By Guy Cohen
In Matthew 18:15-22 we read Yeshua’s teaching on forgiveness. This is not forgiveness between man and God but between man and man. What we are seeing here is that the person who has been hurt must go to the one who caused the hurt or the damage so to speak.
What is the damage caused through hurt and unresolved issues or unforgiveness? Anger, bitterness, resentment and even physical pain and sickness are only a few of the results we may experience when we’ve been hurt.
What are the stages we go through from the point of being hurt to having the ability to go to our brother as Yeshua teaches? First someone hurts us, then we must recognize how we are reacting to that hurt. What are the emotions we are experiencing? What are we thinking? If we approach another person when in this condition it will only cause more trouble. Once we are aware of our own condition, we must seek help from the Lord through prayer. What is the help we need in this situation? Here is where the forgiveness comes in. However, we need to also look at our motivation; is it coming from a place of unhealthy fear of God? Are we looking to put ourselves above the other person, “I’ve decided to forgive him or her, etc.”
Neither of these are good reasons and can be an indication of the condition of our own heart. If our desire to forgive the person who hurt us is coming from a place of humility, remembering that Yeshua while on the cross asked the Father to forgive ‘them’. Who were they that He asked the Father to forgive and why? Yeshua continued, “for they know not what they do”.
Another tool we can use in working through our hurts is putting ourselves in the other person’s place. What would I want them to do if I had hurt them? Better yet, this is a good time to consider those we have hurt and think about what we have or have not done to make amends.
After this process it’s time to go to our brother. This is not possible without Yeshua and the covering of His love.