How To Forgive: A Recipe

By: Carol McClain        carol_mcclain

My good friend Xandra fought with her sister and her sister’s husband. She never shared with me what the issue was, but Xandra quit going to the church they all attended. She cut off communication and refused to let her children associate with the couple.

It sounds like a good recipe for peace, doesn’t it? I’m sure Xandra said, “I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget.”

But who bears the punishment here? True, the sister and brother-in-law have lost fellowship, but they can live their lives happily, free from all guilt and stress.

Xandra, on the other hand, must live with the pair every second of her life. Her mind churns with the hurt and misery and alienation. She’s never free.

Forgiveness. It has little to do with the wrong done to you. It has everything to do with finding peace in your own life.

Have you been: bullied? victimized? cheated? betrayed? ostracized? __?

One time, having endured ostracization and belittlement, I worked on forgiveness. I told God I forgave. I told the perpetrator I forgave, but I replayed the hurt every day. God said, quite clearly, “If you forgave, why are you rehashing the wrong done?”

This created a conundrum. If pain knifes you, how do you let it go? I discovered a simple recipe for forgiveness.

McClain’s Recipe for Forgiveness

  1. Every time the hurt resurrected, I said, “I forgive.”
  2. For the first few days, I sounded like a yogi chanting on steroids perseverating, “I forgive.” “I forgive.” “I…” Eventually, the memory faded because I didn’t feed it any longer.
  3. If you asked me now, I couldn’t tell you what the injury was. I’m not best friends with the perpetrator. However, I do not avoid him and don’t bring him home with me any longer.

As I’ve said in other blogs, some of us have been cruelly abused. Forgiveness in no way condones the evil actions of others. It sets YOU free. For those issues beyond the day to day–spousal abuse, rape, incest, fill in the blank–see a counselor.

Don’t ruin your life holding grudges. Be a broken record. Say, “I forgive” every time the offence arises in your mind. The pain will fade with the memory, and you’ll be free to love this glorious life.



  1. Tina says:

    Not only does forgiveness free us from emotional pain. It opens doors for God to reveal truths of his purposes that have been hidden from us. Revelation of how he redeems pain in our lives and others.

  2. Cynthia says:

    So true, Carol. Forgiveness is vitally important in our lives. And God will supply the grace we need to let go…
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Carol McClain says:

      Indeed, God makes it possible. Again, forgiveness has to do with freeing us, first. It can also release a repentant offender.

  3. tammy cordery says:

    Thank you Carol for this. I need it so badly you don’t know. I will try to do this.

    • Carol McClain says:

      I learned the trick from a Christian singer popular in the 80s–Honeytree. It works for me. I am now using it on myself to remind myself I am forgiven, I am beautiful and without flaw according to Songs of Solomon.

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