Monday, March 16, 2009

How Do I Forgive Cruelty

Q: How do you forgive people when they've done something really awful to you? Not the petty little jabs or mean jokes by the popular people at school, but people, adults, who have significant power over you who not only did something mean, but incredibly cruel? I've asked God to help me forgive, so many times, but I keep getting the same answer: I want you to do this on your own. How do you forgive without God's help?

A: First, God isn’t going to tell you to do anything impossible. If he is telling you to forgive someone, then it is within your ability to do so. Second, we as humans must forgive even without feeling like it. If we don’t forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven by God? It’s not an emotion to forgive, it’s a decision. It is a decision to stop wishing for a better past and let go of the hurt that a person has caused us. To forgive someone who has hurt you, you need to do just this, and continue to pray frequently for a mire forgiving spirit, as well as for those who have offended you. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is quite possible.

Another thing you can do is talk to an adult you trust, like your parents, priest, or youth minister. They may be able to give you more in-depth help on this situation and offer you support. If you've been physically or emotionally wounded by a person, you could forgive the person who injured you, but you still need healing yourself. And keep praying, God can do the more healing than anyone else can. Pray to him for healing, and be aware that it is absolutely okay to continue seeking God’s grace for this hurt.