Don’t let anyone tell you being a Christian is easy, or a crutch.
When you come to Christ, you come with all of yourself, surrendering everything to Jesus. And that’s not easy, because “I want what I want.” But in the surrender, you lay down your “wants.”
And one of those wants is the ability to be judge and to hold onto anger when we’ve been wronged. “I deserve to be angry! I will not forgive! They don’t deserve to be forgiven!”
As someone who has wronged others and has been wronged in deeply painful ways, I offer you 5 ways to forgive when it feels unfair. These helped me, perhaps they’ll help you, too.
1. Trust God with the Person and the Situation
Say to God, “Lord, I feel like this situation is so unfair and I feel so wronged and I don’t know what to do with it, but I trust that you do know what to do with it. You know me, you know them, and you see all the things I don’t. Plus, I know you love me and have my back (as well as their’s), so here you go God, it’s all yours.” In other words, trust God with the person and the situation.
2. Nobody Gets a Free Pass at the Pain of Life
Would you agree that life is hard? It is, and the fact is, nobody gets a free pass to skip the battle, not even the person who wronged you. When I remember that truth, that everyone is facing a hard battle, I can have compassion for the person who wronged me. Also? Think about all the times I have wronged someone. Yeah, that helps me to be more compassionate as well.
3. Do I Need to Be Forgiven?
Is there something I have done that I should ask forgiveness for with the person who wronged me? Ask it. And ask without the expectation that you will be asked for forgiveness in return. Free and clear, ask genuinely; ask God to show you where you may have gone wrong or offended.
4. Choose to Be a Person of the Light
The enemy wants nothing more than to keep you in the dark – seething, feeling vengeful, getting worked up, having a major lack of peace – he wants you far away from forgiveness, because forgiveness shines blindingly, beautifully bright.
5. Release the person to God.
When you forgive someone, you are not forgiving the sin they committed against you, you are forgiving the person who sinned against you. This is an important distinction. The sin does not get forgiveness. The sin is wrong, and you are right to hate it. In fact, to hate evil is to fear God. So when you forgive, you are not saying you’re okay with evil or sin, and in fact, you can hate the offense or evil that was brought to you.
What you cannot do is hate the person. What you must do is forgive them.
If you’ve had evil committed against you, not hating them and even forgiving feels impossible. But remember, you are not excusing the sin or saying it’s okay. You hate it. You are choosing to forgive the person. And when you do, you will be free, free to deal with the effects of the sin and free to live your life without the rage and bitterness you carry. You are releasing that person to God. You will hold them and their sin no longer. They are not your responsibility and they will no longer steal your joy.
You will be free.
Because you have chosen to obey Jesus and trust Him when He tells you to forgive. Let Him handle the rest; let Him handle the person and their offense.
You go free.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that…” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes