Forgiveness can be a daunting process. It is filled with emotional responses and mental gymnastics even when being led by the Holy Spirit who will eventually bring healing from the inside-out. Even though sanctification belongs to the Holy Spirit, He requires effort and cooperation on our part. We have a definitive role in the matter of forgiveness.
Robert D. Enright, in his book, “The Forgiveness Factor” lays out the process of forgiveness in a detailed manner. It’s not a precise step by step formula, but it can be helpful understanding that forgiveness is a complex issue.
Here is his process of forgiveness.
- Concede feelings of hurt, anger or shame.
- Challenge yourself to doing something about them.
- Confirm the specific offensive behavior rather than focus on the person who has harmed you.
- Conclude to forgive rather than seek revenge or nurse a grudge.
- Contemplate a rationale for forgiving.
- Commit to think differently about the offender.
- Contend with the pain without passing it off to others.
- Choose to extend goodwill and mercy toward the offender.
- Conceive of how it feels to be released from the burden of revenge.
- Consider the emotional relief that is available.
- Check for meaning in the suffering.
- Comprehend the paradox of forgiveness: as you let go and forgive the offender, you experience release and healing.
Adapted from Robert D. Enright, “The Forgiveness Factor”, Christianity Today (January 10, 2000)
As you process forgiveness, remember that it is God’s desire for us to forgive those who trespass against us and that He will give us the strength, endurance and ability to forgive if we allow Him to do so.
Whom do you need to forgive?
Something to think about…