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By Pastor Nomthi Odukoya

Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. – Matthew 18:21-22

Ever been hurt so bad, you can think of nothing but revenge?

As a human being, you will be offended – you may be scolded, jilted, raped, abandoned or betrayed and the natural instinct will be to coil in self-protection or seek revenge. Neither helps the situation. You should look beyond the hurt; forgive and be healed. A hurting person will hurt others, thereby creating a vicious circle of avoidable hurts and pain.

You might not be able to control other people’s actions or decisions, but you can control yours. There is a popular adage that “you cannot stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from perching on your head.” Being offended is a choice, choose to forgive. C.S Lewis says “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Unforgiveness wraps you in the past, which makes it impossible to enjoy the present or the future. New relationships will not be formed or enjoyed until past hurts are allowed to go. Really, there is no point holding on to the past. It is like tying yourself to a tree and expecting to move forward; you will only end up with bruises and expelled energy. It’s time to cut the chains of unforgiveness and move forward. It is medically proven that cold and flu (as well as other sicknesses) can easily develop where there are angry emotions. You don’t need it.

Forgiveness is a sign of emotional and spiritual maturity. Mahatma Gandhi said “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” It does not come easy to man; it is a conscious decision with the help of God.

Do you find it difficult or impossible to forgive? Here is how to go about it:

Acknowledge the pain or hurt.
Honestly address your feelings: realise that the hate you feel does not harm the person like you wish – it is like drinking poison and waiting for your offender to die.
Look for the positive or benefit from the hurt: he left you so that God can bring someone better and more deserving your way.
Deliberately refuse to dwell on the past or tell the story, and if you must, tell it from the other person’s perspective.
Pray for the person.
Trust God to heal your heart.
Set better boundaries – not to shut yourself in but to define your relationships going forward.
Sometimes, you might have to apologise though you are the offended. The truth is that it will make you a better person.



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