How do you forgive people close to you who have deliberately hurt you, talked negatively behind your back, judged and condemned you, and encouraged others to do so? People who consider you as unworthy of their love and respect. In this situation, in our own strength, it is difficult to forgive. So, we must pray persistently for God’s grace to enable us to forgive them and rid ourselves of all the painful emotions invoked by the wrongdoing.
It is important to consider the reasons why we must forgive: God commands it and for ourselves. We do not forgive others for their benefit – God will take care of them because He knows what’s in their hearts. Forgiveness is a process because it involves hurt and pain, which requires emotional healing, then coming to a place of readiness to forgive. So, to begin the healing process we must: accept the situation, and embrace and work through our negative emotions; then, we’ll obtain peace of mind and readiness to forgive.
Jesus Commands to Forgive People Who Hurt You
Thankfully, Jesus has demonstrated to us how to forgive the gravest of sins: when He was dying on the cross, He said to the Father:
Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
If He asked the Father to forgive those who took His life, then, who are we not to forgive minor sins against us?
Forgiveness is a necessary requirement of God in order to serve Him righteously. When He taught the Disciples how to pray, he named it specifically in the prayer.
Matt 9:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Luke 11:4 “Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”
Colossians 3:13 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another if any man has a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
If Jesus forgives us of our sins without reservation, and undeserving; then, we must model His example and forgive people who have sinned against us.
This shows the significance of forgiveness. We must forgive, no matter how hurt we feel and how difficult it is to forgive people – Jesus demonstrated it, commands it! Also, when we forgive, we do it for ourselves, we release the raw negative emotions that live inside us keeping us bound. We gain peace within ourselves and are able to freely move on mentally and emotionally.
The grave consequence of unforgiveness is that Jesus will not forgive us for our sins. And we will be as unjust as they are and accountable to God.
Matt 6:15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
With this, I’m not sure how we can continue with unforgiveness in our hearts, hindering us from growing spiritually in Christ.
Accept, Embrace the Situation and Work Through Emotions
To being the healing process of forgiveness, we must: accept the situation, embrace it, and then begin working through our emotions to get past it and forgive. For instance, we consider what has transpired and accept it. This person talked negatively with others behind my back, judged me, turned them against me, and encouraged them to disrespect me. And this is how it makes me feel: hurt, sad, angry, confused, etc.
Naming our emotions helps us to validate our feelings because they are real. And it helps us to work through them one by one to rid them of ourselves. When we rid ourselves of negative emotions, the situation no longer dominates our minds, the negative emotions are no longer within us, and we feel at peace. Then, we can begin the healing process and forgive them, and finally move on.
Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Keeping Toxic People in Your Life
Forgiving people who hurt you doesn’t necessarily mean that you must keep them in your life. And keeping them in your life doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven them or you are holding on to negative feelings toward them. You must consider the fact that you know how they feel about you, and that they only tolerate you because they have to, and that may never change.
Also, some Christians are very toxic, self-righteous, and unable to see their shortcomings. They feel that because they have never walked away from the church and have never faltered the way you have, they’re a better Christian than you. And that you’re not worthy to be treated with brotherly love and respect. They look down on you and ‘other’ you. They make no allowances for faltering, just expectations of perfection which they themselves aren’t. Unfortunately, they have the inability to recognize this attitude and bias within themselves.
Your sins are for God to judge only – no one else’s. If they’re too proud to admit that they’ve been unkind and unloving to you because they deem you not ‘one of them,’ and unworthy of brotherly love and respect, then it’s up to God to deal with them. Only God knows what’s in their hearts and can show them their unloving ways and disrespect toward you.
Finally, forgiveness is an imperative from God if we are to serve Him righteously. Some hurt inflicted on us by people close to us are not easy to forgive and it takes time to heal. In difficult and painful situations, we must pray for God’s grace to allow us to forgive people who hurt us. It is a healing process, in which we must acknowledge, embrace and work through our negative emotions to bring us to a place of peace, comfort, and forgiveness.