Step One in Forgiving Others: Acknowledge
God calls us to forgive others to the same depth he forgives us. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). How could we possibly do that?
We weren’t born with a generous and gracious attitude of forgiving others. We learn it when we’re born again. We first learn to accept forgiveness from God. We then learn to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
I’ve found it helpful to work my way through a process of eight steps in forgiving others, which I’ll be explaining in this devotional series.
Today step one. When somebody has hurt you, done evil against you, or said hurtful things, acknowledge it.
You feel pain. You wish it didn’t happen. Yet now a wall separates you. That wall is partly a wall of protection. You don’t want to be hurt again. Still, a barrier has come between you.
The first step in forgiving others is acknowledging before God that we are experiencing the pain and hurt done to us by the other person.
We don’t deny what happened. We don’t try to rationalize what others said or did. We don’t explain it all away. We don’t bury it. We acknowledge it. “This person really hurt me. I am wounded. I feel pain.”
The psalm writers understood this principle very well. The secret we learn from them is this: they poured out their pain and hurt, not to others, but to God.
Listen to David’s pain and hurt: “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? . . . I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes” (Psalm 6:3, 6-7).
The psalm writers often lamented: “God, I am hurting. You are not helping. They are winning.”
Action Step: In your journey to forgive someone, acknowledge that you have been hurt and express it to God.
~ Pastor Dave