My words were not gentle - the Bible clearly says to speak gently, especially when trying to restore a brother (in this case sister) to the Lord. I hadn't organized my thoughts (meaning write them down) and they all came rushing out. Rushed speech from me usually sounds harsh.
Seeking forgiveness is a quick way to change, at least for me. I don't enjoy the process, the convictions, the waiting to go to the person. I am thankful for it - as it indicates God is working within me.
I used to ignore the need to ask forgiveness. I would be extra kind to the person to "make up" for how I treated them in the past. I might apologize - which only points to how sorry I am for knowing I was trespassing on the other, but did it anyway. It isn't repenting, in hopes to not sin in that way again.
Points of forgiveness:
- Ask forgiveness - from the other person and from God.
- Admit guilt of sin and state sin.
- Put yourself at the mercy of the other person - a humble position.
- Seek to restore the relationship - with others and God.
Once forgiveness is granted, don't allow guilt to hang on - there is no condemnation in Christ. Lingering guilt dishonors God. If the other person evokes guilt to try to manipulate you - they are in the wrong - both that their forgiveness wasn't genuine and they are attempting to make you to use works for their self serving desires.
Seeking forgiveness doesn't mean there's no acts to do. It doesn't mean the consequences of my sin is absolved. Some sins have lifelong consequences that just don't go away. But in all - God will redeem.