Sometimes it’s easy to forgive people. Sometimes the process can take time. Some people quit smoking cold-turkey, and other chew nicotine gum for years. It all depends. If possible, it’s best to get in the habit of forgiving people, and even forgiving ourselves. There may be consequences to the action points that require the process of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice that sometimes needs to be remade daily. Let’s consider the process of forgiveness:
1. Be prepared to recommit to your decision to forgive as may times as thoughts of unforgiveness pop into your head.
2. Keep releasing the bitterness, regret and thoughts of revenge. Then ask Jesus what He has for you in exchange. I once forgave someone and God gave me the word “freedom” in exchange. From there on out, I focused on wanting the freedom of a new chapter in life free from thoughts of the person I was choosing to forgive. Freedom is better.
3. Release the toxic emotions to God as they surface, and give Him the difficult people to deal with as He chooses. This lightens our burden by staying in unforgiveness, and allows us to move away from the negative hooks of the memory. It leaves them with themselves and their need for change. Maybe they will learn to call on God.
4. Realize that the decision to forgive is immediate, and allow yourself your need to heal from the person/incident in good time. Think of it as similar to salvation which is immediate and yet the path of sanctification unfolds over time.
5. Living a life free from the burden of resentment and toxicity of unforgiveness is a choice followed by a series of choices. It gets easier with time as forgiveness becomes a habit.
Paul writes in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” As we are forgiven by Christ, it is our turn to “forgive each other, just as God forgave us.” Ephesians 4:32