Talking about forgiveness and understanding what it means is all good and wonderful, but we still have to take the initiative to forgive, and that is not always easy.
How do we forgive? Pastor Garcia mentions a few steps to do this.
First of all, you should forgive out of a desire to please Jesus as your Lord. If we keep that as our number one motive, the insecurities and stubbornness of our selfishness won’t get in the way. Keeping our priority to please Jesus will make it easier to forgive as we get our “self” out of the way.
Secondly, forgive as an act of faith rather than feelings or sincerity. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Faith moves with a conviction to forgive in the fear of the Lord and in obedience to His Word in spite of personal offense or emotions. We walk (or make decisions) by faith and in the Spirit and never by feelings (such as moods, joyfulness, or “I really mean it”).
Thirdly, use the “forgive by faith” method, as follows:
a. - Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Paraphrase this verse to specifically apply to forgiveness: “Now faith is the forgiveness that I hope for, the evidence of which I do not see in me.”
b. - Realize that when we allow our soul (mind, emotions and will) to dominate our decision, the soul is basically self-centered and in itself may decide against forgiveness:
1. - Mind - “I can’t forget what he/she did to me.”
2. - Emotions - “I’m hurt.” “I’m offended.”
3. - Will - “I will not forgive”, “I sentence you to indifference or bitterness”.
c. - Choose rather to walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16) that is, to allow your human spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit to make the decision to forgive. How? By considering the soul of Jesus.
1. - Jesus’Mind - “I died for your sins and your sorrows”. (Isaiah 53:3,4)
2. - Jesus’ Emotions - “I am grieved that you ask for forgiveness but do not forgive others.
* 3. - Jesus’ Will - “Forgive them for it is not your will but Mine that matters.” (Matthew 26:39)
d.. - Continue to live a life of repentance and forgiveness.
1. - Seek Him daily in love and worship (Matthew 22:37).
2. - Confessing and repenting of sins the Holy Spirit convicts you of. (John 16:8)
3. - Realizing that offenses are an opportunity to witness Christ.
4. - Prevent a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15) from developing in you by forgiving the offender or
asking to be forgiven at the moment of the offense. Never allow the person’s spirit to be wounded
(Proverb 18:14) because this leads to bitterness.
5. - Be quick to ask for and offer forgiveness without the expectation that you will be forgiven or that the
other person will ask you to forgive them. Expect nothing in return but the pleasure of the Lord
More to follow on “How Do We Forgive?”