Unforgiveness is one of the heaviest pieces of baggage to drag around with you on your journey. If we are going to run our race unencumbered we need to make sure that we are not harboring bitterness or anger toward someone that has wounded us. But how do you forgive someone that may not even be truly sorry?
When my daughter was a toddler and she would do something naughty like throw something at her brothers, I would do the motherly thing and march her over to apologize. A forced apology is rarely sincere. We still laugh today about how when forced to apologize she would give an icy stare, grit her teeth, barely open her mouth and say “Rorry” without any expression. (that wasn’t a misspelling ~ that was how she said it)
The boys would be incensed saying, “Mom, she’s not really sorry!!”
She would go on her merry way having done her duty and they would remain all riled up about the injustice of it all.
My response to them would be, “Let it go.”
In this life you will be offended and you can count on being hurt by someone at some point. The decision you will have to make in favor of your mental and emotional health is to forgive them and let it go. If you don’t it will slow down your forward motion.
But how? Here are some suggestions…
1. Prayer. Lots of it. ~ Pray not only for strength to forgive but pray for that person’s well being. This is hard to do but it will help you to see past their fault to their need. You may even begin to have compassion for that person.
2. Have a ceremony ~ Write down who and what you are choosing to forgive and then do something creative to symbolize letting it go. Burn it (safely in a sink). Write it on toilet paper and flush it down the toilet…whatever helps you to visualize officially letting it go.
3. Say it out loud ~ It helps to hear yourself say it. Say it over and over again. I choose to forgive _____.
4. Remember that forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience to God. It is not a feeling. You may not feel any different at first but you will over time. Be patient with yourself, forgiveness is often a process. You know you are making progress when you can think of the person without the offense being the first thing that comes to mind.