Has anyone ever hurt you? Has anyone ever said something to you that just turned your life upside down? Have you been hurting, and not understanding why you can’t move on?

This is truly one of the hardest things to do when you have been hurt. How do I forgive them for doing this to me? I find myself in this place right now. How do i forgive someone for hurting me so bad?

Forgiving others is a prerequisite for our own forgiveness.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6: 14-15).

This is a difficult verse to process. God stands ready and willing to forgive us, but asks that we extend the same forgiveness to others first. If we have resentment and bitterness in our hearts, it’s time to give it over to God. Let Him heal us and give us the ability to forgive. Our eternity is dependent on it.

We owe forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it.

There are numerous examples that charge us to forgive others, even when they don’t deserve it. In addition to this example of Stephen, I think about Jesus on the cross in the midst of his executioners: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Every time I find myself having trouble extending forgiveness to someone I’ve deemed undeserving, I think about how unworthy I am of forgiveness. Yet, God saw fit to love me and forgive me.

We owe others an unlimited amount of forgiveness.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18: 21-22).

Forgiving is hard, but doing it over and over again can seem impossible. But, with God, anything is possible. Jesus is clear in this passage that there is no “final straw” that warrants us withholding our forgiveness. God doesn’t have a “final straw” for us. To be clear, this doesn’t mean allowing others to take advantage of your forgiveness. God also gave us the ability to be reasonable and make smart choices with our lives. Holding on to resentment only takes our joy, while doing no harm to the other party. We should forgive repeatedly because God commands it and He knows what’s best for our lives.

There are consequences for choosing not to forgive.

And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18: 34-35).

God takes forgiveness seriously, and this parable is proof. If we don’t forgive others, there are consequences – eternal consequences! That’s a scary thing, and it challenges me to evaluate my own heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23).

If forgiveness is needed, today is the day to make it right.

Jesus, our ultimate example, practiced forgiveness

What I do know is this: Jesus calls us to examine our own lives first instead of focusing on the actions of another. It’s easier to forgive others when we have a understanding of our own shortcomings. Jesus forgives the woman, and lovingly encourages her to change her ways: “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Our challenge is to follow Jesus’s example and do the same.

God gives us the ability to forgive others.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Forgiving can be one of the hardest things that God requires of us. But, the good news is He doesn’t command it of us and then leave us to do it on our own. He gives us Jesus as an example. And, He gives us the power, through the Holy Spirit.

After forgiveness, comes love – even if forgetting isn’t possible.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Sometimes things happen in our lives that we just cannot forget, even if we are able to forgive. While we may not be able to erase our memory, we do have control over our actions. We can love those who have wronged us after we forgive them. It’s hard to harbor ill will toward those we actively serve, love and pray for.

How can I help her? It can’t be hopeless. Is there an answer?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, there’s an answer.”

I said, “I knew it! What’s the answer?”

I was totally surprised. He said, “Forgiveness.”

That stopped me short. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I said, “No way! Are you sure, Lord? It doesn’t seem like forgiveness will help her get over everything that’s happened.”

And then the Lord told me something that I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Forgiveness is how my relationship started with you.”

Wow, that’s something to think, isn’t it!

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