Friday, March 07, 2008

God Will Help You Forgive

God Will Help You Forgive

It is possible to heal and love again after being hurt.

By: Whitney Hopler, Live It Channel editor

 

When someone else's wrong words or actions harm you, the

sting can be intense.  A friend who gossips, a neighbor

who steals, a spouse who moves out, a bully who taunts,

a co-worker who lies - all can hurt terribly.

 

God wants you to forgive those who hurt you (Matt 6:14).

In fact, He commands that you do so.  Why?  Because if

you don't, bitterness will poison you, but if you do,

you can grow in love.

 

Here are some ways you can forgive others:

 

*  Admit and confront the pain you incur when others wound you.

 

*  Rely on God's power to forgive.  Know that God will enable

   you to forgive anyone who has inflicted any type of wound

   on you, and have confidence in God's power to heal you.

   Realize that forgiveness will likely take time, but that

   it is always possible.  Trust God, and expect Him to act.

 

*  Remember how God has forgiven you.  Think about what Christ

   did for you on the cross, and recall the times God has

   answered your prayers. Thank God for His great love for

   you, and ask Him to help you forgive through the power

   of His love.

 

*  Pray about a particular hurtful incident soon after it

   occurs, seeking to forgive.  Remember that God has warned

   that your own prayers will be blocked if you don't forgive

   others, and that evil will gain access to your life.  Don't

   wait until you feel like forgiving; that may never happen.

   Instead, act out of obedience, and God will gradually

   send you peace.

 

*  Surrender any plans to take revenge.  Be willing to pay

   the cost of forgiveness to receive its priceless benefits.

 

*  Understand that forgiving an offender doesn't mean that

   you endorse the offense.  What happened was wrong, and

   your forgiveness won't change that.  But it will enable

   you to break free of your pain and heal, and it will

   release the offender from any obligation incurred due

   to the offense.

 

*  Strive to channel your energy when thinking of an offense

   in positive - rather than negative - ways.  Instead of

   using energy to nurse resentment, use it to think of

   creative solutions to the problem and ways to improve

   your relationship with the person who hurt you.

 

*  Don't make your forgiveness contingent on whether the

   offender responds positively to your efforts.  He or

   she may even be hostile, but God still wants you to

   forgive, and you can still benefit greatly from doing so.

 

*  Release your pain to God in prayer, and destroy any records

   of the offense so you won't use them to dwell on it.

 

*  If the person you need to forgive is yourself, ask God

   to give you a vision of how He sees you, and embrace

   His love.  Confess any sins you haven't yet confessed

   to God, repent of them, and accept His forgiveness,

   knowing that once you do you are truly forgiven and

   don't need to fear that those sins will stand between

   you and God.

 

*  After you forgive someone, guard your heart, since it

   may take a while before you're able to find emotional

   peace.  Take a bit of time to isolate yourself from

   the person and the situation that caused the offense,

   but make sure that's only a temporary way to find

   emotional peace, not a habit to disguise festering

   resentment.  Realize that you don't have to resume

   your former relationship with the person as if nothing

   ever happened; and in fact, sometimes reconciliation

   doesn't work.  But recognize that peace is always

   possible, and that reconciliation may work if the

   person is willing to pursue it.

 

*  When seeking reconciliation with someone, let him or

   her know of your love, emphasize the positive aspects

   of your relationship, discuss the offense specifically

   and honestly, listen to what the person has to say

   and consider it, challenge the person to change and

   commit yourself to change and be patient.

 

*  Pray for the people who have hurt you - whether you're

   reconciled to them or not - and ask God to give you

   the grace to interact gracefully with them when you

   encounter them.

 

 

Adapted from Forgive and Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships,

copyright 1991 by John Nieder and Thomas M. Thompson.  Published by

Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Ore., www.harvesthousepubl.com,

1-888-501-6991.

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