FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION
Recall the Hurt
Forgiveness and restoration is difficult but necessary to recall the hurt and important not to minimize or deny your pain. Don’t make excuses for the offender. Do not recall the wrong as a means to “finger point,” but as a way to objectively review what has occurred. Journaling is a great way to work through anger and hurt. It organizes your thoughts and helps you acknowledge the truth in clear black and white. Sometimes writing a letter to the offender is helpful, but don’t mail the letter.
Empathize with the Person
• Write a letter as if you were the offender. You should write about your thoughts, feelings, insights, and pressures. Make this a letter of apology. How difficult is it to do this?
• By placing yourself in the shoes of the person who transgressed, you can begin to understand why the person did what he or she did.
• This does not remove blame from the individual but does serve to show that people who hurt others are often hurting deeply themselves.
Self-Sacrificing Gift of Forgiveness
Human power alone is not sufficient to reach full forgiveness. There is an element of forgiveness that is divine. It cannot be reached without God. Frank Minirth
• Think about the “giving” of forgiveness. Think of a time when you did something wrong and were forgiven. Reflect on the wrongdoing and guilt you experienced. How did it feel to be forgiven? Would you like to give the gift of forgiveness to the person who hurt you?
• Write a blank check of forgiveness. Write in your journal that this day you have released the offender from the debt he or she owes you.
• You may want to write down the offenses the person has done and then write “Canceled” or “Paid in Full” over them. Through this step, also recall the great mercy and grace of God toward you.
Commit Publicly to Forgive
Write a certificate or letter of forgiveness stating that you will no longer ruminate on the wrongs done to you, but don’t send it.
By participating in some outward expression of forgiveness, like mentioned above, you will be more prone to remember that you have forgiven and are thus freed from the plague of unforgiveness.
Hold On to Forgiveness
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. Martin Luther King Jr.
Hold on to forgiveness when doubts arise. There is a difference between remembering a transgression and not being willing to forgive, and remembering it knowing you have forgiven the person.
Let it go—place it far behind you. When Corrie ten Boom (a Nazi concentration camp survivor) was reminded of an offense someone had done to her, she responded, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Though you may never really forget, you can remember that you forgave. A good marriage depends on forgiveness.
Restoration comes when a person admits their sin and turn from the act of continuing to sin. Accepting responsibility for the consequences of their sin has to take place. Facing the truth about what they have done and learn to live with truth as a focus of their life
Reveal the Fruit of Gentleness
When it comes to participating in the restoration of a fallen brother or sister, believers should “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal. 6:1). The biblical balance is gentleness toward the sinner and firmness against the sin. Note the careful warning in that same verse: “considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Believers must be careful because they might be tempted to feel that they are better than the one needing restoration. The sin of pride could leave them in need of restoration themselves.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
When you don’t forgive someone, in some way that person is in jail, and you are the warden. You’re incarcerated, too, because you have to make sure the prisoner stays there. Kerney Franston
God knows every human being inside out. He knows how easy it is for people to become proud, especially when they are used to help another person. Helping others to be restored must never become a source of pride. “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3).
4. Examine Self
Galatians 6:4–5 calls each restorer to “examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” These verses provide important teaching about two very confusing questions. The first question is, Do I have to downplay my ability or deny what God has done through me to avoid the sin of pride? Clearly the answer is no. The text says people should examine their own work, and then they will have rejoicing in themselves alone. Looking carefully inside ourselves can help us understand our weaknesses and vulnerability, even as we also see the abilities God has given us to do what He asks us to do.
The second question, How do I avoid pride if I acknowledge the good I have done? also has a clear answer: Believers must not compare themselves to others. Their concern isn’t whether or not they are better than another person. Their concern should be to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) so that God can continue to show His power in them.
Galatians 6:6 says, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” This verse indicates a partnership between the believer and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit instructs His people; He also produces the blessing that results from our obedient, caring efforts.
One person can forgive, but it takes two to reconcile. Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness, however, does put salve on those who are willing to let go of the hurt and wrongs done by others.
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
When the guilt of past sins weighs us down, we must remember that when we seek forgiveness, God “blots out” our transgressions and forgets our sins.
The idea of blotting out sins is a picture of wiping the slate clean. Whatever sins we have committed, God promises to erase. He knows what we have done but He treats us as though we have never sinned. Because God has forgiven us our sins, we must forgive ourselves.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
To refuse to forgive shows that we have not understood how much God has forgiven us, or have not allowed God’s saving gift to transform us deeply.
But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Jesus stated that God’s forgiveness of us is somehow related to how we forgive others.
When we accept God’s forgiveness of all the wrongs we have done Him, we should be so grateful that we offer willingly the same kind of forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
To refuse to forgive others shows that we do not appreciate the forgiveness God offers us.