How to forgive

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. As Christians, we know we are forgiven, and we are told to forgive in the same way. It’s easy to say, “I forgive you,” but it’s only real if it’s from our hearts.

Dallas Willard, in his book, Life Without Lack, said we make three errors when it comes to forgiveness. First, we tend to believe it requires reconciliation; second, we think we have to forget what happened; and third, we think we have to stop hurting. None of these are necessary.

We forgive by making the choice not to punish or seek revenge, which means we let people off the hook. It lets us off our own hook, too and frees us—from anger and bitterness—and allows us to love them the way God wants us to.

If we wait for reconciliation (which often never comes), tell ourselves we have to forget what happened (can’t do that) and wait to stop hurting (the pain might lessen, but will never go away), forgiveness will never happen, at least not in this life. Forgiveness is God’s way of life and his way to life (N.T. Wright) but doesn’t happen in our hearts without God’s help and much prayer. It is possible, even when it feels like it’s not, if we can avoid these mistakes and trust God to make it work.

Author: ttkach

Writer, cyclist, paper-crafter, mom, gardener.

3 thoughts on “How to forgive”

  1. That was one of the lessons in the Cloud and Townsend book, “Twelve Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy”. Without understanding what true forgiveness is, too many Christians stay in dysfunctional and abusive relationships trying to share their “pearls with swine” so to speak. We must love our neighbors as ourselves…..but some we can love from a distance! Thank you for reminding me!

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