. Find some outlet to let you express all your feelings about the issue. This will help you feel like your have voiced your side, and prepare to let go. You could even send a letter in a balloon or bottle in the lake, ocean, etc. to "let go" of your anger, hurt, betrayal, or whatever bad feelings you may have. You may be surprised at how helpful writing your feelings down is. Sometimes it's not necessarily about telling someone else,but just having the ability to let your feelings out.
- Get Ready. Mentally prepare yourself. Think about how light and peaceful you will feel once you have let go of the issue. Visualize yourself literally letting go of the burden you have been carrying around. Imagine yourself calm and filled with joy. Once your can let go of an issue, it no longer has the power to control your life.
- Depending on the circumstances, it may help to let the other person know you forgive them. Even though forgiveness is really more for yourself than the other person, it still may be helpful to let the person you are moving forward and have forgiven them.
- Thank God, for helping you through the process! We have to remember to give God praises for all He does in our lives, and not just going to Him when we need something.
- Breathe and Enjoy the Little Things in Life. Take time to enjoy some of the simple things in life, like a cup of coffee on your front porch or a nice walk in your neighborhood. Either way sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget to just enjoy it. You may not see it now but a little time for enjoying life can be very helpful on your journey to forgiveness because it reminds us that life is too short to be angry and bitter.
- Move on, easier said than done. But this is your first attempt at truly moving forward. Make it count! Sometimes forgiveness is not a one time act, but a decision that must be made each day. Try to keep moving in the right direction even if you take a step back along the way.