Forgiveness Nuts and Bolts

Forgive? That’s way out of my comfort zone!

How in the world would I start?

Well, that’s a rather loaded question, isn’t it? A lot depends on what actually happened. Let’s break it down a bit:

  • How long ago did it occur?
  • How close were you to the person?
  • Was it only one occurrence or has it happened repeatedly?
  • How deeply did it hurt you?
  • Was more than one other person involved?


The easiest type of offense to forgive is something that happened only once, and you did not know the person. Let’s say a rude driver cut you off in traffic and then did a middle-finger salute. You can pretty much forgive that right away with a simple choice. “Okay, I choose to forgive that rude person. God, you are his judge, not me.” And then you go on.

Most people don’t have much trouble with forgiveness on that level.


It gets harder when it’s someone you trusted. If a good friend chose to betray your trust and then acted like it was no big deal, that hurts—a lot. knives in heartThe wound is deeper and it’s harder to forgive. Now you will have to acknowledge the depth of your pain before you release the person. You might even want to write out what she did and how you feel about it. By the way, say these things aloud.

Remember, words have power.



It could go something like this:

  1. “Jane did thus and so to me and it really hurt. She betrayed my trust and devalued our friendship. She treated me like dirt. I’m really mad at her and I feel like hurting her.
  2. “But I know I don’t have the authority to judge her. I know that if I hold on to the judgment it will damage me more that it does her. God, I don’t have the strength to forgive her, so I choose to forgive her through You. Please help me. God, You are her judge, not me. I release her from my judgment and give her over to Yours.the judge's gavel
  3. “You know how much my heart hurts, so please heal the wounded parts. I give You permission to touch my pain with Your healing love.”
  4. Now it’s time to wait quietly in God’s presence. If you’ve held onto the offense, it’s time to ask Him to forgive you for that. He will heal you because you have relinquished the authority which is His alone.

That paper where you wrote what happened and how you felt? Now you can write “Paid in Full” across it. It’s a good idea to destroy it since you have released her from the debt to you. It’s simply a symbolic act; you are never expected to forget all about it.

These are guidelines to forgiving others. You may know of other techniques. As long as you are releasing the person to God for Him to judge, you are forgiving.

Part 4 of a 5 part series on forgiveness

Part 1| Reduce Rage, Promote Peace: You Can Forgive

Part 2| I Shudder to Think About Forgiving

Part 3| God Needs My Permission to do His Job?

Part 4| Forgiveness Nuts and Bolts

Part 5| Forgive Myself? It’s Not that Simple!

Next time: forgiving yourself


Illustrations courtesy of