Forgiveness does not come naturally; in fact it is supernatural. It is God’s way– his idea. Let me suggest a fairly straightforward process to forgiveness. This process consists of four simple steps, each beginning with the letter “H”.
Step 1: Hurt: identify, experience, and express your feelings.
Label them as specifically as you can. Think back to what gave rise to these feelings. Who did this to you? When did it occur? Where did it happen?
Step 2: Hate: if you have been hurt, you hate.
It is not wrong to hate; in fact we are called to hate what God hates. Hate Sin not the sinner, un-confessed persistent hatred often leads to depression.
Step 3: Hook: Acknowledge the deceptive feeling of control.
Refusing to forgive provides a feeling of power, but this feeling is deceptive as it is really a cover for your own sense of hurt and vulnerability. Refuse to be a victim. Cancel the debt. Get on with your life. Allow God to be the Just Judge.
Step 4: Heal: Forgiveness is both an event and a process.
Letting an offender off the hook is an event. Finding relief from your own pain is a process. It
takes time. You must keep opening your hurt heart to God, and you will experience healing over time.
Forgiveness which we are all called to do is not easy but one day you will wake up and find
yourself thinking differently about the one who hurt you. You may never like or trust this person, but
the intensity of your hurt will diminish. One day you will find yourself praying for your offender. Soon
you will realize you are free. Forgiveness is the road to freedom and the road back to God’s healing
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ." (Eph. 4:32 HCSB)
May The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Rev. Stephen W. Barch