Three Steps to Forgiving and Blessing Others
Step 1— Open Your Heart to the Lord
Choose a quiet place. You may want to be alone, or with your spouse, or with a close friend. Make sure you get away from distractions and day-to-day demands. (Leaving your cell phone and other electronic devices on silent in another room is also a good idea.) Now, begin to pray. Be very simple. You may just say the name of Jesus again and again, or you may want just to thank him for his goodness to you.
Step 2—Bring the Situation to Jesus
Try to picture Jesus in your imagination. Speak to him in your own words. Tell him about the situation or relationship that is disturbing you. Don’t be afraid to give him the details. Be sure to listen in your heart for anything he might say. You may also see him in your imagination reaching out to touch you or to put his arms around you.
Step 3—Forgive and Ask Forgiveness
Next, imagine the person with whom you need to be reconciled. Try to see the person clearly: What is he or she doing? What is the expression on the person’s face? What do you see in his or her eyes? Then, asking Jesus to stay with you, imagine yourself going to that person and saying or doing whatever Jesus inspires you to do. You might feel moved to ask for forgiveness, or you might see the other person asking you for forgiveness. You might see Jesus place his arms around both of you. You might feel a great weight being lifted from your shoulders. You might find yourself smiling more or feeling more peaceful as you go about your day. Don’t be surprised if you sense Jesus asking you to make some kind of personal contact with that person.
We do not always know whether the thoughts that we sense in our hearts are from God or from our own minds. Still, if the thoughts are filled with love, compassion, and a desire to be reconciled, do not discount the probability that they come from God. By the same token, when you find yourself focusing on who was right, on getting even, or on how deeply you were hurt, then you probably need more time. Don’t worry. Jesus is very patient and compassionate.