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The Art of Forgiving

Aug 28, 2022

Years ago, I bought a book by Lewis Smedes called The Art of Forgiveness. I haven’t picked it up in years. This summer, Trisha and I are taking a step of faith with our non-profit ministry, RefineUs Marriage Ministries, and are doing a couple of marriage conferences in the fall, and are offering Marriage Coaching for couples starting in June. In preparation for some of that, I picked up the Smedes book and started thumbing through it. It is so rich.

One quote that I had marked, highlighted and starred said this:

The three stages of the art of forgiving are: Restoring humanity to the person who has wronged you; Surrendering your right to get even; Beginning to bless the person we forgive.

As I read that, I thought “That can’t be right. I think there should only be two stages.” I have no problem restoring the humanity of the person who has wronged me. I have no problem surrendering my desire and my right to get even. But to bless and pray for blessing for the person that has wronged me…that’s a little overboard.

I realized reading this that I have some work to do in my own heart. I thought I had forgiven someone, but I don’t want to bless him…I don’t wish him well. I don’t wish him harm; I just don’t pray that he is blessed. Maybe I haven’t forgiven to the extent that God has forgiven me and has called me to forgive.

What about you? Which stage is the most difficult for you? Do you have some work to do in one particular stage? Are you willing to embrace the art of forgiving?