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13 Steps to Forgiving the Unforgivable

By 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 them for.

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.

7. Imagine 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.

9. 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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Copyright (c) 2002 . Used by permission. More from New Life Ministries

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