The Process of Forgiveness
The Process of Forgiveness
Many people get the impression that forgiveness requires a long, drawn out process and cannot take place until healing is complete. I have heard many people say, “I’m moving toward forgiveness,” or “I’m in the process of forgiven” – sometimes after the individual has gone through years of counseling or therapy. There’s no question that for some people, coming to grips with the awful offenses they been forced to endure can require a long journey. The time and the road in order to get to where forgiveness can even be contemplated can be a story within itself.
After watching brothers and sisters in Christ working their way towards forgiveness over a period of years and never seeming to making any progress. I might even go so far as to say that when forgiveness is seen primarily as a work in progress, it seems to be a work without end. We have said many times “forgiveness is a choice” and does not have to involve a long extended process, any more than God’s forgiveness of us is a slow moving unending process – wait and see, not until I’m good and ready for it to occur. I will say that the working of restoration and reconciliation to a broken relationship may extend over a long period of time, requiring a lot more than the hard work of one single prayer or one single decision. You must grow in your understanding of the circumstances that took place, as well as your understanding of God’s ways. The forgiveness in your heart may well go to a greater depth. But with God’s help – God’s grace – you can choose to forgive in a moment of time. This will relieve you of all the closed doors of your unforgiveness. Forgiveness can happen in just one moment of time.
Many books and psychologists tell us that forgiveness is a long and difficult process. We must remember that God’s forgiveness happens in a very short period of time. Healing of the mind, emotions, heart and relationships generally takes time and involves a process of spiritual growth. If we wait to forgive until we are fully restored, we will likely never forgive. Remember in God’s process we are forgiven by God, before we are fully mature as Christians or before we fully understand completely. Just as you were extended God’s grace in a moment of time, you can extend grace to others as a right now expression of your desire. Then you will continue to mature in Christ, and receive the fruits of forgiveness. Your heart grows more kind and tender your words lose their edge of anger. Your responses become less quick and reactionary and more kind and more gentle. You become more like Christ.
Most of us do make forgiveness a process, it is not a process that has to be worked up to, it just happens then it grows on us.