How to seek forgiveness from other people!
There could be many ways to do, but I am proposing 3 steps that can help you seek forgiveness from others after having offended them.
Step 1: Pursue Peace
First, intentionally pursuing peace brings about blessings (Matthew 5:9).
Second, pursuing peace means overcoming internal and external forces. These forces disrupt the state of calm and restfulness in our lives as well as in our relationships with other people.
An example of internal forces could be found in Mark 1: 25 and another of external forces in Mark 4:39. The former deals with evil and unclean spirit living in a human being. This spirit controls the entire being of this person. His life and sense of peace have been disrupted. The latter force is an external one. It is a storm, which disrupts the sense of calm and restfulness of the disciples and Jesus.
In both scenarios, Scripture says that Jesus rebuked the force (unclean spirit and storm or wind). He says: “be silent and come out” in the case of the unclean spirit, and “peace! Be still!”
The point is that Jesus wants us to have His Peace. He said it to the disciples (John 14: 27, ESV) and says the same to you now: “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
Therefore, you have to do two things:
- Make every effort to live in peace with everyone (Hebrews 12: 14). Clearly, this is a choice you and I should make. It implies intentionality about pursuing peace with other people.
- Turn from evil and choose to do good. It is to follow the first 2 steps in the process of forgiving other people: judge not and condemn not.
Step 2: Seek Reconciliation
Reconciliation takes place only when step 1 has been accomplished. Choosing to pursue peace introduces us to reconciliation.
What does reconciliation have to do with forgiveness?
Reconciliation primarily addresses relationships. The reality of the matter is that every person in our lives represents some established relationship. And when we do something wrong to someone, we eventually affect that relationship.
Therefore, peace (step 1) addresses the state in which we want to be. But, reconciliation refers to relationships we have have in life, which are always affected by our everyday actions and decisions.
When we do wrong things to people, these actions result into dividing walls.
Jesus, being our peace, and in His flesh, broke down the dividing walls that existed between us and God. He also broke the ones that were among us (Ephesians 2:14).
You then have to work in order to break down every single dividing wall between you and the people in your life.
Two things to help with the process:
1. Love them no matter what
Love is the perfect bond of unity. “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14).
2. Talk it out
Using the model for conflict resolution based on Matthew 18: 15-17, whether someone has offended you or you are the one who have offended somebody, you have to talk it out.
- Discuss it between the two of you.
- Then, if the problem has not been resolved, involve someone you both trust.
- You can take it to people in leadership (within your church) only if even with an involvement of a third party, there is no possible reconciliation.
Step 3: Pray for one another
• Daily pray for those who have offended you.
• Daily pray for yourself that you don’t offend someone else.
• Daily Pray for your family, church and community that God’s healing happens in everyone of us.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 32)