Steps To True Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:31-32  31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).       32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.   Amplified Bible (AMP)

Matthew 18:21-35

Amplified Bible (AMP)

21Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and [a]let it go? [As many as] up to seven times?22Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!

    23Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants.24When he began the accounting, one was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents [probably about $10,000,000], 25And because he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made.26So the attendant fell on his knees, begging him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything.27And his master’s heart was moved with compassion, and he released him and forgave him [cancelling] the debt.

    28But that same attendant, as he went out, found one of his fellow attendants who owed him a hundred denarii [about twenty dollars]; and he caught him by the throat and said, Pay what you owe!29So his fellow attendant fell down and begged him earnestly, Give me time, and I will pay you all !30But he was unwilling, and he went out and had him put in prison till he should pay the debt.31When his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and told everything that had taken place to their master.

    32Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to.33And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you?34And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed35So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

So as you see just from these two verses forgiveness is an important matter. There are other verses that talk about how important forgiveness is as in Psalm 55:12-14, Matthew 6: 12,14-15
What is real forgiveness?
Well forgiveness comes from the one hurt canceling the debt owed (more on that below). There is no need for participation from the person who caused the hurt.
Reconciliation is what comes when the person who caused the hurt comes to apologize and asks for forgiveness.
Willing to forgive and able to forgive. Sometimes we think we have forgiven someone but we are still hurt and we have said that we have forgiven them just as the Word says to but for some reason your not able to totally give it to the Lord. Its because you feel they still owe you something (the DEBT) like justice, an apology, restoration, money, understanding, things like that. Other things that could also prevent you from being able to forgive is judgements (Matthew 7:1-2), vows (Matthew 5:33-35),  and false beliefs ( If I forgive them then they will be off the hook and never have justice,  Forgiveness means I must pretend nothing ever happened.)
Forgiveness is important because it gives you the ability to move on in life. Unforgiveness ties you to those past hurts and makes it difficult to receive blessings from new relationships. For example; since I was 15 a friend of mine totally hurt me. Because she was my best friend, that since that time I based all my female relationships on that vow that if a make a meaning relationship with this person they will only find a better more exciting friend. So I never made any meaningful relationships with women until the last year or so. It has taken me 20 years to get over a hurt that I thought wasn’t hurting my relationships. Turns out it had everything to do with it. So really search your heart with these steps I am about to go through with you. Please take time to write these things down and answer so you have them for later. I pray release, growth, and grace over all of you and pray you get as much out of this process as I did.
1.   Freedom From The Past  The people we are closest to are the ones who hurt us the most.

One way to know if you haven’t forgiven is that you are still running the scenes through your mind with the same bitterness, hurts, and defensive thoughts of things you wish you said  or want to say to them. This is called “going back to court” except in your court you always win, they repent and are punished, and you are exonerated. So pray and ask God to reveal to you the people who have hurt you and make a list. Start with your parents if need be because this could be the hardest ones. Think about people that you still “go back to court with”. Then do this exercise with each person that has hurt you.

2.   The Wounds:

What did they do to hurt you: abandoned, criticized, abused, rejected, ignored, lied, betrayed, and so on. What was the wound(s)?

3.    Judgements:

The things you believe about them: they’re evil, weak, stupid, lazy, didn’t love me, didn’t care, etc. What are your judgements? Repent of your judgements, asking God to release the person and yourself from the consequences of Matthew 7:1-2.

4.   Vows, self-curses, survival lies:

What was it you told yourself to keep from being hurt again: “I don’t need (trust) anyone.” “Whatever I do its not enough” “All men/women are _____”

Now with those written down, renounce and repent of these vows, self-curses, and lies. Ask God to forgive you and to break them.

5.   Effects on you:

What effect has the wound had on you? Stress, fear, anger, isolation, depression, workaholism, etc.

6.   Their Debt:

What do they owe you? What would they have to do for you to trust them again? Apology, repentance, money, make restitution, justice, change behavior, suffer, etc. Write these down.

Now pray, asking the Lord to make you both willing and able to cancel their debt.

7.   False Beliefs:

These can hinder forgiveness. False beliefs can make you unable to forgive those that have hurt you. Say these false beliefs to yourself and see if they feel true. If they do meditate on the true beliefs until the false ones do not feel true any longer.

False Belief

1.   If I forgive them they will get off the hook and there will never be any justice.

True Belief

Only God knows what is just.  Romans 12:19

False Belief

2.   Forgiving them means I must pretend that nothing ever happened.

True Belief

Forgiveness is not denial. You must tell yourself the truth about what they did and how it affected you to really be able to forgive. John 8: 32

False Belief

3.    If I forgive them, I will become vulnerable to them again.

True Belief

Just because you forgive them doesn’t mean that they are safe and you must trust them again.  Matthew 18:15-18

False Belief

4.   Me not forgiving them punishes them and is justified because I am right; and they will never see their wrong and repent  if I let go.

True Belief

The truth is, it is Gods mercy and kindness that leads us to repentance. Only He knows what will change them.  Romans 2:4; Ephesians 4:24-32

8.   Forgiveness Prayer:

Now insert the name of the person you have chosen to forgive into the following Forgiveness Prayer. You can say it in your own words just be sure that they include all the elements of this one.

Forgiveness Prayer

Father, Your Word says that in order to be forgiven, I must forgive. And so I come to you in the name of Jesus, in obedience and love, and I bring _______(name) before you. I cancel their debt. I choose to forgive this hurt against me, and I ask that you would not hold this sin against them/him/her on my account. I release _______ from any desire on my part to see them/him/her punished. In fact, as you have told me to do, I bless _______ in Your Son’s name, Jesus. You know _______ desires, needs, and hurts. You know what would bless him/her. And so, I ask that you would pour out Your love and healing to _______ and bring him/her your highest good, because Your name is Love, and You are not willing that any would perish. Now also, Father, please heal my heart and set me free to love _______ as you  do. In Jesus’ name,  AMEN.

9.   The Truth Sets You Free:

Now pray and ask God to show you this person as He sees them. Ask Him to show you what is true. One of His mysteries is that He loves the perpetrator as much as the victim. Write these down.

10.   Pray and see if there is anything He wants you to do to heal the relationship. Meditate on it. If you don’t get anything its okay.

I leave you with this today and pray that you are all free as you walk with Him and grow in truth. Forgiveness is simple but sooo very hard to do. Like the saying “easier said than done” 😉

Here’s a quote from the book The Shack that I think goes right along with my blog today…

“Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat……Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established………Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation………Forgiveness does not excuse anything………You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely.”

Blessings to you all and have an awesome day!


Three Passions

10 thoughts on “Steps To True Forgiveness

  1. Christina, thank you for this wonderful, very comprehensive message on forgiveness. It is both one of the most challenging and most important things we Christians do.

    Forgiveness is central to the purpose of the blood sacrifice of the Son. Without question, this is the most important single event in all of human history.

    Thanks for the pingback. (I gotta learn how to do that!)

    Shalom, Art
    Alive in The Word

    • Thanks Art!
      I went through this very thing just not too long ago thinking I forgave someone but after doing this I had realized I hadn’t. And I started thinking that others need to know about this. The Genesis Process Book 1 group study is awesome! My only recommendation for the group is to split it up to male or female because of some of the things it brings you through, other than that all bets are off LOL.

      have a blessed day in the Lord!


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