June Hunt, founder and CEO of Hope For The Heart- a worldwide biblical counseling ministry- wrote How to Forgive . . . When You Don’t Feel Like It in 2007. When June first became a Christian while in her teens, she discovered God had one standard or commandment: love one another and even love your enemies. In other words, hate no one. Ms. Hunt emphasizes that God does not set aside that standard based on any one person’s specific situation. There are no exceptions. Those who don’t grasp this true meaning of forgiveness live with embedded bitterness. Forgiveness, then, is not something we can accomplish with our own strength. Forgiveness is supernatural. We need Christ’s strength.
June states that “learning to forgive is nothing short of learning to think like God.” As we learn to think like God, we renew our minds. Without a proper understanding of God’s unconditional forgiveness, Ms. Hunt believes, it is almost impossible to forgive someone who has deeply hurt us. Although forgiveness begins with pain, June underscores the idea that “pain should never stand in the way of forgiveness.” Therefore, it is unproductive and unwise to hold God responsible for our pain. Blaming God looks back and places the focus on our pain. Trusting God, in contrast, looks forward and focuses on His plan.
Within God’s will, suffering has a purpose. June stresses that our understanding of forgiveness must being with this truth: “By God’s design, you are the master of your mind (italics author’s).” Thinking and acting like God are necessary to sustain you throughout the process of complete forgiveness. The process of complete forgiveness consists of four stages: facing the offense, feeling the offense, forgiving the offense, and finding oneness. Deep wounds must heal from the inside out. Forgiveness, then, is not a single event. Forgiveness is a way of life.
Forgiveness is a gift. When you forgive, you are blessed in giving that gift- whether or not your offender or wounder is willing to receive it. Ms. Hunt comes back to her central theme:
“The primary reason God wants us to forgive is because forgiveness sets us free to be all He designed us to be.”
Forgiveness is powerful, purposeful, and pervasive. It produces a change of heart. You get yourself back.