How to Forgive? It’s Hard, And It’s for You

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22). Wow, that’s a heavy burden. From our human perspective, it just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Someone sins against you 77 times, and Jesus tells you to forgive them every time. On the surface it might seem unreasonable, yet when Jesus commands this, He’s looking out for YOUR best interest.

Forgiveness: It’s Your Gift

When you deeply explore the “why” behind Matthew 18: 21-22, you’ll come to realize the benefit isn’t for the person receiving forgiveness but for you. Forgiveness doesn’t help the sinner; instead, it helps the one who was sinned against. When you hold onto your pain, it only hurts you. Jesus wants you to be free from the hurt, so he is commanding you to forgive as many times as is necessary so that you can be set free.

Why Forgive

Why Forgive? We forgive to be MOST like Jesus. His last and most important human act was to be the sacrificial lamb and take our sin when we stand before God in judgment. Forgiveness can be challenging, especially when those, who’ve sinned against us, won’t even ask for it. How can we more easily forgive and set ourselves free of our hurt?

Forgiveness is not dependent in any way on another person. You are 100% in control. Forgiveness is not predicated on whether someone asks for forgiveness. Your forgiveness is simply a choice that releases your pain—an intentional surrender to your own negative emotions and hurt.

Setting the Stage for Forgiveness: Your Belief System

Forgiveness comes more easily when you believe the 4 following truths:

  1. You are 100% responsible for what you think, say, and do. When you make excuses, blame, and criticize, what you’re saying is there’s something better that you’re not willing to go after. That “better” may be forgiveness.
  2. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and not the other person. Are there times you tell someone you forgive them, but you still feel hurt. Why? Because forgiveness is not something that you give someone, it’s something you give yourself.
  3. Forgiveness sets you free. Give yourself permission to let it go, because it doesn’t serve you a useful purpose.
  4. Forgiveness allows you to get closer to God. When you’re obedient to God’s commands, you are drawn closer to Him. You achieve a higher spiritual position than before.

Steps to Forgive Those Who Hurt You

Step 1: Align your belief system with the 4 mindset principles. Have the right mindset toward forgiveness.

Step 2: Ask God to help you maintain a forgiving mindset

Step 3: Confess your sin of unforgiveness up until that point. Yes, you are a sinner of unforgiveness.

Step 4: Speak aloud your forgiveness of the person by specifically naming the behavior, and then speak blessings over the other person who has sinned against you.

Step 5: Remind yourself that this is a journey and give yourself a pat-on-the-back that you’re moving in a positive direction

Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries

Honoring God with a spirit of forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to continually expose ourselves to negative people and situations and a cycle of repeated forgiveness. Neither are we to shelter. We are to be in the world sharing the Gospel, and when we do, we will be exposed to those who will hurt us. Consider establishing healthy personal boundaries that help safeguard you physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you have the mind and spirit to bring Kingdom to earth.

Scriptures to Pray On

  1. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  2. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
  3. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
  4. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
  5. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
  6. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to sever times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What Color Was Jesus?

blackjesus_smallDo you know the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). I imagine that Jesus is now shaking his head back and forth from his throne in heaven, watching the world come under one world order with the gnashing of teeth, destruction, rampant fear, and anger. Countries are merging into global communities through the events spilled forth from the COVID-19 epidemic and the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, the behaviors of too many people have been less than virtuous: rioting, looting, destruction of property, name-calling, and even what some label as justified murder of police and bystanders.

When I posted on social media that rioting polarizes people and protesting starts the conversation, an acquaintance replied that years of black oppression warranted a few days of cathartic outrage. I guess that quite simply captures what we are feeling and seeing by many in our cities and propagated in our media.

The country has moved from the acceptance of vandalism and desecration of our historical monuments to now encouraging the destruction of all white images of Jesus, because they supposedly represent the works of white supremacy. God helps us! I want to scream, “Stop the insanity! This is ridiculous.”

Scripture states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female.” (Genesis 1:27). Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus, the son of God, represents the image of God on earth for all men and women. What does this mean for us mere mortals? What does Jesus look like in appearance? He’s the image that we carry of Him in our hearts and minds. We are free to create in imagery what we believe Jesus looks like, and not surprisingly, I would bet that each person paints Jesus’ color near their own skin likeness.

I’ve traveled the world and seen Jesus portrayed in paintings, postcards, and places of worship in every shade of skin color. Am I offended by any of these portraits? Absolutely not. I’m just grateful that Jesus has a presence in that community and that people have found a personal savior in Jesus Christ.

So, what color was Jesus? Jesus was all colors. If you’re in favor of ripping white Jesus from the walls, don’t be fooled into thinking you are taring down white supremacy. Jesus was all colors to all men, including white men. Jesus was the lover of the lepers, the healer of the cripples, friends of the criminals, and champions of the outcast. When you defile white Jesus, you are dishonoring what Jesus stands for: love, kindness, compassion, humility, and justice. When you desecrate Jesus in any color, your behaviors ultimately reflect religious bigotry.

For Christians who carry Jesus in their hearts, I believe it hurts us deeply to see our personal savior desecrated, defiled, and pulled off the cross. I can only imagine that we’re getting a small taste of what Jesus experienced during his many hours of crucifixion. Imagine the pain he experienced as he took on the burdens, sufferings, and sins of mankind. He suffered deeply, and we, as Christians, are now suffering. What shall we do with this pain?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin, who help couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. She customizes a relationship journey tailored based on curriculum from their own content, Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com