How many times do I have to go through this? Never again.
Hmph, I wish she would ask me for anything else.
*sucks teeth* I can’t believe he just said that.
Don’t you just love people? You give your all, do your best to act like you know Jesus and that’s just not enough for some folks, is it? They just had to take it there…again. And even though you know you should forgive them for their foolishness, it’s getting really hard to always be the bigger person.
Before you start giving them a piece of your mind, stop and take a deep breath. Read on for a few quick steps on how to forgive someone who refuses to change:
Avoid the Trap
It sucks when people you care about repeatedly do and say things that are hurtful to you. But do not allow the enemy to trap you in unforgiveness. Realize that you are not in control of another person’s choices. They have the power to do whatever they want and sometimes all we can do is deal with the aftermath.
Understand that free will is God’s idea and it’s a good one, even if we sometimes abuse it. Exercise your free will to avoid the trap of offense.
When someone is rude or petty or selfish, there is no automatic, mandatory reflex button that dictates that you must fly off the handle, hold a grudge or do something to make a bad situation worse. They are in control of them, but you are in control of you.
Pay What You Owe
At all times, you have the power and responsibility to be the person that you want to be. Someone else’s misbehavior is not an excuse for you to be somebody that you don’t want to be.
You don’t owe them your identity. You don’t owe them your peace of mind. Remember that we are all accountable to someone.
That person may not be demonstrating any accountability to you for how they’ve treated you, but they are certainly accountable to God. And so are you! Don’t act out and start sowing bad seeds, because the only one who will reap that harvest is you.
Change the Conversation
When something bad happens, it’s natural for you to want to tell someone what happened and how you feel about it. In some situations, sharing with friends or family members can be a positive outlet and they can help you feel better by offering good advice and some encouragement.
But sometimes, we can take it too far and become broken records to the people closest to us. Some of us go so far as to post vague (and weird) social media status updates when we are “going through,” sending a clear signal that something is under our skin and we want someone to pay attention to how we feel about it.
Do yourself a favor and vent to the Holy Ghost. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of perfect understanding and perfect love. Don’t put those expectations on anybody else, because you are only setting them up to fail you. Take a few deep breaths and have a real conversation with the Holy Spirit—it’s okay if it doesn’t sound the way you think it should. The Holy Spirit can deal with your honesty and will correct you gently if necessary.
…And stay away from Twitter and Facebook until you have a handle on your emotions.
Use pain to fuel progress.
Nobody in pain wants to admit it, but pain is an incredible motivator. It will push you to new heights, because it has already shoved you past your comfort zone. Face your pain and ask God to show you how to channel it into something productive. Channeling your frustration, disappointment and anger into focus, discipline and passion can shift you to the next level.
Don’t miss your moment by staying stuck on what somebody did to you. They don’t have the power to stop you, but you do. Use your power wisely!
The toughest thing about forgiving someone who will probably never change is that you will probably have a reason to be offended again.
No matter how many times they apologize, some people just are who they are and are doing the best they know to do. Other folks simply don’t care to make adjustments to make you or anyone else more comfortable.
Whenever you feel resentment trying to establish a foothold, remind yourself that you have already forgiven this person. Don’t be surprised when you will be confronted with another decision to forgive them again. Just do it and move on.
Forgiveness is a spiritual decision, not an emotional one. Your feelings will not agree and that’s okay, because they’ll catch up later. Don’t allow your emotions to occupy the driver’s seat, because only your spirit belongs behind the wheel.
It’s easy to say to someone that they should pray for change and praying for someone is always a good idea. As we pray, though, we need to leave room for God to change us and not the other person.
Sometimes the way of escape that God promised us is found in His grace that is always sufficient for us, not through the Holy Spirit performing personality-surgery on those folks we don’t particularly like.