Forgiveness is an action that needs to be taken. “An eye for an eye” isn’t an act of forgiveness, it’s, revenge.
Forgiveness is man-made because Jesus, the man from Nazarene, taught us to turn the other cheek.
Forgiveness is an act of kindness. It is an act of being selfless, to not take offence. That is easier said than done. After all, as they say, we are only human. Once, when invited to a book launch at our local library I saw a book, promoted by the author himself, with an intriguing title, ‘I’m only human is no excuse’.
However, we let our emotions get in the way of focusing on the facts, and we react too hastily. Most of our grandparents and their parents have always said: ‘Count to ten before you react’. I add ‘Take a deep breath, then, respond, walking away is also a response.’
Forgiveness is not an emotion. It surely is because of emotions. How you respond to the unkindness of another will depend on your own emotional maturity and your strength in Christ. Best is to, then and there pray a silent prayer: ‘Father I choose to forgive him/her. I choose to forgive myself and let the matter go. It is now in Your Hands’. Then you do just that, let it go.
As the Father (through the teachings of Jesus Christ) has said: (paraphrased) I can only forgive you, when you have forgiven yourself; and others (Mark 11v25*). And, as you can see from that verse it works in a triangle. We believe in a Trinity God. See forgiveness as a triangle, connecting with the three corners, both ways. Furthermore Jesus can turn the error (sin) around to become a blessing for both. Forgiveness and the act of forgiving becomes a matter of: ‘To forgive is to overlook’. That is what Jesus had done for us. But first we have to acknowledge, see the error and learn from it. Jesus is the Great Guy who then overlooks the error.
Forgiveness is a choice and requires action on our part. What do you need to forgive? A wrong doing, a word, a practical joke, Etc. How do you know you need to forgive someone? When you feel bad and or guilty about how you have treated a person, or have said something unkind. Why? Why…, so that your trespasses will be forgiven you (Mark 11v26), and to live a good and fruitful life.
Furthermore, un-forgiveness and living a life with an unforgiving attitude and or spirit, is an ugliness that develops, takes momentum and grows roots. It has the same effect as the limbs of an octopus, which is a predator, with all the suckers intact and active, seeking, lurking.
Whom do you need to forgive? Yourself, and the recipient of your ill manners, unkindness, lies, or bad joke Etc.
When do you need to forgive? The moment you realise your wrong doing (error/sin/trespass) you need to take ACTION.
How do you do forgiveness? By bringing the error or trespass into the open, into the Light. Acknowledging, and admitting, the error is crucial as it brings you further in the path of redemption, and blessings, keeping you there. Discuss it with a person whom you can trust. It could be a counsellor, pastor, mentor, your parents, the person involved, and others where applicable. If possible, have a neutral person present. Do what you have to do. You or the counsellor or pastor will be led by the Holy Spirit through prayer.
Where? The discussion should take place, preferably, in a safe and neutral environment. It can be at the office of a Christian counsellor or of a pastor, your mentor at school or at church. It can also be at the home of the other person or your parents’ home with them being present.
When is it not necessary to reach out in forgiveness? When you can truly and unaffectedly turn the other cheek, no offence has been taken. Walk away, never to think about it again. Whatever has happened or words spoken will not bother you. It will be of no consequence to you now or ever, even if you have been the recipient of being ill-treated.
My experience of life has taught me there are very few people who can truly do that. I commend them, however for the rest of us we have to take the necessary action to forgive someone and to be forgiven.
As a re-born in Christ person we live in times of love, respect, loyalty and steadfastness. First, forgive yourself, then your family, your friends, colleagues and all other people. Let it become a lifestyle.
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25)
By Susara A Botes
Susara was born and bred in a country town in South Africa. She has done Christian counselling courses, loves writing and have been writing on and off for years. She writes as directed by God, mainly for the one person in whose life the words deliver a message, makes a difference, or answers a question. She collects books, the older the better and pencils made of wood. Currently, she resides in Pretoria, South Africa.