If you have unforgiveness in your life, you are keeping records of wrongs even if you aren’t intending to. This unforgiveness is painful and damaging to your mind and body. It imprisons us into a painful and damaging cycle of bitterness and frustration. Forgive and set yourself free from this bondage. Here’s how.
Start by stepping back and out of the situation. Look at it from outside of your own lens. If you don’t, having an inventory of the wrongs committed against you is like carrying burning hot coals with you. Every time you interact with that person or those people you feel the pain of those coals. If we are honest, at times, we want to hurl those coals at those who have wronged us.
Unfortunately, if you’re honest with yourself this never works and you are the one that usually gets burned by this unforgiveness. The unforgiveness will weigh you down and put unnecessary stress in your life. The funny thing is sometimes the person you haven’t forgiven doesn’t even know they have wronged you! Instead of burning yourself, burn your list.
Burn Up Your List
If you want to get free from those who have wronged you, start with a simple exercise. Take some time right now to write out those you have wronged and who have wronged you. Pray over these relationships and situations, find some simple ways you can begin to forgive the people that have wronged you.
Now take your list of wrongs and burn them up. Really, literally create a list and burn it up. As you do this forgive and release the person from the wrong or wrongs they committed. This will help free you from the burden you are carrying.
The beauty of forgiveness is the person who wronged you doesn’t even have to know you have forgiven them. Simply forgiving them releases you from the burden you are carrying.
If you take the time to do this and have forgiven someone, I want to challenge you with two more things.
Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves! If you are like me, I carry frustrations and mistakes that I don’t forgive myself for. Create a list of the things you are holding against yourself and burn it up or tear it up. However, you do it take the time to pray over these situations. Give yourself the grace. Even if you think you don’t deserve it, because that’s what grace is.
As you free yourself from those that have wronged you and battled through and forgiven yourself for things you’ve done wrong, take this next step. Begin to ask people to forgive you.
Ask for Forgiveness
When I’ve gone through this exercise I always come up with someone I need to ask forgiveness. I find it challenging and scary to ask for forgiveness. A simple apology in-person for a small thing is a great start. Admitting we are wrong and sincerely apologizing is a humbling and powerful action. Actions like these can change your life and the life of the one you have wronged.
Unfortunately, we can’t control whether the person forgives us or not. Some people just aren’t ready. We can only offer our sincere apologies and start with the small wrongs, helping them to see our sincerity. It may be difficult for people to believe you for the bigger things, but as they see the apologies are sincere it will become easier.
This approach can repair the relationship but sometimes they don’t. At some point, they are prisoners of their own unforgiveness and just as you went through the process of forgiving others, they will need to do the same to be set free.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you” – Lewis B. Smedes
Who do you need to forgive today?
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