“Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29, NAS).”
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NAS).”
We all need to be so heavily clothed in the spirit of humility that we are able to walk in a perpetual internal condition of forgiveness. Meaning, we are to have forgiveness readily available for those who have not yet offended us. My friend, Ruby, taught me a great technique many years ago about how to alleviate unforgiveness and judgment that we form against others. It is, figuratively speaking, to put people in “the chair.” What we do is pull a chair in front of us, pretend that the person who has hurt us (and most likely we’ve passed judgment against them) is sitting there. Then begin to tell them what they have done to hurt, offend or anger us. Once we have released our irritations, forgive them from the heart (Matthew 18:35). The next step is to confess to God and repent of all judgment against them. Then pray and ask God to apply His forgiveness for the judgment against them. This is an excellent technique. Getting our own hearts clean is our issue, not whether or not they hear our plea or receive our forgiveness or apology for what they did wrong. It really has nothing to do with the other person at all.
I have heard, “Well, I think putting people in the chair is a cop out. I should go to those people every time to repent of my unforgiveness (or whatever) directly to the one who offended me. How they react does not matter, only that I tell them what they did wrong, how it affected me, what is going on with me and that I forgive them anyway.” Clearly, there are times when we should go to a person. If the one who hurt or offended us is a friend, they should be able to listen, apologize for their action, and forgive us for whatever we’ve held in your heart against them.
That being said, if they are really a friend, the question we should ask ourselves is “why am I letting them offend me? Then ask “are they someone that would purposely hurt me?” If not, consider that they did not mean to hurt you and don’t let their misstep offend any longer. Otherwise, maybe they aren’t someone with whom you need to remain friends. You should be in control of your emotions and be slow to anger and offense (Psalm 119:165).
Please recognize and understand that putting people in the chair is strictly for the purpose of keeping our own hearts clean before God. The attitude of “I have to confront the offender” is wrong because what may seem humble on our part by confessing to the offender that we forgive them is really an act of revenge. It is having the perspective of, “I’m going to tell them what they did to me because they need to know.” However, in reality, people with this attitude just want to tell the offender what they did wrong so that they will hurt like the offended.
This person’s so called “confession” to the offender of unforgiveness and judgment is not an act of humility. In return for such a confessoin, there’s just more anger and judgment going round and round, now in both people. If the offender did not accept the so-called apology and became angry at the anger of the offended, both the offended and the offender grow ever angry. By going to the actual person, fire is being fueled when it all could have been avoided simply by keeping mouths closed and deal with personal issues in our quiet time with Yahweh. This takes genuine humility.
There may be someone who offends us (or tries to) regularly. It is not necessary to go to them every time. If we do, we simply irritate the situation by going to them and, in turn, make them angry. We then are the ones who make our brother or sister fall and the guilt lies on us. Be very careful and discerning about whom to apologize in person, and who to forgive quietly. Nine times out of ten, quietly is the best resolution. Remember, the person who has offended us may be very fragile in their heart. If we, thinking only of ourselves, go to them when they upset us, we may make them feel worse about themselves because they did not know what they did. Another scenario could be that the offender has confirmation that they accomplished their task of annoying us and they will continue all the more. Some people are full of evil spirits and its their mission to cause as much havoc on others as possible. Be careful with people. We are a fragile creation and we need tender, loving care that can only be given through obedience to Holy Spirit within.
Excerpt from Holy Spirit Who? by Alexys V. Wolf