At some point, you’ve probably been hurt. Maybe a person you loved and trusted did something unthinkable—something so devastating it changed your whole perspective on that individual. When this happens, we have a choice either to wallow in self-pity or to forgive (Ephesians 4:30-32).

Forgiveness is the act of giving up both the resentment we have toward someone and the desire to retaliate. It involves three essential steps.

First, we must release the general feeling of resentment. That is, we must decide not to languish in our pain. This can be hard. Many people seem to enjoy harboring self-pity or an overarching sense of martyrdom. They sigh, “Oh, it’s just my lot in life to suffer.” No, it is not! You can choose to move past the hurt.

Second, we must surrender specific feelings of resentment toward the individual. That means we’re to give up our anger at being hurt so we can seek to restore the broken relationship.

Third, we lay down all claims to retribution. You cannot forgive someone with your words while secretly wishing him or her harm. True forgiveness seeks the other person’s good, not punishment.

Forgiveness says, “Though you hurt me, I choose to pardon you. I won’t dwell on this, nor will I allow it to destroy my life or attitude. I won’t spend one-minute plotting revenge. You are God’s precious child, and I love you too.”

Forgiving another person carries a price, but the rewards are worth it. Unleash the power of forgiveness in your life today.

Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Carthage.

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