In the first post on forgiveness, I discussed what makes you so special that you don’t forgive yourself as much as God does? Forgiving self. Since God already forgives you, what special place above God do you think you hold to injure yourself about past transgressions? You don’t. Therefore, it’s based on a lie.
As we know, all action that begins with negative, false information will have negative outcomes. If you begin a journey with a map that has the wrong information, you will not get to your destination. Same concept. So, you must accept the forgiveness of self. God forgives you if you ask, so therefore, it serves no purpose to hold yourself to a higher accountability that God.
- You set yourself up to be manipulated if you don’t forgive yourself. People know you have guilt, and unscrupulous people will leverage that guilt into a behavior for their benefit.
- Finally, you must forgive self in order to forgive others. You may believe it’s easier to forgive others, but inside you’ll hold on to resentment that you, yourself, were never forgiven, and your actions will show that. You see, part one is about forgiving yourself. You will never forgive others if you cannot forgive yourself.
- Self-forgiveness is critical for the next phase to happen, forgiving others.
The three phases of forgiveness are, in order:
1. Forgive Self
2. Forgive Others
3. Asking for Forgiveness
This post is on forgiveness of others.
Benefits of Forgiving Others
1. Deepens Relationships – In order to have deep, long-lasting relationships with people, forgiveness is required. Some people have several superficial, short-term relationships that provide no support, no encouragement and just enable others. Quite often, the cause is lack of forgiveness.
All healthy, long-term relationships have moments where the participants blow it and they require forgiveness to move beyond. The more intimate the relationship, the more forgiveness will be required.
If a person is only superficially in the relationship, then you’re less likely to delve into personal, core issues. You won’t do the Heavy Lifting to become more emotionally transparent. You blow it off before giving it more emotional investment. That is the stage that many people stay at because, among other things, it’s a lack of forgiveness.
2. You Attract the Right People – Forgiving people attract the right people because they don’t manipulate others to get their way. People know when they are in good company and they seek that out in others. They feel accepted, at peace, and connected when they know they don’t have to jump through relational or emotional hoops to belong to something. If these people are co-workers, you will become more productive. You will be unburdened by the personal drama that slows down the creative process.
3. You are More Forward Thinking – Forgiveness ultimately means you are spending less time rehashing the past. The opposite of forgiveness is a grudge. And a popular definition of a grudge is, “Me drinking the poison while I’m waiting for you to die.” Pretty pathetic.
Being forward-thinking allows you to dream about the future, make plans, set goals, act and adjust. If you don’t forgive others, you’re holding it over their head and refuse to move forward until they apologize. Tough news is, you forgive regardless if they apologize or not. More on this later.
4. You are more Proactive – Building on the previous point, if you are more forward-thinking, you are set to become more proactive. Unburdened by manipulating your past and the behaviors of others, you are free to move on with your life and its relationships. You begin to seek new challenges, make the hard choices, and make necessary changes to get the life you want. You settle for comfort less often, you design moments of eustress to chart a course for what you want.
5. Improved Heath – No surprise here. By letting go of drama, negative thoughts and self-serving thoughts you’ll see health benefits like reduced blood pressure, reduced gastrointestinal problems, reduced stroke risks and more.
Hazards of Not Forgiving
1. You are a manipulator-Since you’ve made it all about you, other people have to jump through your hoops, meet your expectations and see life through your lens in order to operate around you. You lack basic, healthy social skills that let other people be themselves. In other words, you play the victim. These types believe they can extract some emotional power over others by withholding forgiveness.
People who do not forgive, manipulate. They try and manipulate others, and others allow that to happen, but they are really manipulating themselves. What’s manipulation? You can look it up yourself, but for the purpose of this conversation, let’s understand that it is a dishonest, behind the back type of handling of relationships.
You’re not being honest, you’re manipulating. Normally done through the emotions like fear or happiness.
2. You’re a Loner – There are lots of reasons people prefer their own company and some of them are good. However, people who don’t have a clue as to why they don’t get asked out or invited to parties fall into the negative category.
Often, they rationalize their isolation with the “Lone Wolf” or “Freebird” mentality. They say things like, “People suck.” To which I often answer, “Yes, you do!” Feel free to call people out on junk thinking. That’s what friends are for! If you don’t…who?
3. You are Locked in the Past – People get locked in the past for a number of reasons. They say things like, “Those were the good old days.” Or “You don’t understand what happen to me back then.” The past is the past. And either way, good or bad, there really is nothing you can do back there.
We are only given one day to manage the past and the future: Today.
If you do not manage your past, you will, as Dr. Larry Gilliam calls it in his book, Reparenting, be “Backing into your future!” you won’t see what’s coming, and you’ll just continue to create more and more issues as you stumble and trip over people, their problems and poor choices.
4. You’ll be Unproductive – With your vision focused on your past, you’ll have little or no desire to create for the future. You might be busy, but that has little to do with being fruitful and productive.
5. You’ll be Arrogant – Defensive rationalizations come in all flavors and arrogance is a bad one. It’s bad because it make you unteachable. When you are unteachable, there’s no getting in with new information to change the negative behavior.
The lingering question is, “Do I have to keep people who harm me in my life?”
The answer is, “No.” What you’re talking is reconciliation.
There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
You forgive everybody for everything, but you do not reconcile with everyone.
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
It’s on us to get along with people. Apologize, then if they want to continue the relationship then you can reconcile. To reconcile is to restore friendly relations.
It always doesn’t depend on us! It’s not always possible. Some people may not want to reconcile with you, you may not want to reconcile with them. Some people are just toxic. Let them go, step back and find some new people. How to do that, we’ll cover later.
Some people are just toxic. Let them go, step back and find some new people. How to do that, we’ll cover later.
Reconciliation has many strings, forgiveness has none!
Why? For one, forgiveness is free. What I mean by that is, you didn’t pay for forgiveness, that was Christ. You don’t surrender any real power when you forgive, you just give up the ability to constantly remind them and hold them accountable. You give up the ability to be angry and expect emotional payback. You cannot honestly say to someone, “I’ll forgive you if you…” That’s manipulation. You’re making them work for your forgiveness. God doesn’t do it that way, you can’t do it that way.
You forgive them:
- Without them asking you to forgive.
- Without them earning your forgiveness.
- Without them wanting you to forgive them.
- Without them knowing you forgive them!
Forgiveness is not about them, it’s all about you.
Forgiveness can happen in the privacy of your own home, at a coffee shop or in a graveyard.
Why? Because, forgiveness is not about them, it’s all about you. You, You, You! You can forgive the dead or people who flew through your life in one night and you’ll never see them again.
If you don’t, you put yourself back in control of the people who harmed us in the first place. Unforgiveness has a choke hold on both the offender and the offense.
Forgiveness set the prisoner free Matthew 18:21 makes the really clear.
But also, know that among people as it is with God, we are forgiven as we forgive.
“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Mark 11:26
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
So, ultimately, it’s on you, for many, many reasons. It makes you easier to get along with, more socially intact, both of which gives you a better friend base and more support.
Don’t hold onto it for another day, forgive, the prisoner you set free will be yourself.