How to Forgive and Let Go

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Forgive and let go

A while back I read a story of a man who had lost his pregnant wife as a result of reckless driving. The one who caused the accident was coming from work after long hours tired and was asleep at the wheel. He did not see the red light and hit the oncoming vehicle and the passenger died on the spot.

After a few years, the widower decided to look for the driver who was behind the death of his late wife and unborn child to let him know he had forgiven him.

The driver broke down when they had this conversation as he carried a lot of guilt. The widower said he chose to forgive so as to be able to move on and let go of the bitterness he had been carrying for several years.

This story left me thinking of the courage and strength it took this widower to look for the driver just to let him know he had forgiven him. It also was such a heartwarming and encouraging story.

I do not know what was done or said to you but we can get to this point of choosing to forgive and let go. It is very much possible if we allow God to lead and help us do it. The bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred, and offense you have been carrying are not worth it.

When God created man He created him in His image and likeness. John 4:24 says God is Spirit. Since God is Spirit then that means we are also spirit. We are spiritual beings; we have a soul and live in physical bodies. Then if we have the nature of God, why is it that we struggle with forgiving those who have hurt us? This struggle is a result of our fallen nature. Naturally, when someone hurts us we want to lash back, avenge and cause them the same hurt and pain.

When we keep piling cases of unforgiveness seeds of bitterness, hatred, resentment, and anger start taking root and with time we will bear the fruits of these seeds. We will then start projecting all these negative toxic feelings onto others.

When we choose to not forgive we get stuck in the past as we keep reminiscing on what was said or done to us. All these negative toxic feelings as a result of not forgiving have been associated with physical illnesses. Some conditions like ulcers, heart conditions, back pains, insomnia, panic attacks, blood pressure, severe migraines, and many others can be traced back to people who chose not to forgive. Imagine getting sick all because you chose to not forgive, is that issue worth your health?

So how do we forgive?

  • Acknowledge the hurt and pain.

We can get hurt and act as if we are okay and nothing happened. We cannot deal with something we have not accepted. Accept that you were hurt, that you are in pain and you are struggling to let go. Acknowledge what you are feeling as a result of people hurting you. Do not try to bury it but deal with it as painful as it might be.

In the case of the man whose wife and unborn child was killed in the road accident must have first acknowledged his pain and hurt. He accepted the tragedy that had happened and all the emotions it came with.

God has emotions too. He gets angry but for a moment, He rejoices, He is a jealous God, etc. This means our emotions are part of how He created us but the issue is what we do with them. Do we let them control us or do we gain mastery over them?

  • Ask God to help you forgive.

Our fallen nature cannot easily forgive and let go. We are not even meant to do life on our own strength; the arm of the flesh will fail us. By asking God to help you forgive them, you make the deliberate decision to forgive.

Talk to God about these people and ask Him to help you forgive them. When we do this the Holy Spirit who is our helper will help us forgive.  Make a list of the people who hurt you, what they did or said how it made you feel, and talk to God about it.

Then we need to forgive as that is what God has commanded us to do. If He has commanded us to forgive He will give us the grace and strength to do so if we rely on Him.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13

It will not be easy but it will be possible and worth it. This will give you so much peace and a burden will be lifted off of your soul.

  • Pray for them

Jesus told the disciples that we have to forgive seventy times 7 in a day (Luke 17:3-5)! He also said we are to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us.

This is definitely not easy but we do it in faith and in obedience to God’s word. As you pray in obedience to His word trust Him to help you deal with bitterness, anger, and resentment.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

Once you do this it does not mean the feelings and emotions will suddenly disappear but as you continue to ask God to heal your heart He will deal with these emotions.

If you happen to see the person(s) who hurt you after choosing to forgive and praying for them and feel angry it does not mean you have not forgiven, it just means the emotions are yet to catch up with your decision. Keep talking to God about it and He will heal your heart fully.

When we forgive and let go we allow ourselves to live in the present by letting go of the things that happened in the past. We are also able to walk in freedom as not forgiving causes us to carry burdens we ought not to be carrying and gives the ones who offended us to have control over us. When we forgive we take the control and power back.

Your forgiveness story might not be like that of the widower where you reach out to the people who offended you, but it will end up as a beautiful story to encourage others. It may not look like it right now but trust God to help you heal.

However, if God leads you to reach out to them go ahead and do it for He will give you the grace to do it. Ask Him for wisdom on how to go about it. If you are the one who hurt others ask for forgiveness from them.

God wants you whole and healed from your past. Let Him help you forgive those who deeply hurt you. He understands it and gets where you are at. There is nothing too hard for Him to heal and deal with. Surrender the hurt, the pain, the bitterness, the hatred, and the people who hurt you to Him. Stop carrying that burden; it was never yours to carry.

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