Today I saw an excellent video on the topic of forgiveness that I believe is worth circulating. In it, Allen Parr, the host of YouTube channel THE BEAT (~1 million subscribers), addresses the topic from a Christian perspective. Parr first clarifies what forgiveness is NOT. Forgiveness, he argues, does not mean the absence of pain. However, resentment and the desire for revenge only magnify the original wound. Forgiveness is also NOT reconciliation. Reconciliation may or may not be possible and appropriate, depending on the situation.
The four steps to forgive are 1-) Trust God to deal with them (“I will repay”). Forgiveness, it follows, is an act of faith in God, whereas resentment is an act of disbelief; 2-) Clearly communicate your pain to the person who has hurt you (whenever possible). This releases you, informs them, and keeps them from hurting others; 3-) Pray for the person, wishing them well, in obedience to God, which is the ultimate sign of having forgiving someone; and 4-) Stop talking negatively about the person, which is the ultimate sign of NOT having forgiven someone.
It is impossible for any person to act beyond their current level of consciousness.Eckhart Tolle
To add my own summary of Christian forgiveness: Humbly suffer the pain they caused you without adding to it resentment and the desire for revenge. Let God deal with the wrongdoer as an act of faith (“I will repay.”) And pray for mercy like Jesus on the cross when he said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” For there is always a real sense in which people who hurt us “know not what they do,” or can’t really help it due to their present level of consciousness.
Understand that when we don’t forgive, we’re really only hurting ourselves. I heard a great quote that said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and yet expecting someone else to die.” In other words, this person has already hurt you, and yet you’re continuing to allow them to hurt you by giving them control over your own happiness, your own joy, and your own peace of mind.Allen Parr
Check out the complete video and my transcript below!
For more, see Help! I Am Angry With My Parents! (5 Critical Reminders)
Transcript of How To Forgive When It Hurts by Allen Parr
How do you forgive someone who’s hurt you when everything in you wants to hold on to the pain? That’s what we’re going to talk about today on The Beat.
Hey what’s up everybody. Welcome back to The Beat. So before we answer the question, “How do we forgive?” I want to quickly suggest what forgiveness is NOT.
Forgiveness does not mean the absence of pain. In other words, just because you forgive somebody, that does not mean that you will not experience, or at times, feel the pain of what they did to you.
Second of all, forgiveness is not reconciliation. When God says “Forgive,” he doesn’t say that you have to get back into relationship with this person and give them more opportunities to hurt you. NO – Forgiveness simply means to let go of the anger and the thoughts of revenge and bitterness that you’re holding on to.
Okay, so let’s dive in. Four practical steps on how we can forgive those who have hurt us.
Step #1: Trust God to deal with them
Forgiveness is actually an act of faith. Romans 12:17 says “Vengeance is mine. I will repay,” thus says the Lord. Whenever we hold on to anger and bitterness and thoughts and plans of revenge, what we’re basically saying is “God, I don’t trust you to deal with this person. I don’t trust that you have really seen what has happened to me, and so I must take matters into my own hands and make sure that this person gets what they deserve.”
And so forgiveness is relinquishing your control and truly giving it over to God and trusting him to deal with it.
Step #2: Clearly communicate your pain to the person who has hurt you
And this is going to have three benefits. First of all, it releases you of carrying around this heavy burden that’s been weighing you down. Second of all, it can help the other person not commit the same offense to somebody else because the truth of the matter is they may not even realize how deeply they hurt you in the first place, because oftentimes they’ve moved on with their life. Finally, it can open up the door for reconciliation, which is what God wants in the first place.
Step #3: Pray for them
The third place is probably the most difficult for most of us, and that is to pray for them. Matthew 5:45 says to “Love your enemies,” and to “Pray for those who persecute you.” If you can get to the point where you’re praying for somebody who’s hurt you deeply, you’ve gotten to the point where you truly and sincerely wish the best for this person, and you’re no longer wishing evil upon them. And so when God chooses to bless them, you’re celebrating what God is doing in their life instead of hating on them.
So remember, trust God to deal with the people who have hurt you deeply. Clearly communicate your pain to the person who’s hurt you. Pray for them, as difficult as it may be, and finally, stop talking negatively about them.
Step #4: Stop talking negatively about them
This is one of the easiest ways to tell that you have not forgiven somebody. Because let’s be honest, whenever we are angry and we feel like somebody has offended us, we want everyone we know and everyone they know to know how deeply they’ve hurt us. And oftentimes, what we end up doing is we end up defaming this person’s character without them being present to defend themselves.
James 4:11 says “Do not speak negatively (or speak “evil”) against one another.” And there are all sorts of other Scriptures that support the idea that slander is a sin. So if you want to forgive somebody, as difficult as it is, resist the temptation to speak negatively about this person.
Now I know that forgiveness is not easy. But understand that when we don’t forgive, we’re really only hurting ourselves. I heard a great quote that said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and yet expecting someone else to die.”
In other words, this person has already hurt you, and yet you’re continuing to allow them to hurt you by giving them control over your own happiness, your own joy, and your own peace of mind.
Remember that forgiveness is not for the other person. Forgiveness is for you.