How Do We Forgive?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

We believe from the heart. And so, we need to forgive from that place of the heart where we have our belief system.
Janet Keller Richards


How do we forgive, especially when we really have felt betrayed, we have felt double-crossed, we have really been hurt by deep sins of other people? How do we forgive?

There are two aspects of forgiveness that are really needed. Let’s just give the example of when we grow up. When we’re in a family that’s not healthy, a family where the parents use dysfunctional tools, they don’t know that they are meant as the adults in our lives to be encouragers, to speak words of blessing. They don’t have those tools in their parental pockets. Instead, they do things like they curse us or they condemn us, or they insult us. Or they don’t use tools of comfort and affection. They don’t know that it’s their job to help us know our identity as a daughter or a son, but instead, they lash out in anger or they control us, or they intimidate us or threaten us. Or worse, they harm us with their hands and they use their physical body to bring pain and to inflict harm. Or when they discipline us, they use punishment instead of using discipline to train us in love.

When parents respond in ways that are not godly, children don’t have the ability to reason. And what happens is we often take that blame ourselves. We often feel like we aren’t enough or we did something bad or we’re wrong, and we move into self-rejection or condemnation. But part of the journey of healing our hearts with people that have sinned against us, is to forgive. So, for example, with a dad who was angry, how do we forgive?  Two aspects. One, we forgive what was done against us.  And the second aspect is we forgive the needs that they didn’t meet that they should have met.

So here’s an example. I’m just going to actually demonstrate an example for you of forgiving a sin that was done against you. So I’m using the example of a dad. Dad, I forgive you, that you raged against me and that you were scary, and that instead of protecting me, you were the one that harmed me. Dad, I forgive you, that your voice was threatening and I didn’t feel safe with you. Dad, I forgive you that your voice sounded angry and sounded mean instead of being a father who encouraged and loved.  So that’s just a short example of sins done against. What did they do against you?

Now, here’s one of forgiving sins where they didn’t meet your needs. Dad, I forgive you that you didn’t pull me into your arms and that your arms weren’t a safe place to receive hugs. I forgive you that you used your hands for harm instead of your hands being safe and loving with a healthy touch. Dad, I forgive you that you didn’t help me know who I am by speaking life to me, that you didn’t bless me as fathers should, but you cursed me. Dad, I forgive you that you did not meet my needs as a loving father, as a father who cares and builds identity in their child. So that’s an example of how to forgive from the heart. The Bible says Romans 10:9 says that it’s what we believe from the heart. We believe from the heart. And so, we need to forgive from that place of the heart where we have our belief system.

So, Lord, for this one who may have had something come up in their thoughts in forgiveness, I ask that you would strengthen them to forgive. And if they need help, that you would lead them to a person who is safe, that can help them go deep in forgiveness. I ask you to come alongside and to show them the way to forgive deeply from the heart, and that you would bless them as a daughter or son. In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.