We’ve been talking a lot about letting go of offense, especially as it pertains to the “small stuff,” or the annoyances of daily life that can sometimes cause us to walk in a state of frustration instead of God’s easy rhythms of grace. Today and for the next few days, I want to share with you some practical ways to put this into practice in your life. The first one is feel and forgive.
You’ve heard me say this before, but I believe it’s important to feel the negative emotions that come along with being violated or offended. Forgiving doesn’t mean ignoring or letting people walk all over you. It’s kind of like the movie Anger Management. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s about a really mellow, calm guy who’s like a doormat, and he has to go to therapy to learn to feel angry. Sadly, I believe this scenario is common for many of us who grew up in the church; we were taught that anger is negative in most circumstances and that we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves. Friend, this just isn’t true. When someone cuts in front of you or steals your parking spot, it’s natural to feel upset because you were wronged — the key is how you respond.
A method of letting go that has really worked for me is to say quietly to myself, “I forgive you.” when I am in the middle of feeling offended. At first, it might seem egotistical and weird, but there’s something about it that allows me to feel the offense but to not lash out, and then to give it up. Choosing mercy and forgiveness puts me in charge of the situation, no matter who it is, whether my wife, my kids or the strangers I encounter on the street; it allows me to feel and forgive, which is healthier all the way around!