Forgiving others in our lives is very important for us despite the inner wounds that are caused by them. We are all created in the image and likeness of God, and he has created us to love others. The most significant example of forgiving one’s brothers is in the Old Testament when Joseph forgives his brothers even after they sold him into slavery to the Egyptians. (Genesis 45:1-15). When we are wronged, we can either respond by seeking revenge or we can choose to forgive. If we choose revenge, our lives will be consumed by anger, self-pity and hatred. When vengeance is sought, it still leaves one unsatisfied and empty for one cannot recover a lost friendship or relationship or a lost loved one. However, forgiveness allows us to shift our focus from an individual and move on. Eventually, it bestows us with inner peace within our hearts. Forgiving others is rewarding to the person who does so, and even to the one who receives forgiveness. It can also set a chain of positive events for him/her to do the same to others.
Forgiveness through the power of the cross and by imitating the love of Jesus
Often due to the lack of personal communication or not being to meet the person after a broken relationship (in families, extended families, friends or a broken relationship with a loved one), one may not be able to reconcile with that person. It may cause unforgiveness to remain in an individual that often spews into self-pity, anger & hatred. This can occur at different times without the individual being aware of it. Healing that memory may be very difficult at times as it keeps seeping into our minds. It is in these times we need to remember while on the cross, Jesus asked God to forgive mankind because He knew that they had been blinded by their sinful ways.
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
I was healed from the wounds of unforgiveness towards a group of people that had hurt me in the past by sincerely applying the below steps through prayer. The stepwise power of forgiveness by the power of the cross breaks the bondage and the blindness of sin from our hearts and lives. Remember Jesus’ words in the last supper,
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
Below, is a step by step method of forgiving a person who may have wronged you or hurt you. It was shared a few years ago to me by a priest. It should be done in a quiet place suitable for prayer without any distractions.
Step 1: A silent prayer, “Lord grant me the grace to forgive whom you want me to forgive”. Make a written note of the people you need to forgive as God reveals it to you after this prayer. Keep repeating this prayer until you have made a note of those names.
Step 2: Bring the person to your visual imagination and talk to the person loud enough only for you to hear it. Tell that person all the hatred, resentment for that incident you felt for that person for that specific incident. Take only one incident if there is more than one incident. Repeat these words “With the love of Jesus in my heart, I want to forgive you completely”. Keep on repeating these words until you find no negative emotions (anger or hatred) towards that person while repeating these words and until you have forgiven the person completely.
Step 3: This is a step that requires more prayer and contemplation. There is a lot of power and grace given by the Holy Spirit which is beyond our imagination when we imagine positive things from others. Imagine yourself listening to the other person responding back positively accepting your words and also forgiving you if there was any hurt you caused him/her. Let it be as an experience of the other person talking to you. Repeat Step2 to Step3 if there is more than one event by that same person that you may have unforgiveness towards that person.
Step 4: Imagine Jesus on the cross and place all the hurt that exists because of those events at the feet of Jesus. Remember the Lord’s Prayer if you experience any reluctance to do this step. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Step 5: Pray until you can hold a positive image an experience of Jesus holding hands of both of you’ll together with him in His love.
I will be adding another step which is the most important step and can be done at any time of the day and does not require a serene and quiet moment. I was inspired to add this step when I heard this step in teaching in our community. The next step requires humility and sincerity from your heart to love and forgive that person that may have hurt you at all times and not just in church or in a serene and quiet environment. In turn, God will free you from the grace of unforgiveness and bless you with inner peace. Also, in turn, God may even be changing that person, for him not to repeat that action in person with you or anyone else in the future.
Step 6: Pray that God may bless that person, his/her family, and friends and bring them close to God. Practice this step whenever that wound comes unconsciously by your memory, when you are in the midst of an activity, and cannot immediately go to a quiet and serene environment to practice Steps 1 to Step 5. Step 6 is a continuous process and should be done until the memory stops seeping into your mind.
Unforgiveness can be conquered through prayer and discipline in following all these six steps with humility and perseverance. Strength from the Holy Spirit will be always given to a sincere heart. In due course of time, I was healed by Jesus from the state of unforgiveness towards that group of people who had hurt me in the past and had interfered in my personal life. I strongly believe once you have opened yourself to the Divine by imitating the love of Jesus and following these steps of forgiveness you will be rewarded with the fruit of the love, joy, and peace of Christ.