If you have been wronged, lied to, abused, or betrayed, you understand. Forgiveness, while a divine and necessary gospel principle, is hard. Sometimes, it may even feel impossible. If you want to start on the road to forgiveness, but don’t know how to begin, here are some practical ideas to help you get started.
Pray for a forgiving heart.
Forgiveness is most effective when it is sincere and genuine. The best place to start is with open communication with your Heavenly Father. Express your anger, hurt, and frustration. Then, work together to build a desire to let it go. Ask for a softened heart capable of the strength to forgive.
Write down a list of thoughts from the other person’s perspective.
While we should never justify or excuse sin, it is important to try and feel empathy for those who have wronged us. Understanding their perspective can help us drain some of the bitterness from our souls. Sit down and try to write down where you think the other person may be coming from.
Roleplay the conversation.
We often distance ourselves from people who have hurt us. Opening up a dialogue again can be awkward and uncomfortable. If we aren’t prepared, our anger and frustration can often be easily provoked. If you would like to talk to someone about how they made you feel, consider roleplaying the conversation with a trusted friend or even yourself. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Reach out. Be the person to make the first contact. Even if they don’t reciprocate and you can’t go any further, you can never open the door to forgiveness if you don’t knock on it. Seeking someone out is such a powerful statement about your desire and willingness to move forward. Even if all you do is leave a comment on something they post on social media, find ways to connect.
Forgiveness does not mean we pretend like anything bad ever happened or that we aren’t hurting. Forgiveness requires honesty and vulnerability. Try to be compassionate, but also be clear about what you feel and what has happened.