Forgiving someone who has offended us is one of the hardest things most Christians face as the pursue living as Christ would have them live. It is in my life and as I look around the Body of Christ there often seems to be an epidemic of unforgiveness. People carry grudges that turn into bitterness and move from church to church to no longer fellowship with someone who has offended them. That’s not Christ’s best for any of us or for the Body of Christ as a whole.

Understandably, forgiving an offense is a difficult thing, especially a large offense. When we choose to live with unforgiveness, however, we leave a huge door open for the enemy. Here are ten specific actions you can take to help you journey toward forgiveness.

  1. Work at being unoffendable. In other words, don’t take offense in the first place. This is largely a change of perspective – to honor others more and extend more grace. Someone disagreeing with you is never a reason to take offense. Someone slighting you isn’t a reason to take offense. (You’ll find that most of the time the slight was imagined or unintended.)
  2. When you are offended, make the decision to forgive. If you don’t make a decision to forgive, it will never happen. A grudge will grow without you feeding it. (Satan will do that for you.) Forgiveness rarely does.
  3. Refuse to relive the offense in your mind.
  4. Pray blessings for the person who has offended you. It’s difficult to hate someone you are praying for.
  5. Ask God to change your heart. Don’t try to forgive in your own strength.
  6. Remember and acknowledge good things the person has done. (If you can’t think of any, ask God to reveal them.)
  7. Ask God to reveal your part in the offense. Often we are not free from sin in the situation that lead to the offense.
  8. Remember, God is working on that person, just as He is working on you. He will use all situations for good for those who continue to pursue Him.
  9. Give yourself some breathing room. The greater the offense, the more challenging it may be to forgive. Don’t condemn yourself because you don’t feel as close to your offender as you once did. Just as wounded parts of our body need time to heal, our hearts also need time to heal. Stick with your decision to forgive and continue praying for the offender.
  10. Keep at it. Don’t give up because you don’t feel forgiveness as soon as you think you should. Continue pursuing God and working at forgiving your offender.

Forgiving someone is easier when you don’t have misconceptions about what forgiveness means. That’s the subject of tomorrow’s blog.

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