Friday, March 07, 2008

God Will Help You Forgive

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

 

 

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.

 

But God wants you to forgive those who hurt you.  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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