What if I need time to forgive

Jesus tells us that we should forgive people, no matter how many times that person wrongs us, and I always do try to forgive, but what if I need time to get over the problem first? I mean you can’t really forgive unless you hold no anger, anger is the only thing that holds a person back. So what should I do if I am angry with somebody? Should I forgive automatically? Or should I cool off first?

Forgiveness is an act of will…not a feeling. I do not think it necessarily requires that we not feel anger. Just my initial thoughts. Actually to not feel anger might be wrong.

I have found that praying for the strength to forgive helps.

My :twocents:

Although Judaism is very much based on behavior rather than thoughts and emotions, an insincere or automatic apology does you very little good, just as an insincere atonement or confession for your sins is rather meaningless if you internally have no intention of making amends. So if you need some time to come to terms with apologizing, I would advise you to take it. That doesn’t mean you need to wait until you totally love the person you are apologizing to; rather, just long enough to ensure your apology is sincere and well meaning.

One of the most helpful roads to forgiveness (in my experience) is praying for the person you want to forgive.

Even if you have to do it through clenched teeth at first, keep doing it. Even if you don’t “feel” warm and fuzzy feelings about the person, keep praying for them. A very wise person commented, “it’s very difficult to hold on to anger and bitterness against someone for whom you regularly pray.” I took that advice and have found it to be true.

Does forgiveness happen instantaneously when you pray for someone? Sometimes … but more often than not, I’ve found it to be a journey. The important thing is to keep moving in the right direction instead of the wrong direction. :slight_smile:


Absolutely, pray for the person you need to forgive. It works and it is the right thing to do. Make sure to chase the thoughts you have from your mind when they enter with any means you possibly can, rehashing will keep the anger alive. God will give you the strength and support you needs through these times.

**I agree about praying for the person. Anytime I have real anger about someone/something , I make myself pray for them /it until I am over it.
For me personally, it is easier to forgive it, than for me to have to keep praying for the person. :blush:

Another thing that has helped me greatly with this, is that you really can’t say The Our Father prayer. How do you say the words, " Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us " ? You can’t.

So I have to figure out what is more important to me, to hold on to and marinate in my hurt/anger/non- forgiveness and not be able to say The Our Father, giving that person or situation all the power and taking that beautiful prayer away from me ? The other choice is to give it up and take The Our Father prayer back and be able to truthfully be able to say it. You HAVE to give one of them up, you can’t both not forgive and ask God to forgive you as you have forgiven others.

It takes real courage to truly give up the hurt and anger, but it is so freeing when you finally open up your hand and let it all go. Unfortunately, most people will hold on to their hurts and anger with a clenched fist, holding on for dear life. Let it go.**

What a great post, tuscany! :thumbsup:

The paragraph highlighted in blue is certainly something that can knock the wind out of us, if we really think about it, isn’t it? :sad_yes:

When I was going through a really rough time a few years ago (during which anger/need for forgiveness were huge issues), I prayed the Rosary faithfully every day. It was literally my “lifeline” at that point. On each of the Our Fathers, right after the line “as we forgive those who trespass against us”, I would add an “extra” line in which I cried out from the depths of my soul, “Lord, I need Your help with this!”. I think at times just the knowledge that we need help, and being able to ask for God’s help, can be the first step on the road to healing and forgiveness.

I still pray that “extra” line in the Our Father, whenever I find myself getting mired down in unforgiveness. :blush:

To feel hurt and anger are part of our human weaknesses, however to walk in the way of Christ is by forgiveness. As already stated, forgiveness is a choice once must consciously make. I can say from personal experience, the longer we dwell on the issue with anger in our hearts, the more it will consume us.

I can’t tell you how to feel, and will pray for you that you find peace and the power to forgive.

God bless you!

Remember forgive doesnt mean forget or that you must put yourself back in a spot to be hurt again…forgiving someone doesnt require you to maintain a relationship with that person.

I think you are right on target. Forgiveness is of course a decision, but it is also a process if it is to cause any transformation in you – which is the greater point of forgiveness. I certainly would not tell them I forgive them unless they ask for forgiveness, or my gesture of forgiveness may come across instead as an accusation. I hear people “forgive” others all the time, but only to build their own pride and reaffirm boundaries against the offender and not sincerely to help them feel better. These are the types of cases it becomes an accusation.

I’ve taken all different approaches to the effort of changing how I feel enough to let go of the perceived injury. I say “perceived” because even though there might be temporal damage, that doesn’t imply a spiritual problem, nor vice versa. So the injury that most needs to be forgiven are in the mental and spiritual realm. So if someone steps on my toe by accident, that’s easier for me to forgive than someone who goes around gossiping about me – and I have had plenty of that.

Recognize that the suffering from the injury from the other person is a tool to help you build your own faith. Adversaries test you so you become strong. Like a spiritual YMCA, it is only when there is resistance that you can even notice, then build, spiritual warfare techniques. :nunchuk: So really if you can realize that those who put you down are offering you the first step of a blessing, or maybe I should say a “blessing seed,” then you’re on your way. Once you recognize that, the next step is to accept that it happened, and rejoice over it. :extrahappy: Because if you can let go of anger toward someone, then your soul actually will be in a better condition than if you had never become angry in the first place. :heaven:

Luke 15:7
I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

So how can you be a repentant sinner, unless you first sin? :rolleyes: We all get angry from time to time and understand this sin; that’s only human; :wink: letting go is divine. :getholy:


My former ‘roomies’ were forgiven immediately.
Accepting the reason behind the action took just a wee bit longer. (it was a stunner…)
And it is still advisable to stay away from them.
Peaceful as a dove, sly like a fox…

In my experience with forgiving I have noticed all sorts of difficulties and inconsistencies:

Sometimes it has taken me a while to realize that someone has actually hurt me, So my anger seethes under the surface, bearing with that person’s offenses repeatedly until the volcano finally erupts. And what a process of forgiveness that is, including the process of forgiving myself for taking so long to feel.

I also find myself forgiving, only to continue to feel anger or have the anger come back for a very loud and intimate visit, making me wonder if I ever really forgave in the first place.

Sometimes I get angrier at a family member who continuously “borrows” some hair product of mine than I get angry at corporate greed, mass murders, and immoral legislation. My reactions shock and embarass me.

I also find myself more angry and unforgiving at a loved one for doing something similar for which I forgive a stranger or distant friend.
Conversely, sometimes I am quicker to forgive a loved one for something that I will not forgive a stranger.
I do not always understand these inconsistencies, but I do understand the need for forgiveness in all these cases.

In answer to your original question, I think the “70 times 7” form of forgiveness that Jesus presents takes into account all of our human foibles and difficulties in the forgiveness process. If you need time, perhaps that is part of the process so you should keep that in your prayers. What makes me uneasy however is that I do not know how much time I or the other person have left on this earth so time may be an important factor. In one case, I am still forgiving a deceased family member as I pray for his soul. My mother left a big bookmark in her bible on that “70 times seven” page of the bible right before she died.

Thanks guys for all the feedback, I really appreciate it. :slight_smile:

Give Jesus your anger and tell him that you never want to claim it back. Ask God to forgive your enemies and say: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. – If they truly knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t be sinning against God and against you for sinning brings down punishment upon them. Rather than getting all angry, pity your enemies with compassion and love, like Jesus and the Saints did. God bless you.

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