What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, however, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.

The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased.

How to forgive someone:

Remember what forgiveness involves. You are not condoning the wrong or acting as if it never happened​—you are simply letting it go.

Recognize the benefits of forgiving. Letting go of anger and resentment can help you to keep calm, improve your health, and increase your happiness. (Proverbs 14:30; Matthew 5:9) Even more important, forgiving others is a key to receiving God’s forgiveness for your own sins.​—Matthew 6:​14, 15.

Be empathetic. All of us are imperfect. (James 3:2) Just as we appreciate being forgiven, we should likewise forgive the mistakes of others.​—Matthew 7:​12.

Be reasonable. When we have a minor cause for complaint, we can apply the Bible’s counsel: “Continue putting up with one another.”​—Colossians 3:​13.

Act quickly. Work to forgive as soon as you can rather than letting your anger fester.​—Ephesians 4:​26, 27.

If you have any questions please e-mail me at gerald@acourseinforgiveness.co.za.

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