Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are those who are merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And, Matthew 5:9, ” Blessed are those who are peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
We’ve just completed Father’s Day, a wonderful day for most, but a tough day for many. All father/child relationships aren’t great. Maybe it’s time to do something about that and any other relationships that are painfully broken. We can only do our part, but we can at least do that.
REPAIRING RELATIONSHIPS BY FORGIVING THOSE WHO’VE HURT YOU There are at least three reasons, and they all benefit YOU!
Because God Has Forgiven You. People that feel forgiven have an easier time forgiving.
Because Resentment Doesn’t Work! Holding on to resentment is unreasonable, unhelpful and unhealthy. You are hurting yourself with your anger. You are drinking the poison and expecting someone else to die. It is unhealthy to have a bitter heart. It takes the joy out of life, adds stress and lets you sit in misery. It’s an emotional poison with physical consequences. Bitterness and Resentment drains you physically and emotionally leading to depression, stress and fatigue.
Because You’ll Need Forgiveness In The Future! Resentment blocks you from God’s Forgiveness. When we say the Our Father, we are telling God that we are forgiving those that have hurt us! The Our Father directs us to forgive others that have trespassed against us. When we forgive others, the Spiritual Event of forgiveness spills all over us! We are asking God’s forgiveness of our sins as we forgive those who sin against us! Are we misleading God?
HOW DO YOU FORGIVE OTHERS? Reveal, Release and Replace!
REVEAL YOUR HURT! We tend to repress our hurts, ignore our hurts, or suppress them [push them down]. You get over the hurt when you admit the pain! Remember there is no closure without disclosure. Your pain and hurt has to be revealed to you! You cannot forgive a hurt that you are denying or repressing.
RELEASE THE OFFENDER! How does this work? When do I release the offender? You do it now, you don’t wait for the offender to ask for forgiveness. How often do I have to do it? “…Jesus replied, “seventy (70) times seven…”, or 7 to the 70th power, or infinity. It is continual, not a one shot deal. You know when you have released the offender when you think about them, and your thoughts don’t hurt you anymore. Always remember, … “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE'”. Pray for God’s Blessings on the offender. Remember also, it is not always wise to release the offender face to face. Some times it is not even possible as the offender is deceased, or you cannot find them.
REPLACE YOUR HURT WITH GOD’S PEACE. We learn to relax and let God settle the score with the offender. We all will stand in His Judgment. You get to choose what rules your heart. You can chose the misery of unforgiveness, or the peace that passes all understanding that Christ gives to us. Your Choice!
When you forgive those who have hurt you, God is free to do the needed repairs in your heart.
REPAIRING RELATIONSHIPS BY MAKING AMENDS TO THOSE YOU’VE HURT.
Now we move from the 1st step of forgiveness to the next step of making amends. Why and How do we make amends:
WHY?: The root of our problems are unresolved relationships. We have to deal with them, or you will not recover! Making amends is working for peace! “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Proverbs 27:17. MAKE PEACE!
HOW? 1. Make a List of Those You’ve Harmed and What You Did! Just write down the names and harm. Don’t worry about the how-to yet. 2. Think about How You’d Like Someone to Make Amends to You.
Timing: There are right times and wrong times. You time it in their best interest. Not right before going to bed or when they are hurrying to do something else. Make an appointment if you can.
Attitude: Do it privately. Just humbly acknowledge your part in the problem, no justification, no excuses. Your clearing up your part of the ledger, your side of the street. Do it without expectations. Don’t expect anything back. Remember the actual Heart Change is about you, not them. You doing what is right.
Appropriateness: Consider the situation. If you are doing more harm to them, others or yourself, is it wise to try to make this amends?
Restitution: Make it where ever it is possible. It gives you freedom and confidence, even if it takes a long time. Also, some restitution can never be made. Therefore, a sincere apology is a good amends.
REFOCUS YOUR LIFE. Live in the moment. Live Today! You can refocus your life on doing God’s will in all your relationships! By making the choice of forgiving others that have hurt you and making the amends to those you have hurt, God begins to recycle the relationship garbage of your life and use it for good. The book of Job tells us “Put your heart right….Reach Out to God….then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.” Job 11:13-16.