James McFaddin is the pastor of New Life Assembly

James McFaddin is the pastor of New Life Assembly

FAITH: The forgiveness project

Pastor James McFaddin talks about forgiveness

Submitted by James McFaddin, Pastor New Life Church

There’s a song lyric by Noah Gundersen that goes like this: “Hate is a sharp knife held by the blade, it’s cutting in your palm ’till you feel no pain.”

Over the last year I’ve been walking folks through forgiveness. The question that I ask is, “Imagine it’s Thanksgiving dinner. Who would you NOT want to have sitting around your table?”

Go ahead and ask yourself that same question. Ponder the results. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the faces that appear in your mind as you look around the table in your mind.

Now that you’ve got your list, no matter how big or how small, I want you to invest some time in working through this next step. This next step might seem so simple, but I promise it will have profound impacts on the entirety of your being.

I want you to close your eyes and envision the face of each person that you don’t want at your table. While looking at them, say this, “Today I choose to forgive _________.”

Here’s the secret — you may have to forgive the same person once, or a dozen times, or even more. It’s not always convenient when the thought of them creeps up at the grocery store, or in a meeting at work, but in forgiving them, you’re loosening the grip you once had on that blade. You’re letting go of the very thing that is actually bringing pain and death to you. You’re truly making the choice to embrace life and champion love.

Now, you may not forget the hurt, and there’s no shame in that. But you can release that hurt so it no longer defines you.

One final pro-tip: If you’re feeling like you just can’t do it on your own, you can simply say, “Dear God, please give me Your strength to forgive ________. As I trust in You, today I choose to forgive________.” And just leave it with Him.