According to Matthew 5:23-24, the first thing we are to do when we remember that someone has something against us, is to go quickly and make friends with him, even if we are in the middle of prayer. In fact, that is the time that the Holy Spirit will bring it to your mind. And really, it doesn’t matter who the offender is, whether it is another that offended you or you that offended another, you are responsible to go and make reconciliation. Don’t think that he must go to you. When you meet him you must confront him in love. If he has sinned you are to reprove him, but in private (Matt. 18:15). If you have sinned then you must confess to him and ask his forgiveness. If we practice this law of reconciliation then we will live in freedom from the chains of bitterness.
But what if we have not practiced this law, and there are some people whom we are just not getting along with? We can’t seem to forgive them, and they don’t speak to us. They have hurt us deeply and we have not dealt with it.
Here are nine steps to follow that will help you to be free from bitterness and bring you into fellowship with God:
1. Understand first of all the principle that if we do not forgive others God cannot forgive us (Matt. 6:15).
2. Understand the nature of forgiveness (kindness, tenderness, and longsuffering) and that it comes to us as a fruit of God’s Spirit. So we must pray for the filling of His Spirit.
3. Understand that to forgive you must repent of your unforgiving spirit and turn to God, believing that He loves you, wants to forgive you, and wants to help you forgive others.
4. Ask God to bring to your mind those you need to forgive. Then write their names down and what they did to you.
5. Decide that you will no longer be bitter or harbor any hateful or hurtful feelings toward that person, and give him over to God.
6. Resolve to love and pray for that person. Seek their welfare (Matt. 5:43-45).
7. Resolve not to talk about the person’s sin. That is gossip. Try to think the best of the person.
8. Pray for a chance to reconcile. When God gives you a plan, carry it out. He will help you.
9. Develop a loving relationship with God. Reflect on His love for us. This will help you to love others.