“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
When we have been wounded, often one of our first responses is to retaliate. We want justice. We want revenge. We want the other person to feel what we have felt. It’s been said that, “Hurt people, hurt people.” They hurt us, so we want them to hurt the same (if not worse) as we have!
David states in the above verse to, “Depart from evil…” If you have been wounded by someone, you must resist the temptation to retaliate, to seek your own form of justice, or to seek revenge.
You are to “depart from evil and do good.” You’ve heard it said, to “kill someone with kindness.” Paul states that it is “the kindness of God that leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4).” Could it be that your kind response just might be what leads another person to repentance of their sin against you?
Understand this. Peace has to be pursued. It rarely comes easy. It has to be fought for. At times peace will elude you. Below are some ways you can either seek or grant forgiveness of others.
Six Steps for Seeking Forgiveness:
- Try to understand/empathize with the pain you have caused.
- Admit what you did was wrong or hurtful.
- Accept responsibility for your actions and make restitution if necessary and possible.
- Apologize and ask for forgiveness.
- Establish an accountability system to better ensure you will not to do it again.
- Appropriate God’s forgiveness in your life.
Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness:
- Acknowledge your pain and anger. Allow yourself to feel disrespected.
- Set boundaries. Be specific about your future expectations and limits.
- Give up your right to “get even,” but insist on love and/or respect in the future.
- Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity toward the other person. Resist getting “historical” in future conflict.
- Communicate your act of forgiveness to the other person.
- Work toward reconciliation (when safe).
Adapted and edited from content by Richard D. Marks, Ph.D., Marriage for Life, Inc., Jacksonville, FL