This continues my series on How to Forgive. Be sure to read the earlier posts by clicking on the links.
So far we’ve seen that to forgive it involves making a heroic choice. It also involces setting boundaries to give yourself emotional space.
The third thing you can do to forgive is reframe the offense. This means you look at it from a new perspective. There are a few ways to do this. Let me give you two; one today and one on Wednesday.
How to Forgive: Remember There is a Nazi in You
The first way you can reframe your offense is to realize that you are capable of doing any evil that’s been done to you. The word for this is humility.
For example, I read a story of two women who were in a Nazi concentration camp. They were walking through the compound and a guard stopped them and started to berate and beat one of the women. The other woman was disgusted with this guard. In her mind she was calling him all kinds of names and wishing terrible things to happen to him.
But as she thought these things a voice in her head said, Remember, there’s also a Nazi in you. Her thoughts were stopped cold. She immediately knew what that meant. It meant that given the same situation as the Nazi, she could have very well turned out like he did.
Your first reaction might be to push back on this thought…to reject it and say, “I would NEVER do that!” But we all have the potential to do horrible things. Thankfully the conditions aren’t right that brings it about. When you are able to understand this about yourself you will find a new ability to forgive.
Pride Blinds You to the Nazi Within You
The Bible gives an example of the opposite of this attitude with the apostle Peter. In the book of Mark, Jesus had just predicted that his disciples would all betray him and Peter proudly said…Even if all fall away, I will not. Mark 14:29
Peter was convinced that he was incapable of betrayal. That was for lesser people. He was above that. He wasn’t in touch with his own inner weakness. He didn’t realize that a Nazi lived inside of him. But if you read the story Peter not only denied Jesus. He denied Jesus three times.
Humility means that you understand what it is like to be desperately in need of forgiveness and therefore you are willing to offer forgiveness to others. One book says it like this…
Comprehending that you are capable of the same ugliness that you are condemning in another can penetrate a cloud of hatefulness. To Forgive is Human
If you want to break through your cloud of hatefulness and forgive someone then reframe your offender through the eyes of humility.
Please forward this on Facebook to help others learn how to forgive and move on with their life.
Question: How have you been able to reframe an offense? Leave your comment below.
Adapted from “Forgiven…once and for all”. Subscribe to this blog to receive your free e-book.