TOUGH SKILL: FORGIVENESS - “How can I know if I’ve really forgiven them? I’m still mad when I think about it.”
Forgiveness is one of the most challenging tasks we face as human beings. It’s not a natural response but a supernatural one. Forgiveness is a choice. It’s a decision modeled after God’s forgiveness of us: a decision not to hold the offense against the offender.
It releases the person from their wrong against us, desiring good for them. And since forgiveness is a choice we make, it doesn’t even depend on the other person. We can forgive whether the person is sorry or not.
But here’s what forgiveness isn’t. It’s not forgetting or excusing, releasing someone from the consequences of their wrong. This is different from revenge. It’s accountability for their choices. A forgiven criminal should still go to jail just an an embezzler should not be given a position as an accountant.
Forgiveness isn’t a feeling, although feeling might be present. It’s something the forgiven commits to and promises. I know it sounds crazy. But harboring unforgiveness torments you way more than the one you’re failing to forgive. It’s a promise you’re making to yourself for yourself, promising the following:
I will not…
- Keep ruminating negatively on this.
- Seek to hurt my offender as a result of this; I will seek to release him or her, even if that means establishing accountability and finding justice.
- Gossip about this, speaking to others who are not part of the solution.
Instead, I will continue to pursue a relationship with the offender unless repentance has not been demonstrated by them. Perhaps love dictates I set boundaries to protect both of us.
In all of this, you might even come to a renewed appreciation of the lengths God has gone to forgive us. Forgiveness isn’t always easy. And we realize that more when we need to do it.
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(References from https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/communication/that-same-stupid-fight-handling-conflict-with-your-spouse/)
Author: Denise Taylor
I’m on a mission to help professional women thrive. Hear me loud & clear... Don’t Settle. You can have it all. I live a blessed life & you can too.