Step Two: Forgive

Last week I wrote about confession – the first step in taking your spiritual inventory and moving into 2015 with increasing freedom. The second step in taking your spiritual inventory is to forgive.

Who has hurt you?  Make a list. That is your list of people to forgive. I know. It may not seem fair. However, the truth is that your unforgiveness is like a chain around you, while they are likely walking around completely unaffected. It may help if you think back to Step One and how freely and completely God forgave you.

I remember a situation where I genuinely tried to forgive someone. A number of times I chose to forgive, thought I had forgiven, and then the whole situation “came back.”I discovered that if I was going to forgive this person once and for all, I needed to set aside judgment.

As long as you keep thinking, “she is so . . . ” or “he always . . . ” or “they never . . . ,” then unforgiveness will come back. To cut the chain, you have to entrust them completely to God. Believe that He is good, and fair, and that He wants the best for them and for us. (Please note: We can forgive and still set healthy boundaries.)

Pray a blessing on that person. Don’t try to use the prayer as manipulation. This is not a prayer to say, “Lord, please help them see how wrong they are.” Instead, pray that God would protect them, surround them with his Spirit, give them good friends, provide all they need . . .and every other good thing that comes to mind.

Blessing people who have hurt us can transform our thinking and lift us emotionally. If we see good things happening to them, we are less likely to resent it – it’s evidence God listens to us. It also makes us less likely to freeze them in the past. We see hope for change. Coincidentally, we feel hope for ourselves.

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32 TNIV

How are Step One (quietness + confession) and now Step Two (forgiveness) helping you shed the baggage of 2014? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.