The world has much to say about forgiveness, from the Mayo clinic to Oprah. Forgiveness can happen in 6, 12, or 14 steps, depending on which website you look. Positive Psychology defines forgiveness as an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of feelings and thoughts of resentment, bitterness, anger, and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves. Sounds pretty straight forward, so why can it be so hard?
God is good. God desires us to be happy, healthy, joyful, and loving life. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us to help make this beautiful life possible. I am sure we all know those feeling of hurt, anger, sadness, or other negative emotions when someone wrongs us and we haven’t forgiven them (yet). That is normal, but it does not have to stay that way. Change is always hard. We are creatures of comfort, and change is not that. We may even be afraid of change, afraid of forgiving someone, thinking it might result in a negative outcome. That also is normal. Still, change is 100% normal, and part of life. To be afraid of change is akin to being afraid of being human. Fear not! Is one of Jesus’ frequent things to say.
Jesus taught a lot about forgiveness, and it’s a little different than the definition from yesterday. We are going to explore what Jesus had to say about forgiveness in this series, and work through our own feelings towards those who have wronged us. Everyone needs to forgive someone at some time. (I found it easiest to practice on my kids when they were little, because they would so easily forgive me when I yelled at them.)