You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts.
Okay, so you know you must forgive. And when you are honest, you want to forgive others. The big things and the little things.
But how do you know what to do and say? If it was just as easy as going up to the other person and saying "I forgive you", you'd have done it. But somehow you know there is more to it than just saying those three powerful words. But what?
There are alot of things to be said as an answer for that question, but the one I want to focus on is this: Wisdom.
God's Wisdom, to be specific.
How do we get it? Here are a couple of ways: Scripture is a good start.
Torah is God's Wisdom for the new nation of Israel.
The Writings of Job, David, Solomon, and Ruth are sources of wisdom of how God's People sought to live in reality, obedient to the LORD of the Universe.
The Prophets reveal wisdom in how God works, what he wants from people, and how far he is willing to go to help people live right with Him and their Neighbor.
The Gospels tell the story of Jesus - whose every move exuded wisdom, whose every word and instruction exuded wisdom, who's ever reaction and response exuded wisdom.
The Epistles are letters of Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude - letters rooted in wisdom to Christians on how to think, act, live in the midst of a difficult and hard reality.
Another way to get wisdom: choose a wise pastor, choose a wise friend, choose a wise neighbor to examine your heart, your motives, your attitudes, your desires. You need help understanding the Wisdom of Scriptures, and you get wisdom from those who understand more than you. So be willing to make a new friend, or to get to know your pastor better, and get wisdom.
One last way: along with the Wisdom of Scripture and of Godly Christians, you get wisdom from experience - learning from your past can be a good source of wisdom. When it comes to forgiving: you'll probably note from your past that when you do forgive, you give the relationship a chance to heal to some degree and move forward in health and goodness. Or, you'll note that many times you did not forgive, and how those relationships have either withered or worsened. Learn from your past: tis better to forgive than forge ahead in bitterness.
Wisdom gives us perspective on our own need for mercy, and thus some reflection on how to give it to others.
Wisdom gives us understanding on what to overlook, and how to make friends out of those who have hurt us.
Wisdom gives us promise and warning: enlarge your heart through forgiveness, lest you shrink your heart through resentment.
There are many proverbs about mercy, forgiveness, and making amends...find some that help you and seek ways to live it out. Today.