Hebrews 12:12-15

Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which NO ONE will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

You’ve heard of the stages of grief that a person experiences when someone close to him dies. Death brings out a host of emotions that must be dealt with honestly as they arise.

The same is true for dealing with an offense when someone hurts you. The pain is very real, and even if you know the incident was unintentional, the ache is still there. See if you can recognize these common stages in the process of coming to forgiveness:

Confusion. At first, you may be bewildered by the offense. You may try to find an explanation and relive the scenario in your mind to try to find answers. When the offender is someone close to you, the assault may be all the more troubling.

Denial. Another term for this is detouring, and it involves telling yourself that the offense did not even occur. You explain it away and try to convince yourself that you should not have felt hurt.

Discovery. Through the truth of God’s Word, you come to realize what you’re doing. Jesus urges you to forgive immediately and put the past behind you.

Forgiveness. You come before the Lord, confessing your sin of resentment and at the same time releasing the other person from all obligations to you. You are now free to love as Christ intends.

Lord, help me to identify where I am and move me through the steps of forgiveness.

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