Forgiveness may not be second nature. It will come with practice. If you’re ready to let go and move on from blame to freedom, I will share some tips that will make the journey easier. You can start by checking in with yourself and look at the impact the situation has had on you. Ask questions that bring closure and clarity is very healing. Finally, finding compassion for others – through realizing your own humanness – will humble you and make offering forgiveness easier than you may think.
Tip #1. Share the impact. A key component for forgiveness is sharing the impact that the situation has had on you. Holding those innermost feelings inside, which are heavy and usually negative, isn’t healing. Sharing the truth about how the situation impacts you is key to letting go and being able to move on. You have the right to share how you feel but do your best to use language that isn’t cruel or shaming. Being able to state your feelings in a mature way will go miles towards restoration and offering grace in a difficult time. I believe in taking the high road. Sometimes hearing the impact that actions have had while withholding blame and judgement can allow for someone to truly change from the inside out.
Tip #2. Ask questions. After you share your thoughts and forgiveness is on the table, ask any questions that come to mind. Sometimes being able to clarify can add to the healing. I find posing questions with, “help me understand”, or “my perception is”, or “this made me feel”. Many a misunderstanding has been resolved when details are shared. Sometimes relationships can grow deeper and more connected after conversations explore deeper into what happened, and forgiveness comes.
Tip #3. Find compassion. Compassion is the common ground that allows forgiveness to grow in difficult soil. One of the easiest ways to find compassion is to think of a time when you needed forgiveness as well. Recalling times when we messed up or blundered can make offering forgiveness easier. Depending on how deep the cut, leaning on our own humanness can make offering forgiveness easier.
If forgiving and forgetting is new to you, then you will benefit from these practical tips to effectively offer forgiveness, but what happens when you can’t get the resolutions suggested in these tips? Perhaps someone has died, and you can’t share the impact or ask questions. Maybe the relationship isn’t healthy enough or safe enough for you to have a conversation. You can still go through the motions. Try meeting with a counselor or trusted friend and role play the situation.
Offering forgiveness may be new for you, but it is possible – even in the worst of situations. Finally, as in Matthew 6:14, my interpretation is that if you don’t forgive others, you will not be forgiven. That being said, living your best life will be more easily achieved as you practice forgiveness
I hope these tips are helpful and will make it easier to start forgiving and get the closure you deserve.