As you read this article, Thanksgiving will be in the rearview mirror and we will be looking ahead to Christmas. Andy Williams made popular the song It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Yet, in reality, it is a heartbreaking time for those who are estranged from family and friends. As we enter the holidays and then close the book on 2019, why not begin 2020 with a heart of forgiveness towards those who have hurt you. Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28, But I say to you who hear; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. The following are 12 simple steps you can use to walk through the process of forgiving someone who hurt you in the past.

  1.  Ask the Lord to reveal the names of the persons who offended you and the specific wrongs you suffered.
  2. Face the hurt and the hate. If you are going to forgive from your heart, you must let God search the depths of
    your heart.
  3. Acknowledge the significance of the cross. It is the cross of Christ that makes forgiveness legally and morally right.
  4. Decide that you will not retaliate by using the information about the offender’s sin against them (Luke 6:27-34).
  5. Decide to forgive. Forgiveness is a conscious choice to let the other person off the hook and free yourself from the past.
  6. Take your list of names to God and pray the following: “I forgive ____________ for ___________________.”
  7. Destroy the list. You are now free. Do not tell the offenders what you have done. Your forgiveness is between you and God unless the offenders have asked you for forgiveness.
  8. Do not expect that your decision to forgive will result in major changes in the other persons. Instead, pray for
    them (Matthew 5:44).
  9. Try to understand the people you have forgiven. They are victims also.
  10. Freedom is a result of forgiveness in you. In time you will be able to think about the people who offended you
    without feeling hurt or anger.
  11. Thank God for the lessons you have learned and the maturity you have gained.
  12. When appropriate, accept your part of the blame for the offenses you suffered. Confess your failure to God and to others (1 John 1:9) and realize that if someone has something against you, you must go to that person
    (Matthew 5:23-26).