“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
When we forgive, we release that person from any requirement of repayment. That doesn’t mean we excuse or justify the wrong that was done but that we respond like Christ. So, how do you forgive someone who hurt you deeply? Well, the Bible not only commands us to forgive; it tells us how to forgive.
Our ability to forgive rests on the recognition of God’s forgiveness towards us. That’s humbling. You see, forgiveness isn’t a superior person releasing an inferior person but one debtor releasing another debtor. We also humble ourselves by submitting to God’s authority, including what He says regarding forgiveness. In other words, we forgive simply because God tells us to.
Forgiving as God forgives is a supernatural act of mercy and grace. You may think, “I can’t forgive them; what they did was just too hurtful.” You’re right, in a sense. But what you cannot forgive, God can! The greater the offense, the more grace God supplies; enabling us to forgive. When you yield to the Holy Spirit within you, God’s love and forgiveness can flow through you.
Biblical forgiveness is concerned with the well-being of those who’ve wronged us. It even means praying for the other person to be blessed. “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28). Start praying for the people you need to forgive. You cannot hate someone you pray for regularly. Even if they don’t change, your heart changes towards them.
The Bible also says that being unforgiving has consequences. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14–15). So, unforgiveness not only affects your earthly relationships; it affects your relationship with the Lord.
Learning how to forgive someone who hurt you determines a lot about your perspective. Unforgiving people usually become bitter and resentful over time. But those who learn to forgive become humble people of prayer; because obedience becomes more important than harboring hurt. Which one are you today? Take a moment to acknowledge God’s mercy and grace toward you, then pray for the person who hurt you. Remember, reconciliation takes two people—forgiveness only takes one.