A Path of Forgiveness
Topic: Lord's Prayer Verse: Matthew 6:12, Luke 11:4
A Path of Forgiveness, as proposed in ‘The Cure’
(for an expanded version to download, please click here.)
When you are honest about your past hurts and betrayals, you know that nothing is more wearying than refusing to forgive. As hard as it may seem, we must forgive others after they have wronged us in order to become free ourselves. This pathway has proven helpful for many people.
- I have to admit something happened. This is an invitation to stop hiding the sin, or denying.
- I must get in touch with the consequences of the act done against me. The consequences of sin are usually worse - sometimes far worse- than the sin itself. I need to connect with how that event is impacting my daily life.
- I must tell God what happened to me. I must excavate every effect and emotion I’ve buried about the sin against me.
- I must forgive the offender, for my benefit. Trusting God's character, strength, love and protection, I place the entire list of consequences and loss into His hands. (If I refuse to forgive someone before God, then I become the issue.)
- I tell the offender I’ve forgiven them when they repent, for their sake.
- I must distinguish between forgiving and trusting my offender.
Forgiveness is not a renewed demand that I now fully trust the other person. Forgiveness and trust are separate issues. Forgiveness carries the hope of renewed trust, but it offers no mandate or guarantee.
- I seek reconciliation, not just conflict resolution. Many of us, in our hurt, shame and self-protection, want to get past the issue and allow the relationship to die.
If we take a deep breath and survey these seven items above, we see that forgiveness is not quick, neat or simple. Let’s be gracious with ourselves and realize that God is at work in us to release us from the pain of sin, even the sin that has been committed against us.
This may take time. But there is beauty at the end of the road.
Forgiveness breaks down walls, frees hearts, mends countries, restores families, and draws out the best in us. It can turn hatred into tenderness and the desire to destroy into a passion to protect. It is more powerful than any weapon, government, or wealth. Nothing else can bring such profound healing.