But deciding to forgive someone who has deeply hurt you is also, unquestionably, one of the most important choices you will ever make.
I want to walk with you step-by-step through how you can actually forgive someone. Because in the end, this is not simply for the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness is for God, first. For you, second. And for the person who has hurt you, third. It's time to let go of your desire to get even with this other person.
Click To Tweet. Underneath that name, think of the many things you have done for which you need forgiveness and write them down.
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When we realize how much we need to be forgiven for all the wrongs we have done, it makes it easier to show mercy to those who have hurt us. Keep what you have written in front of you as you go through this process.
God can help you forgive because not only has He forgiven tens of billions of people, He also has the power to help you, in particular. Just remember: He only helps those who admit their helplessness. Please help me. Help me to understand how much you have forgiven me, so I can forgive the person who has hurt me. I tried to put it aside, to rationalize it, even to blame myself for it. It was poisoning my spirit.
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Then one night I cried out to God realizing that this burden was too big for me alone. I laid the pain and anger and hurt at His feet, and He lifted the burden from me. With the help of a counselor, minister, or another professional, you need to seek to understand what happened to you when you were hurt and why it hurts so much. When we realize we can be forgiven for everything we have ever done, it is then we are able to begin forgiving the people in our lives who have hurt us. Try to focus on the good things the experiences have provided you with, however tiny they may be compared with the wrongs the person has done to you.
Let go of your deep desire to get even with the person who has violated you. Come up with a prayer or statement announcing your decision. I make a commitment that when those sordid feelings come over me again, I will release them. I admit the feelings are real, but I choose not to be controlled by them any longer. Instead I will dwell on the good things I have learned from this experience. Look at them first, as a tragedy. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize the thoughts that are getting in the way of forgiveness.
If the mistake you made hurt another person, you need to determine the best course of action.
How to Actually Forgive Yourself
Do you want to talk to this person and apologize? Is it important to reconcile with them and make amends? This goes beyond saying sorry to a person you've hurt. Instead, try to fix the mistake you've made. One study found that forgiving ourselves for hurting another is easier if we first make amends. Ask them to take on your mistake. They will tell you what happened and how they are struggling to forgive themselves. For example, instead of replaying the tape, take three deep breaths or go for a walk. Interrupting the thought pattern can help you move away from the negative experience and reduce stress and anxiety.
The only way to begin the journey to forgiveness is to be kind and compassionate with yourself. McBain recommends talking to a counselor who can help you learn how to break these unhealthy patterns in your life and learn new and healthier ways of coping with mistakes. Forgiveness is important to the healing process since it allows you to let go of the anger, guilt, shame, sadness, or any other feeling you may be experiencing, and move on.
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