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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : Charles Stanley : The Struggle With Unforgiveness

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Matthew 6:9-15

If you constantly struggle to forgive people who have wronged you, you may consider yourself incapable of that kind of forgiveness. Many people are convinced that forgiveness is simply a feeling that can be experienced in the face of conflict. What a poor understanding! True forgiveness is not a feeling, but an action. If you find it hard to forgive others, take an active role in the process by following these four guidelines:

1. Acknowledge and confess an unforgiving spirit. No, it is not always easy to forgive someone. We are sometimes the targets of tremendously hurtful offenses. However, we are not responsible for other people's behavior; we are responsible only for our own. God commanded us to be loving, forgiving people. If we are unforgiving, that is our problem and no one else's - we must repent of this sin and ask God to help our unforgiveness.

2. Release the other person. Make a conscious decision to release the offender in your mind. When you find yourself reliving the details of the upsetting behavior, force yourself to stop.

3. Forgive the offender forgetfully. When you keep the details fresh in your mind, you trap yourself in a cycle of pain. Choose instead to separate the individual from the painful memory.

4. Forgive with finality. True forgiveness is complete. This means that you cannot "forgive" someone and then continually bring the subject up. Forgive them and move on.

If you have been nursing a grudge against a specific person, ask God for the strength to forgive. Then, do it!

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