The first principle is that forgiveness is for you — not the other person. To not forgive leaves you not only with a betrayed and damaged heart, but you begin to damage your own heart with additional resentment and bitterness.
A bitterness and resentment you may be able to hide from others on the outside, but a contamination and hardening of a heart you have to carry with you for the rest of your days. This is the kind of pain that does not heal with time. In fact, it is a pain that will get worse with time unless it is forgiven.
Principle two is that forgiveness does not require trust or reconciliation. Trust is a separate issue. Do not make forgiving contingent on trusting your betrayer. Rebuilding trust requires the effort of both parties, and it can take a long time. Fortunately, forgiving is something you can do on your own, and do at your own pace. Rebuilding trust is what we will discuss next week.
Principle three is that forgiveness is a process, not a one-time act. You learn how to do it, and you continue it until you can think about the hurt done to you and still genuinely wish the other person well.
Principle four is that forgiveness is something you do. There actually is a “technique” of forgiveness. You literally say to yourself over and over, “The person who hurt me is weak and fallible. And, although what they did to me was despicable and horrible, who he/she is, is someone deeply and incredibly loved by God.” And, one pebble of bitterness goes away. The more you do it the faster the pile of pebbles disappears.
Ready to start?