Welcome to Forgiveness
“You know, Bob, you’re awfully critical of other people.”
Ouch. That was hard to hear, but my wife’s words rang true.
As I faced the truth of that sentence, I realized that I spent a lot of time judging my co-workers, friends, and family members who didn’t meet my standards.
When I became a Christian in my early 30s, I expected to become humbler and more accepting, but if anything, I became even more judgmental.
A Surprising Truth About Forgiveness
Soon after hearing those words, I encountered the writings of a few Christian authors who wrote about going to God for help with their spiritual struggles.
One of them, Catherine Marshall, shared about her struggles with forgiveness in “Something More.”
She saw that our desire to judge other people’s behavior is a significant obstacle to forgiveness.
I was personally shaken to read that “God cannot give the gift [of love] so long as unforgiveness stands sentinel at the door.”
The last thing I wanted was for my judgmentalism and unforgiveness to rob my life of love.
The Reality Of Unforgiveness
Being critical is not the only sign of unforgiveness. Some of us experience events in life that cause extreme hurt, and we are rightly angry at other people, sometimes refusing to forgive.
It’s okay if this sounds like you. We’re not going to call you out for realizing that you struggle to forgive, are wounded and in protection mode, or have a critical spirit.
The fruit of forgiveness is so rich. It’s worth learning more.
I started using Marshall’s process of systematically making lists of people to forgive and then simply forgiving them one by one.
I was amazed at how God took away bitterness and resentment, and He replaced my critical views of people with love and understanding.
It was almost like I began seeing people as God saw them – beautifully created and just trying to do their best.
Willing To Try?
It’s normal to feel a little uncertain about getting started.
This is new territory for most of us.
Especially if someone you need/want to forgive doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.
Keep in mind that forgiveness is not something earned or deserved.
It is something you graciously give to the undeserving, as God has graciously given forgiveness to you.
It doesn’t minimize or excuse the person’s actions. It actually acknowledges that they have done something hurtful.
But it takes away your judgment, so that the offender no longer has to defend against it, and it shines a spotlight on their hurtful actions.
As a result, it may even lead to the offender examining their actions and taking responsibility for them.
Here’s how to start the practice of Forgiveness:
- Find a quiet and solitary place where you can focus.
- Make a list of some of the individuals or groups who have hurt or offended you.
- Instead of trying to go through yourwhole list at once, work through one or two people/groups each time.
And keep these factors in mind:
- Forgiveness is often hard. For some names on your list, you may have to work through the steps several times, perhaps even over an extended period of time.
- Go slow. Repeat the practice 10-15 times over the next three weeks to engage in the Deep Practice process. This process cannot be rushed. The act of repetition cements the steps in your mind, allowing you to call on Forgiveness whenever you need it in the future – as it happens.
The Fruit Of Forgiveness
When our team of theologians and learning experts began meeting to develop these tools in 2012, we felt strongly that the practice of Forgiveness needed to be one of the first we tackled.
The team worked to combine Biblical principles on forgiveness with the Deep Practice technique to accelerate and deepen learning.
After many years of work, the Forgiveness practice has been tested, refined, and re-tested many times, with hundreds of people from all walks of life supplying feedback and suggestions.
We’ve heard countless testimonials about the power of going to God for help with forgiveness.
Are you tired of carrying a heart full of bitterness, resentment, and judgment?
Are you ready for God to open your heart to love?
Then, Welcome to Forgiveness.