The Process of Forgiveness

Refuse to dwell on angry thoughts, and focus your energy on seeking good for others.

Ephesians 4:30-32

All of us have, at some point, been hurt by someone we love and trust. When that happens, we have a choice: to wallow in self-pity and anger or to forgive.

Forgiveness means giving up both the resentment you may have and the desire to retaliate. Doing so involves three important steps.

  1. Surrender the general attitude of resentment. That is, make a decision not to languish in your pain. This can be hard! Many people almost seem to enjoy a mindset of self-pity or martyrdom. But you can choose a different posture and move past your suffering.
  2. Give up specific feelings of resentment toward an individual. It is important to let go of the anger that was brought on by hurtful actions—and to try to restore the broken relationship.
  3. Lay down all claims to retribution. You cannot forgive someone with your words while secretly wishing him or her harm. True forgiveness seeks the other person’s good, not punishment.

Forgiveness says, “Though you hurt me, I choose to pardon you. I won’t dwell on this, nor will I allow it to destroy my life or attitude. I won’t spend one minute plotting revenge. You are God’s precious child.” Truly forgiving another person is difficult, but the rewards are worth it.