What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

If there is one thing that all humans have in common is that at one time or another, we’ve all been hurt by someone or have hurt someone else. As easy as it is to justify our anger and remain hurt by the person, there is freedom to be found in true forgiveness.

What does unforgiveness do?

Many people ruin their health and themselves by allowing unforgiveness to poison their lives with bitterness and resentment. These feelings are crippling and end up hurting the person harboring the unforgiveness more.

Don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is not always easy. We all have our reasons for holding on to our past hurts. What I’m talking about is those hurts that hold you captive and have created a hardness inside of you.

What does true forgiveness look like?

In Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Languages of Apology, he explains that the word forgiveness means, “to cover; to take away; to pardon; and to be gracious to.” He explains that forgiveness is best understood when looking at the relationship between God and man. God has forgiven us our wrongs, therefore removing the distance or barrier and allowing for a close relationship. This is the same in human relationships; forgiveness means that we pardon the offender and welcome the offender back into our life, if possible. He states that “forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision” (Chapman, 139). Forgiveness frees us from taking justice into our own hands and allows us to move past the hurt. True forgiveness, over time, takes away our bitterness, our anxiety, and our sadness over the situation and sets us free from developing a hardened heart. It allows for true healing to take place.

If you’re wondering if there is unforgiveness in your heart, take time to meditate on your relationships and make the choice to set yourself free by forgiving whatever hurt was committed. This is not only the beginning to healing your relationships, but also healing yourself.

How to Forgive:

Decide- Forgiveness is a choice, you will never do it unless you choose to do so.

Take Action- If you are a person of faith, pray for your “enemy”. If necessary, tell the person that you forgive them. If it is not appropriate to tell them, then in your heart make that choice to forgive.

When you feel unforgiveness creeping back into your heart, try to speak blessings, not curses over the person. This will keep bitterness and resentment away.

When possible…forgive.

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