6 Steps to Forgiveness
Even though we know that forgiveness is important, it’s often really hard to forgive someone who has been mean or let us down in some way. Here are some ideas to help when forgiveness just seems too hard!
- Be honest. Forgiveness is not about automatically saying, “I forgive you,” when you’re hurting and angry. An important step in real forgiveness is being honest about how we feel.
- Be thoughtful. We all do things we need to be forgiven for. Remembering the times when others have forgiven us, when God has forgiven us, can help when it seems impossible to forgive someone we’re angry with.
- Be open. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Is it possible they didn’t mean to be unkind? Is there something else behind the way they behaved? That doesn’t mean that what the person did was okay, but it may help you move to forgiveness if you can see the situation from another point of view.
- Be connected. Talking about the situation with someone you respect and trust—a family member, a teacher, a friend, someone from your church—can help.
- Be patient. Forgiveness takes time, sometimes a lot of time. Give yourself the time you need, and don’t give up.
- Be prayerful. Remember that God is always there to help! Pray for the other person. Pray for yourself. Ask God to help you forgive, and keep praying until you know that you truly have forgiven.
Important note: Forgiveness does not mean letting another person treat you badly or abuse you. If you face that situation, stay away from that person and talk to a trusted adult who can help you stay safe.