I was looking through my notes and digitizing them (from my old school notebook to the computer), I came across a particular small group material I used to lead a group of men I meet with Wednesday mornings.
It talked about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a daily decision. Why? Because everyday is a daily opportunity to get offended and forgive. It is also another day to decide to forgive who have hurt you immensely from way way back.
Here are the common reactions:
- Conditional Forgiveness: “I will forgive if…”
- Partial Forgiveness: “I can forgive but I will never forget…”
- Delayed Forgiveness: “I will forgive but give me time…”
Forgiveness is not an emotion but a decision of the will. If you wait to feel like forgiving, it will take a very long time (probably never). Here is where the principle of MOTION-EMOTION comes in. Forgive (MOTION) and then the feelings (EMOTION) will follow after.
A few practical suggestions.
1. Develop a thick layer of skin.
You will be offended. Just deal with it and bite the bullet. Prepare yourself.
2. Try to understand where the offender is coming from.
There are reasons why s/he did what s/he did. It may be for the right reasons. It may very well be for the wrong reasons. But understand the context and it may help you understand why s/he did what s/he did.
3. Recall times when you needed forgiveness.
If you are imperfect like the rest of us humans, then there may have been times you’ve had to ask for forgiveness and been forgiven.
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”