The church that we attend offers an opportunity to attend a group called "Life Training" that meets outside of regular service times. It is a 12 week course that takes you through different areas of real-life experiences, struggles and issues that we all may face including rejection, judging others, loving others & forgiveness. Some people use this course to grow spiritually while others use this as a starting off point to learn biblically based ways to overcome addiction, trauma, anger, divorce, etc.
We had heard on many occasions about how wonderful the course was so hubs and I agreed to start as soon as the New Year hit. Because they don't provide child care we will need to go on a rotating schedule, him one week me the next, but the class just keeps rotating through the 12 classes so it is easy to start and finish at your own pace.
Monday night was my turn to go to the first class which was on forgiveness. Now, fortunately for me (and I realized this during the class) I don't really have anything in my life that I can think of that I have felt I have been done wrong by. No one has hurt me to the point that I feel bitterness, resentment, anger or just plain can't let go of like some of the people there that are facing abuse, adultery, addictions, divorce and such. Despite this, I was able to use this class as a way to grow in my faith and can honestly say that I learned a lot.
Reasons why we don't forgive:
-We have intense anger
-We don't think it's fair
-We think we are letting someone "off the hook" by forgiving
-We feel like the other person hasn't suffered enough. We want payback.
People that are hurt want:
-Affirmation/recognition from their betrayer that they are hurting
-For your benefit. To free yourself from the prison of bitterness, resentment and anger
-A CHOICE that you make. It's not about feelings.
Steps to Forgiveness:
-Write down what act needs to be forgiven, how it made you feel and what it would feel like to forgive that act.
-Confess to God that you have been holing that person guilty for the act, and hurt, and the ramifications.
-Put the offender in God's hands, entrusting the offender to Him and let go of the debt you feel they owe.
-In humility, tell God you are willing to be reconciled to the offender and allow Him to love the offender through you.
-Drop the charges and dismiss the case. Don't revisit it again.
Forgiving someone doesn't mean you are saying that what they did to you is okay. Forgiving someone is to put yourself at peace with what has happened and freeing yourself from the prison of bitterness. Besides this, forgiveness is commanded of us. So, set yourself free. Forgive.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15