Step Eight in Forgiving Others: Affirm
A final step in forgiving others is praying God’s blessing on those who mistreated you – affirm. Jesus instructed us, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28).
Old Testament Job was a righteous, wise, wealthy, respected leader in his community. Yet calamity struck his herds, house, and family. Then he himself was struck down with a painful illness.
He further suffered from his friends who were more like critics. They supposedly came to comfort him and offer him advice. Yet their words were harsh and wounding.
Finally God spoke and everyone was silenced. The Lord didn’t answer the why question of Job’s suffering. He only pointed to his sovereign greatness, glory, and power.
In the end, God told Job to pray blessing on his friends. After Job prayed in this way, then his healing was complete, he was restored, and God blessed him again.
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).
My own father learned this the hard way. Two people in particular provoked him with their malicious behavior. They heaped their vicious accusations upon him. They spoke evil of him to others.
Distraught, believing he was defending himself and God, he first prayed judgment upon his accusers. But he began to experience a loss of God’s blessing upon his life.
God had yet to teach my father that forgiving from the heart meant praying blessing on those who treated him unfairly. When he finally learned this, God began blessing him again.
To pray God’s blessing on those who hurt and wounded us is to pray honestly and sincerely from our hearts . . .
• That they will experience God the Father’s favor, God’s very best.
• That they will experience Jesus’ saving grace and healing love.
• That they will experience the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.
Blessing someone in this way may be difficult. We may need to bless them in faith until we can honestly bless them from our heart. Then through our ongoing forgiving attitude and loving actions they can see how true forgiveness works.
If we can freely bless those who caused us hurt and pain, then we know that we have forgiven them from the heart.
Action Step: Pray God’s blessing on those who mistreated you.
~ Pastor Dave