The Process of Forgiveness


Forgiveness is essential to our spiritual well-being. Unforgiveness poisons our soul and does nothing to hurt the one we don’t want to forgive. In fact, some people who hurt us may not be aware they have done so.

Forgiveness can be a difficult and painful process. The process I will outline for you below will take time. I assure you, if you are open to it and the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be life giving and life changing. But, that’s up to you and the Holy Spirit.

  • Get a notebook or a journal and a pen or pencil.
  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Breathe deeply and relax.
  • Ask God to help you with this process.
  • When you are ready, go all the way back to your earliest memory of being hurt.
  • Write down the person’s name and the offense. Don’t be superficial or try to judge if your hurt was that serious.
  • Repeat the process up until the present time.
  • If it’s helpful, split the list by:
  • Phase of life or age range
  • Place of work
  • Do this in whatever way is most meaningful for you. Expect this to take some time. It’s a process.
  • When you think your list is complete, walk away for a bit. Then go back over the list. Ask God if you’ve forgotten anyone.
  • Go back to the first name you wrote down.
  • Talk to the Lord about your hurt.
  • If you are ready to forgive them, then tell Jesus you forgive that person.
  • If you are not yet ready, ask Jesus to help you. You may have some barrier.
  • Pray the Our Father. Pay attention to the words ‘as we.’ (Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us). Note that we are only forgiven inasmuch as we forgive others.
  • Go to the next name on the list. Repeat the process above, making any notes you feel are important about how the forgiveness process went, highlighting the ones you are having difficulty forgiving.
  • Note that forgiveness sometimes comes in layers. The hurt may need to be ‘peeled away’ layer by layer until the memory of the person or the hurt no longer gets a negative internal reaction.

Copyright © 2018 by Theresa M. Williams

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