13 Steps to Forgiving the Unforgivable
Dr. Charles Stanley
from the book "The Gift of Forgiveness"
-- 1. Understand that forgiveness is not: Justifying, understanding, or
explaining why the person acted toward you as he or she did. Just forgetting about
the offense and trusting time to take care of it. Asking God to forgive the person
who hurt you. Asking God to forgive you for being angry or resentful against the
person who offended you. Denying that you were really hurt; after all there are
others who have suffered more.
2. Understand that it is often unwise to
forgive face to face. This tends to make the other person feel "put down" and
make you look holier-than-thou.
3. Select a time and place when you can
be alone for a season of time.
4. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bring
to your mind all the people you need to forgive and the events you need to forgive
5. Make a list of everything the Holy Spirit brings to your mind,
even if it seems trivial to you. (Do not rush through this step: allow the Holy
Spirit all the time He needs to speak to you.)
6. Take two chairs and arrange
them facing each other. Seat yourself in one of the chairs.
that the first person on your list is sitting in the other chair. Disclose everything
you can remember that the person has done to hurt you. Do not hold back the tears
or the emotions that accompany the confessions.
8. Choose by an act of
your will to forgive that person once and for all time. You may not feel like
being forgiving. That's all right. Just do it and the feelings will follow. God
will take care of that. Do not doubt what you have done is real and valid.
Release the person from the debt you feel is owed you for the offense. Say, "You
are free and forgiven."
10. If the person is still a part of your life,
now is a good time to accept the individual without wanting to change aspects
of their personality or behavior.
11. Thank the Lord for using each person
as a tool in your life to deepen your insight into His grace and conforming you
to the image of His Son.
12. Pray. This is a suggested prayer to pray
as you "talk" to each person: Because I am forgiven and accepted by Christ, I
can now forgive and accept you, _____________, unconditionally in Christ. I choose
now to forgive you, _____________, no matter what you did to me. I release you
from the hurts (take time to name the hurts), and you are no longer accountable
to me for them. You are free.
13. When you have finished praying through
the hurts you have suffered, pray this prayer of faith: "Lord Jesus, by faith,
I receive Your unconditional love and acceptance in the place of this hurt, and
I trust You to meet all my needs, I take authority over the Enemy, and in the
name of Jesus, I take back the ground I have allowed Satan to gain in my life
because of my attitude toward _____________. Right now I give this ground back
to the Lord Jesus Christ to whom it rightfully belongs."
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