How to Forgive

And whenever you stand
praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and  let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order
that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your own failings and
shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your
Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings
(Mark 11:25-26 –
Amplified).
 
One of the requirements for answered prayer is that we walk
in forgiveness. Faith is a heart thing. And our relationship with our Father is
a heart thing. When we choose to hold on to offense, hardness is produced
within. That hardness shut others out, and keeps the Father out too!
  
All of us encounter challenges with others. It’s just part
of being human living in a fallen world. When someone commits an offense
towards us, Jesus said that we must let
it drop, leave it, and let it go.
Forgiveness is not an option. It is a
command!
 
Forgiveness is not a feeling or emotion. It will eventually
produce a feeling, but it does not start with a good feeling. Forgiveness is an
action we take that will change emotions. Many people want the feeling first
before they forgive, but it just doesn’t work that way.
 
I’ve found that there are at least three steps to
forgiveness, based on the way God forgives us. We are to forgive even as God in Christ forgave us (Ephesians
4:32).
  
When God forgives us, He chooses not to bring the offense up
to us again! When God forgives us, He chooses to forgive and forget. Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember
no more
(Hebrews 10:17). When we forgive others, we must choose not to
mention the offense again! IF you keep reminding a person of their offense
towards you, forgiveness has not yet been given!
  
When God forgives us, He chooses to forget and tell no one
else about it! So when we forgive even as
God forgave us in Christ, we choose to mention it no more to the person we’re
forgiving, and we choose to tell no one else about it!
   
When God forgives us, He chooses to remember the offense no
more. It does not come back to God’s mind again. He has the ability to
completely forget. I will remember no
more.
We don’t have that ability. We easily remember offenses, and the
flesh desires to hold on to them. We must choose to refuse the negative thoughts
that come about a person who has committed an offense against us.     
  
When I am forgiving a person, and the thoughts of what they
did come back, I choose to replace the thoughts of what they did with prayer
for them. I find that I must be consistent with this process. Thoughts can be
stubborn!  When I choose to think only
wholesome thoughts about the person I’m forgiving, and refuse to think on the
negative, I am creating a process that will eventually release negative
emotions from me.
  
Understand that emotions change with thoughts. Thoughts fuel
emotions. If I change my thoughts about a person, the emotions will eventually
change toward them too. This is an important principle to understand.
  
Most people think they haven’t forgiven until they feel the forgiveness. But it works the
other way around! Forgive first! Choose to go before the Father and as an act
of faith release all ill will, wrong thoughts, and wrong motives towards a
person.
 
Then do what the Father does. Don’t bring the offense up to
them again, and don’t bring it up to others. And then, when the offense comes
up in your own mind, pray for the person. Eventually, the emotions will change.
This takes time and the length of time is determined by the degree of the
offense.
 
Make a decision to forgive even as Christ forgave you today. 

 

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