4. Asking for forgiveness.
Because forgiveness is the releasing a person from one's personal judgment, forgiveness is basically a decision to free someone. Do not confuse this with God's judgment. We cannot change that. We can only lead them to Christ to find freedom from that most severe judgment. Forgiveness is an official release of payment from one party or group to us.
First of all, we must remember this asking for forgiveness is not a feeling thing, "It would be good to forgive them." Or a wish, "I wish I could forgive him." This is not forgiveness. Nor is it the same to state that Christ has forgiven this brother that has offended you. God asks, even demands, that we forgive the offending party in the spirit of love.
After we have identified the sin, acknowledged the pain, affirm God's responsibility to carry out justice, we come to the party and either ask for forgiveness or seek forgiveness. Often both parties have done wrong and so both sides take part in the asking and seeking of forgiveness.
Seeking forgiveness has 4 essential parts:
- 1) Tell the person what you are seeking forgiveness for. You should be as specific as possible. You should include poor attitudes as well as actions.
- 2) After having thought through what they have emotinally suffered, you should state that you understand that you have caused them this kind of grief. This fosters emotional healing
- 3) You should specifically ask for forgiveness for what you have just stated. You should wait until the person forgives you.
If they say, "I forgive you." Thank them!
If they say, "It doesn't matter." Tell them it does matter a whole lot. You can again repeat how you have caused pain in their life. Ask them again to forgive you.
If they say, "I can't forgive you" or "I don't want to forgive you." Remember that this is rare.
- 1) Check your spirit. Are you being prideful of something.
2) Have you confessed all that you had done wrong?
3) Ask them if there is anything you had done wrong that you neglected to mention.4)
- 4) Lastly, if they are plain stubborn, mention again how you are sorry and that if at any time they can forgive you to let you know because it is important to you and your relationship with them.
- 4) In the meantime, seek every opportunity to do good to that person. We are to love our neighbors and enemies. They might not believe your sincerity and need some time to forgive.
An example of an apology
"There is no way I can pay back the loneliness and isolation I have caused you over these last two years. It was through my words that others thought evil of you and distanced themselves from you. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness for doing such and such. However, I would very much appreciate your forgiveness. Would you please forgive me?"