The first thing that really helps me forgive is to remember this: God forgives me for much more than I will ever have to forgive others for. We may not do what others have done to us, but then again we may do things that are worse. In God’s Kingdom sin does not come in sizes like small, medium, and large; sin is just sin! Do yourself a favor and forgive quickly and freely (without expectation or stipulation). The longer you hold a grudge, the more difficult it is to let it go.
The second thing that helps me forgive is to think of God’s mercy. Mercy is the most beautiful gift we can give or receive. It cannot be earned and is not deserved—otherwise, it wouldn’t be mercy. I like to think of mercy as looking beyond what was done wrong and on to why it was done. Many times people do a hurtful thing and don’t know why they are doing it, or they may not even realize they are doing it. I was hurt so badly in my childhood that I in turn frequently hurt others with my harsh words and attitudes. But I did not realize I was being harsh; because life had been so hard and painful for me, that harshness had become part of me.
The third thing that helps me forgive others is to remember that if I stay angry, I am giving Satan a foothold in my life (see Eph. 4:26–27). When I forgive, I am keeping Satan from gaining an advantage over me (see 2 Cor. 2:10–11). If I don’t forgive, I am poisoning my own soul with bitterness that will surely work its way out in some kind of bad behavior or attitude. One of the most valuable things I have learned is that I am doing myself a favor when I forgive.
Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for Your mercy and forgiveness. Help me, in turn, to forgive those who have hurt me and release any bitterness and resentment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.