How to Forgive
What forgiveness doesn’t mean
It doesn’t mean to say “it’s okay.” When someone says “I’m sorry,” many times the other person says “it’s okay.” A better response would be “I accept your apology” or “thank you,” then moving on.
It doesn’t mean tolerating abuse or giving more and more chances to someone who is consistently abusive.
It doesn’t mean keeping silent about crimes, whether or not you are the victim. If anyone has committed a crime against you, report it. Don’t let them do the same thing to someone else. God loves justice, so don’t feel like you are being unforgiving by reporting a crime. Actually it can help the person turn around! God disciplines people in order for them to repent. He actually established government — Romans 13.
Think of how Jesus died on the cross so we could be forgiven. He didn’t simply overlook sin without a sacrifice. Romans 8:3 says He “condemned sin” by dying on the cross; He showed how bad it is.
What does it really mean to forgive?
It could mean letting go of a debt someone owes you.
It could mean letting go of hard feelings.
It could mean staying in a relationship where someone let you down.
Whatever forgiveness means in your situation, the point of forgiveness is wanting best for that person. Sometimes people want their enemies in hell. Although God will punish them if they don’t turn around, He doesn’t want that to happen.
“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” — Ezekiel 18:23
Not only does God want them to repent; He also wants them to start using their lives for others!
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” — Ephesians 4:28
Knowing how to forgive
It might take time to deepen your love for the person who hurt you, but keep working on it. Here are some ways…
- Know God’s love for that person. As I shared above, He wants everyone to repent and be saved. Ask God to fill you with His love. This article shows the right perspective to have — pray for the person who wronged you. https://equippinggodlywomen.com/faith/how-to-respond-when-God-allows-trauma/
- Know God’s love for you. He wants to use everything for good. As much as you might want to be paid back, realize only God can heal and restore you in this life — and He definitely will in heaven forever!
- Pray for the person to be used as a blessing to others (Ephesians 4:28).