Is it Possible to Forgive?

By Jon Kauffman

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12

September 29 was my spiritual birthday. Many years ago, I decided I wanted to follow Jesus. I expected Jesus to fill my heart with joy when I prayed to accept Jesus as savior. Nothing happened.

A few years later, on September 29, I was praying the Lord’s Prayer. I prayed: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Suddenly it became clear to me I was an unforgiving person asking for forgiveness. I was upset with one of my best friends about a minor offense. I could not forgive him. I asked Jesus to help me forgive and Jesus filled my heart with joy.

I have had to forgive people for various minor offenses over the years. But how do we forgive someone who has done great harm to us? Perhaps murdered our child or loved one.

I have read stories about people who have forgiven their child’s or brother’s murderer. Corrie Ten Boom forgave the Nazi for torturing and killing her sister.

Many people have endured far greater pain than I have endured and have forgiven their abuser.

I recently read “The Bearer, Forgiving As Christ, by Dr. William Ury.

Dr. Ury shared steps to forgiveness written by Korean Evangelist Billy Kim.

Billy Kim writes,

First, read 1 Corinthians 13 for seven days in a row…read that chapter, the love chapter, seven days in a row with no one else in mind but the one who has wronged you.

Second, pray for that person for seven days. Don’t talk about the sin. Don’t bring up the sin. Just simply pray for that person.

Third, say nothing negative about that person for seven days.

Fourth, refuse any negative thought about that person for the week. Pray “Holy Spirit, dispel any negativity. I’m not going to have that. I’m going to think about this person in light of 1 Corinthians 13 and I’m going to pray for their best in you. I want Your life in their life.”

Fifth, enumerate as may positives as possible about that person. There may not be many. There may only be one. But there has got to be at least one. Think about that thing. Dwell on that positive. Let that positive permeate your mind Pray for God’s best in their life.

Sixth, listen with interest or compassion to someone who is extremely self-centered. This is close to our concept of discovery. Letting somebody else into your life that is as self-centered as you may have become due to the wrong done to you can be quite illuminating. If I’m listening to somebody who is really bothersome or preoccupied with self-pity, then maybe I can comprehend why the original infraction occurred. This is a great way of leveling out, of identifying with sin, and saying I forgive because, without divine grace in my life, I would have done the same thing.

Seventh, do a good deed each day for seven days on the behalf of the person you don’t like. Write a note. Send a card. Buy a lunch. Offer an affirmation on the way past them in the hall. Whatever it might be, stroke that person in a sweet kind of way for seven days and see what results in your heart.1

Forgiveness is Possible.

1Page 129, The Bearer, Forgiving As Christ, by M. William Ury.

Edited: 10/9/2021

Copyright © 2021 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Author: Jon

Jon Kauffman graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. Jon attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attends the Salvation Army Church. Jon works as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

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