Forgiveness, like anything, takes practice. It is something you can start doing today. Yes today!
Start with situations you run across in everyday life, like the driver who cut you off; the cranky cashier at the grocery store; or someone you know who walks by without saying “hi”.
Reframe it: What might be going on in their life that could cause them to do that? Distraction? Worry? Sleeplessness? This reframes their actions to be less personal to you. The driver who cut you off was on the way to the hospital to visit a dying friend. The cranky cashier was up all night with her sick kids. The person who didn’t notice you was thinking about their mother’s cancer diagnosis. They could also be just having a bad day. We’ve all had them.
Pause: Notice how you are feeling. Think before you speak. Is this going to matter in 5 years? If not, then take a deep breath and let it go. Pause before you speak.
Let go: Use one of the following visual aids to let go: Breathe the pain out. Let a balloon go. Let a paper boat float down a stream. Toss a rock into a pond. Water rolling off the back of a duck.
Action Step: Use the reframe, pause and let go tools this week for an everyday situation.
Proverbs 15:28 “The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Proverbs 11:17 “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.”
Proverbs 12:16 “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent man ignores an insult.”