The Process of Forgiving

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Our Bible lesson this week focuses on forgiveness.  Writing this lesson has been good for me because I have been able to see that while we all know that we must forgive, that for some people forgiveness is a process.  It doesn’t take a long time to do something that causes pain in another person’s life.  An offense can happen in an instant, but it could take years to recover from it.  Being able to forgive, especially when the offense is a major one, usually doesn’t happen overnight.  Rather, it requires much thought, contemplation, prayer, patience and it might require time.  It might be awhile before you reach a point where you can fully release the person who has offended you from the debt they owe you…but you must adhere to the Word of God and do the work that is necessary to reach that place of forgiveness.

The major thing that I gained from this study was that we all need forgiveness.  If you live long enough, there will be a time when you will be hurt and there will be a time when you hurt someone.  When we extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, then we can be hopeful that forgiveness will be extended to us when we hurt someone else.  More importantly, when we forgive those who hurt us, God forgives us when we hurt Him.  When we violate His Word, we disappoint Him.  In the Book of Genesis, the Bible says that the Lord was grieved when he saw the sinful state of man.  He was in pain.  He was disappointed then, and I imagine that He is disappointed now when we veer off-course in our lives as it relates to our walk with Him.  We all need grace and mercy.  If you’ve been hurt, realize that sin and a need for self-gratification causes many people to temporarily lose their mind and do things they might not otherwise do.  This is no excuse for bad behavior, but it kind of explains why people make some of the horrendous decisions they do and end up hurting us.  We have to give people room to be human and forgive them when they make mistakes.  Forgiveness is tough.  In many cases, it takes time and effort to fully release feelings of hurt, disappointment and anger.  Decide today to work on forgiving that person who has offended you.  You will feel much better when you let go of the pinned up negative emotions that have prevented you from having peace in your life.

Carl