Forgiveness is something I have learnt and re-learnt over the years, but each and every time the lesson is the same: Stop seeing the pain they caused you and instead see them as a child of God. I don’t know what it is but that truth changes my thoughts towards whoever has hurt me – no longer do I see them as a wicked, selfish, liar or whatever, I now see them as God’s child who like me does wrong and like me needs saving.
It’s often felt that forgiveness is a feeling, something you’re able to do when you’re no longer hurting or when the offender has apologised, but it’s really not. It’s more of a decision we make amidst what we’re feeling or regardless of an apology. Forgiveness is an eye transplant – it’s no longer seeing the offender through what we feel but instead seeing them as God sees them.
A few weeks ago God revealed to me that I had quite a bit of unforgiveness in my heart and, to be honest, as I write this He’s reminding me that I still do! Being the loving and patient Teacher that He is, He guided me in writing this:
To forgive doesn’t mean what ____ did was okay. It means that I’m not going to hold _____ sin against him/her. I’m not going to condemn _____ for what he/she did or allow it to be all that I see when I see or think of him/her. Instead, I choose to see _____ as Your son/daughter, someone You love and someone who needs You just as much as I do.
If unforgiveness is something you’re dealing with I suggest filling in the blanks with the offender’s name. If by the chance that you’re struggling to forgive yourself for something you’ve done can I just remind you of your identity – God’s beloved child. When you think of yourself remember that and also try putting your name in the above blanks.