TIP 10. THE PROCESS OF FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness in a human heart is as vital as the blood that flows in our veins, without it, life as it was designed to be, stops. Both the giving and receiving of forgiveness needs to be present for a man to live free and enjoy life to the fullest. When this process is not present, our lives begin to stagnate like a swamp, rather than flow like a river. Effective parenting styles need to include an understanding of the importance of the process of forgiveness, and its role in maintaining and strengthening family relationships.
Jesus taught that it was 'impossible that offences would not come' in this present world system, so we as men need to be prepared emotionally and mentally, so we will know what to do when offences arrive. I suspect that most of us would have been offended or hurt already in life, by what someone said or did, or failed to do, but this does not mean that we have to carry around that hurt forever inside us.
If you have never been offended or hurt by anyone in this world, then hang around a little longer, I'm pretty sure someone will come by soon. I can usually tell when I have been hurt or offended by someone, because when I think of, or see that person, I feel the hurt on the inside.
I may want to walk on the other side of the road to avoid having to speak to them, or similar sounding situations. They all point to the fact that I have been offended or hurt by that person, and the pain inside is limiting my ability to live life to the full.
But we don't have to carry that pain on the inside all our lives, healing is available through the act and process of forgiveness. Jesus taught us in The Lord's Prayer, 'forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us'. Here we see the flow of forgiveness, it needs to flow in and out like the daily tides. Through forgiveness we can off-load the pain and hurt that we feel in our hearts, and begin to enjoy life again in a greater way.
Often when people hurt us, our first reaction or impulse is to hurt them back, but Jesus taught us 'to turn the other cheek', and not strike back. To many men, this may seem foolish or cowardly, or in the very least 'go against the grain' of what men generally do. But Jesus came to show us a better way, a higher way to live, the way that life is lived in heaven, God's way.
If we choose to follow God's way of living, we will get God's results. If we choose to merely do what comes naturally, then we will get those natural results too. It is not always easy to forgive, actually sometimes it is nearly impossible, but that is why we need to 'call upon God for help in time of need'.
Unforgiveness comes into our hearts in 'seed form' through an offence or hurt, and if we do not get rid of it through forgiveness, it grows stronger and stronger inside us, until it poisons the complete flow of life within us, and leaves us bitter and twisted. Many good men have been crippled emotionally by being ignorant of the process of forgiveness, or by being unwilling to 'let go' the hurts and forgive.
As I have stated in the title of this teaching, forgiveness is often a process, not just a one time act. This can be especially true if you have harboured resentment toward another person for some time, but the process works if you are prepared to stick with it, and do it God's way.
The Process Of Forgiveness
In Matthews Gospel, Jesus taught the heavenly way of dealing with the offences of this world. He said ' Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.'
This heavenly process of forgiveness works, even in the most difficult situation or circumstance. Even though the first time you begin the process, it may seem like scaling Mt Everest, it will get easier day by day, as long as you continue in it. Within a short period of time, if you follow the steps daily, you will be free of the pain and offence on the inside, and your prayers for this person will release God to move afresh in their lives. When the process is finished you will no longer feel the pain when you think about them, and it may feel as if a weight has been lifted off you.
Step 1 Love Your Enemies
Step 2 Bless Those Who Curse You
Step 3 Do Good To Those Who Hate You
Step 4 Pray For Those Who Spitefully Use You And Persecute You
Dads' Call To Action:
Speak out daily ' I am a forgiving person, I forgive every person of every offence and hold no grudges against anyone. I also receive God's forgiveness daily and walk in His ways.'
(Matthew 5 v 43-48 )
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighboUr and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.