Thoughts of resentment, anger, and hatred represent slow, debilitating energies that will dis-empower you if you continue to let these negative thoughts occupy space in your head, eventually will cause you significant harm.
If you could release your offender, you would know peace; happiness stability and become a far more respected leader.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain
As a Christian, seeking and granting forgiveness is first and foremost about and obedience issue to God. You may not share the same spiritual conviction as I do, and that is respected. However, as a leader forgiveness is essential.
Forgiveness serves as the foundation upon which relational and emotional brokenness may be healed. Humility in large a large dosage needs administering for the power of forgiveness to have its restorative effect on us.
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgiven him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:3-4).
As we consider and pursue resolving conflict, it’s helpful to clarify what biblical forgiveness is and is not.
Some Common Myths Above Forgiveness:
Myth 1: I’ll Forgive When I’m Ready
Waiting to forgive until you have worked through your negative emotions against the offender is unscriptural. There are two models of forgiveness; the Spiritual Model and the Psychological Model.
Psychology styled forgiveness is feelings-based in that they purport the idea that a person may grant genuine forgiveness only upon working through negative feelings experienced by the offence.
These theories tend to contradict the teaching of Jesus in the above passage since it would be unlikely for you to effectively “work through” your negative emotions if someone committed the same sin against you seven times in the same day.
Providing the offender seeks forgiveness, Jesus commands us to forgive immediately.
Myth 2: I Forgive You But I’m Angry
Forgiving while still angry or upset is hypocritical.
It is also Hypocrisy, from a Christian point of view, is to say one is a Christ-follower, but refuse or reject to abide by his teachings.
Therefore, hypocrisy, in the context of forgiveness, would be refusing to forgive when a person seeks forgiveness since it counters Jesus’ instruction in Luke 17. To grant forgiveness while still hurting is not hypocrisy, it is obedience.
Myth 3: Forgiveness is essential for my health
While it is true, harbouring bitterness and resentment will certainly have a damaging impact on our spiritual and emotional lives, but forgiveness is not a therapeutic intervention designed for psychological health.
The primary aim of forgiveness is obedience to God. Making the motive of your forgiveness first about loving God, then about loving your neighbour is the key to spiritual and emotional maturity.
Myth 4: If I forgive, I must forget
Nowhere in Scripture does it infer that once we forgive, we must forget. Truthfully you will never forget.
When God promises us, “I will remember their sins no more” these beautiful promises are fulfilled not because God’s memory is erased, but because He willfully chooses not to hold our sins against us.
God is omniscient, and he has not forgotten our sins as we might forget where we placed our keys.
Some offences are quite painful, even traumatic. To ask someone to completely forget the incident or the pain related to it would not be a compassionate approach. The key is not either to erase one’s memory of the past, but to learn how to honour God when memories seek to infringe upon one’s present awareness.
Myth 5: If I Forgive I May Not Talk to Them About It
Talking about it to the offender and attacking the offender are not the same thing. Sometimes the restoration process may present an opportunity to discussing the ongoing pain caused by the offence with the offender. For example, if a wife is struggling with deep sorrow and an overwhelming sense of betrayal as a result of her husband’s confessed adultery, it will be important for her to share these trials with him so that he may humble himself in seeking to restore the relationship.
The purpose of such conversation is not to resurrect past sins or accusation, but to provide the offender with the opportunity to love and care for the person hurting.
Myth 6: If I Forgive, It Lessens What Was Done To Me
Forgiveness does not lessen the gravity of any sin. Forgiveness is granting to your offender something they may not necessarily deserve while refusing to take matters of punishment into your own hands. While trusting God to avenge them in His way and in His time.
It is choosing mercy over justice and imitates the heart of God towards his people, especially those whom you care about.
Defining What Forgiveness Is:
Forgiveness is not an emotion, but a covenant promise to forgive the debt of your offender.
Ideally, it should not be granted at the end of the healing process, but at the beginning.
It is the foundation upon which relational and emotional healing may take place.
Forgiveness is to promise that you will not hold the sin against your offender.
It is to willfully “remember the sin of your offender no more.”
Forgiveness is to promise that you will not ruminate over your offender’s sin while alone.
After you make this covenant promise to your offender, it serves as a powerful reminder with which to engage the mental battle when the temptation to ruminate arises.
Forgiveness is to promise that you will not gossip about your offender’s sin with others.
Granting forgiveness is not ultimately contingent upon our interpretation of the offender’s genuineness in repentance.
The Christian ethic seeks to operate in love towards all people, including one’s offender(s).