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How can I forgive?

Q: Forgiving is one of the hardest thing to do to be able to fully submit yourself to God. What is the first step that I should do that will lead me in forgiving someone?

A:  You are right that forgiving can be the hardest thing to do. All of us can relate to this...I guess the first thing you must do is to decide whether your un-forgiveness is helping you to achieve the kind of relationship you desire with God—your desire to willingly submit to his will. Is your unwillingness to forgive helping you in your search for peace and happiness in your inner life? Is your anger doing anything to right the situation? Is carrying the burdens of hurt and anger worth the effort?

When we have been sinned against by another—when our sense of right and wrong has been violated by another's words or actions, we recognize it, and we feel anger or indignation against that person—often rightly so. It is a very human response. Sometimes, we dream of revenge or retaliation—our anger burns bright, and we can fan the flames by harboring these feelings—sometimes for long periods of time. But is that helpful? The feelings of anger and hurt are heavy burdens to the heart, and usually do not in any way affect the offender, only the one who harbors them.

The Urantia Book tells us that "anger is like a stone hurled into a hornet's nest." It is a "mental poison" that can "interfere with the spiritual progress of the evolving soul ."

So, what is one to do? Jesus was one of the most sinned-against persons we know. He was betrayed, he was deserted by his friends, he was wrongly put to death. And yet, through all of his trials, he remained loving, tolerant and forgiving. He said: "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

We must learn to forgive in this life. The first step is to realize the harm that unforgiveness can do to YOU, and that may lead you to make a decision to forgive. Ask God to show you the way to achieve it in your heart. Accept the fact that you are also in need of forgiveness, and pray to realize it. As you learn to forgive everyone who has ever wronged you, you will in turn start to experience forgiveness of your own misdeeds as well. This can be a very liberating experience.

From The Urantia Book:

The Father in heaven has forgiven you even before you have thought to ask him, but such forgiveness is not available in your personal religious experience until such a time as you forgive your fellow men. God's forgiveness in fact is not conditioned upon your forgiving your fellows, but in experience it is exactly so conditioned. And this fact of the synchrony of divine and human forgiveness was thus recognized and linked together in the prayer which Jesus taught the apostles. (146:2.4)

And that prayer is, of course, the "Lord's Prayer," which asks God to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

When you can make that mental and spiritual decision to forgive another, you will feel a lifting of your burdens. Leave the offender to God, and remember that "forgiving tolerance" is one of the fruits of the spirit that we are called upon to produce in our lives. Forgiveness can be difficult, but making the effort is well worth it."

:: Date published:
:: Author: Staff