Some people can hold on to a perceived hurt and anger for their whole lives. They refuse to reconcile or forgive another person or people and develop their pain into full blown hate. This is an acid that eats the one who has it from within. It destroys not the object of the hate but the person hating. It is a great sadness that does not have to rule your life. Jesus showed us the way to freedom from this self-destructive living. It is the transforming power of complete forgiveness.
In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus taught us about forgiveness when Peter asked him how many times he should forgive someone. The Law of Moses said to forgive four times so Peter who knew that Jesus always went beyond the law ask if the number should be seven. Thinking that he would be praised for more than doubling what the law said, Peter must have been shocked when Jesus said seventy times seven.
Four Steps to Forgiveness:
1. Recognize the underserved HURT for what it is and own it. Understanding the nature of what happened is important. Was the hurt intentional or unintentional? Was it personal or general? For example a slap in the face is personal while the 9/11 attack was general.
2. Recognize your ANGER/HATE as the result of the hurt and know that holding on to anger and or hate is an acid that destroys the vessel that contains it. It will eat away at your soul unless you deal with it soon.
3. Seek in prayer your SPIRITUAL INETRNAL HEALING. Remembering that Jesus taught us to pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. You goal is spiritual peace and wholeness as a child of God and a Disciple of Jesus.
4. Proclaim your FREEDOM and RELEASE from your hurt, pain, anger and hate. The one who caused the hurt may not know that they hurt you and it may NOT have been on purpose. What ever it is forgiving that person will release you from your bondage to the hate. It may even restore a relationship.