By Keila Blake
“Forgiveness is a response you can make when someone hurts you.” Fisher Humphreys statement statically hung in the air as the last of the participants came flooding in to fill up the remainder of the seats. Forgiveness is something we all endure on both ends of the spectrum in our lifetime. Without proper care, many can go around with open wounds carrying around the pain that people unfairly inflict. It can only be presumed that the topic of forgiveness is a subject matter that is generally swept under the rug.
The stories in the Bible that Jesus taught on forgiveness, such as the story of the prodigal son and Jesus’ reply to Peter in Matthew 18 forgiving “seventy times seven” (NKJV) serve as great models for approaching forgiveness. But how often do we actually apply these measures to our everyday lives? Of course, forgiveness is only even more excruciatingly painful when the person who hurt you is a loved one or known individual.
In his workshop, Forgiveness, Fisher Humphreys taught us that forgiveness has two dimensions: God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of each other. “When people hurt us and we don’t deserve it, we naturally become angry and want to retaliate. That is when we need to forgive,” stated Humphreys. At times, the person we need to forgive is ourselves. If not, we reap boundless seeds of destructive guilt and shame. It is not enough to believe God has forgiven us, we must believe it deep down in our soul.
Often not, we may hear the so-called Christian phrase “forgive and forget.” Yet, Fisher directed against through the following phrase, “Forgetting is not the point, the point is to forgive. The point is to remember so you can forgive.” Sometimes this may mean we have to forgive those who have hurt us indirectly. In our attempts of forgiveness, we must seek to understand the person who hurt us. This does not allow room to excuse the person. Humphreys indicated “many Christians believe the concept of forgiveness also means accepting any abuse that comes their way.” Jesus does not call us to accept abuse of any sort. Instead, Humphreys advised we must get out of harm’s way if this is the case.
Forgiveness has an important role to play in our lives.There is freedom and healing found in forgiveness. We must embrace the same concept of love in forgiving others that God has so freely shown us. As individuals, we must remember that God has forgiven us, and He did so at a great cost. Humphrey’s six steps to forgiveness allows us to reflect on committing to forgiving and thinking about who we are forgiving.
Six Steps to Forgiveness:
- Name the person who hurt you and whom you need to forgive, as well as the actions that were taken that hurt you. You can not forgive generically.
- Do not mentally replay the scene of the hurt. If you cannot stop talking or thinking about the painful experience, seek help from a counselor.
- Pray and ask God for help. Ask God to help you forgive them.
- Pray for the person you are forgiving.
- Be patient. It takes time to forgive someone. You do not have to forgive them today. It’s a process.
Forgiveness is indispensable. We must learn to forgive if we are to thrive and flourish. When we love God and love others, it can change the world. Thanks be to God who always leads us.
Keila Blake is a CBF Leadership Scholar, and is currently pursuing a dual degree in Music and Theology from Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, TX. She is originally from Sugar Land, Texas and currently attends FBC Castroville while finishing up her studies in the San Antonio area.