Midweek Update (2.17.21): How to Forgive, Ash Wednesday Reminder, and More
How to Forgive Others
On Sunday we continued our message series Becoming a Forgiven and Forgiving Person. We saw that there is transformative power in forgiveness. God’s forgiveness transforms us, enabling us and empowering us to forgive others.
If you missed the message, you can click HERE to watch it.
But in the message I promised to share the 7 Steps to Forgiving others, outlined by Stephen Seamands in his book Wounds that Heal. So, here are those steps:
- Facing the facts—forgiveness begins when we are ruthlessly honest about what was done to us. We don’t cover up what happened, explain it away, blame ourselves or make excuses for the other person. It is important to be specific about the wrong, so your forgiveness can be specific.
- Feeling the hurt—More than just the facts, we must connect with the feelings bound up with the facts—rejection, loneliness, fear, anger, shame, depression. No one wants to reexperience such unpleasant feelings, but doing so is vital.
- Confronting our hate—Forgiveness involves letting go of hatred or resentment toward the persons who have wounded us—we must admit we resent those who wronged us, for a part of us hates them for what they did.
- Bearing the pain—When others wrong us, there is a God-given voice within us that says, “what they did isn’t right and the ought to pay”. When we forgive we don’t ignore the divinely implanted desire for justice—but, instead of achieving justice by insisting the guilty party pay for the wrong, we chose to pay ourselves.
- Releasing those who have wronged us—Forgiving means releasing our offenders and turning them over to God—“I know what they’ve done and I feel the pain of it, but I choose not to be the one who determines what is justice for them.” And this can be so hard because, when we release others to God, we give up control. Important note: Forgiveness doesn’t ignore or set aside the demands for justice. In the case of sexual abuse, forgiving the abuser is not incompatible with exposing or pressing legal charges against him or her. When crimes have been committed, offenders should be turned over to the judicial system. That accountable can be a wakeup call to them about the deep healing they need, and it can protect others from experience the same abuse we’ve experienced.
- Assuming responsibility for ourselves—As long as we blame others for our problems, we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves. By releasing them, we must take responsibility and no longer make excuses for ourselves. We may have been a victim, but we’re not stuck there any longer when we forgive. By taking responsibility for ourselves, we declare that what happened doesn’t define who we are.
- Longing for Reconciliation (more on this point this coming Sunday!)
Forgiving others who have wronged us is never easy. It will take time, and even after we have chosen to forgive them, there may be triggers that cause pain and/or hatred to return. In those moments, it doesn’t mean that the forgiveness we’ve chosen didn’t take, it is just an opportunity to reaffirm our forgiveness of that person. May God help us all become more forgiven and more forgiving people!
Blessings on your week,
How to Participate in Tonight’s Ash Wednesday Service
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent. Lent is an important season in the Christian year in which we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter, through a focused time of repentance–asking for God’s forgiveness and seeking his healing.
This year, we are going to be participating in an Ash Wednesday service through a group called New Room. New Room hosts spiritual renewal events annually in Nashville, TN, and this year they are creating a livestream event for families and churches to participate in on Ash Wednesday.
We will be hosting this Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday, February 17th from 7:00-9:00 PM at the church building, and we will be streaming their event. If you can’t make it in person, or don’t feel comfortable returning in person yet, you can participate in the same service from your home as well.
You can go to either of the links below to participate from home:
We look forward to sharing in this meaningful worship experience together!