The most difficult part of forgiveness for most people is letting go of the anger. Especially when the person who has hurt you denies that they have done anything wrong.
Perhaps they have repeatedly hurt you. Maybe they broke your trust. Perhaps they even found pleasure in wounding you.
You likely feel justified to stew in your anger. Who wouldn’t? It’s a natural instinct to want justice. But if you are following God you might feel torn. On one hand you feel that if you forgive this person it’s like you’re saying, “It’s OK what you did to me.” On the other hand, perhaps you recall Romans 12:19, which says:
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
But how do you give your righteous anger to God and forgive someone who absolutely doesn’t deserve it?
There are some important steps you will need to take to reach the sweet relief of forgiveness.
Remember you don’t deserve it.
One of my biggest struggles when I am fighting for my own rights is that I feel I deserve justice. And of course that justice should fall on the other person, not me. But then I remind myself of all of the things that God forgave me for when I certainly didn’t deserve it. That’s enough to put my arrogance back in check.
Own your feelings.
Before you jump to righteous indignation, take a moment to assess your other feelings. Anger is likely the most noticeable one, but there are others as well. It’s those deeper feelings that you’ll want to identify, because they reveal what is truly going on inside of you (you know, those old triggers that you thought were buried). Take THOSE feelings plus your anger to the cross. And just remember to leave them there.
Let them off the hook.
No, I’m not saying that what they did to you was OK, but by keeping them on your hook, God cannot bring justice to your situation. I realize it’s hard, but when you take them off of your hook, God can now place them on His hook. And trust me, my friend, God can pay back better than you ever could.
Shift your focus.
The enemy would love nothing more than to keep your mind off of God’s mighty plan for your life and on the offense. Unforgiveness keeps you trapped in small thinking. And it grows into a monster until it consumes every inch of thought you have. My friend, you have an amazing God given purpose. Don’t let the enemy steal that from you by allowing him to steal your focus.
Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. It cuts you free from the bondage with the toxic person who infected you and sets you free to live the life God created for you.
I pray that you may be free today, in Jesus’ name
In the mean time, grab your FREE Toxic People Survival Guide to help you identify and deal with difficult people.