Forgive Yourself and Others
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
You know the Bible teaches you to forgive yourself and others, but you may be confused about what it really means and how it works. In fact, Christians often have the following questions about forgiveness:
- If you haven’t forgotten the offense, does it mean you haven’t forgiven it?
- Do you have to forgive immediately when someone hurts you?
- Do you need to forgive over and over again without limits even if the person is continuing to hurt you?
- Do you have to reconcile with the person even if they haven’t changed?
- Do you have to offer the person your complete trust right away?
- Is it sinful and wrong to feel anger toward the person for what they did?
- If you forgive, does it mean you are condoning what the person did and sending the message that it wasn’t that bad?
- Does forgiveness mean you have to let go of any consequences or legalized justice?
- Does the other person have to acknowledge what they did wrong?
You need answers to those questions because you need to know the truth about forgiveness. There is a healthy way to forgive and an unhealthy way to forgive. You need to know how to forgive in a way that brings healing to you and the relationship.
Forgiveness is something God offers to us for our good and wants us to offer to others for our good. Misconceptions about forgiveness can undermine God’s plan, and then it can be used as a means for harm. That wasn’t God’s plan. He asks us to forgive others, even going so far as to say he won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive (Matthew 6:15), but he would never ask us to do something that would harm our relationship, ourselves, or other people. God’s example of forgiveness works only good in our lives—as long as we understand how to do it the right way.
Those of us in difficult relationships often have a harder time forgiving ourselves than others. We have many regrets about our own choices and lives. We beat ourselves up ruthlessly for not doing what we now know we should have done. It is easy to look backward with hindsight and see what you could have done differently, but you didn’t have the same knowledge and awareness back then that you do now. You need to learn how to forgive yourself too.
This powerful Relationship-Changing Principle will teach you how to forgive yourself and others. You don’t have to be chained to the past by hanging onto resentment, bitterness, and regret. You can do what it takes to set yourself free today. Learn how with this Christian relationship help.