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Forgiving is by far the most difficult part of this entire process, but it's also very powerful and it's very rewarding.  

When someone hurts us, we go into a self-defense mode to protect ourselves.  We naturally get upset because someone wronged us and we tend to hold a grudge until the wrong is corrected.  But this holds anger inside, and it does nothing to help the issue, it only hurts us.  Think of a guy driving with road rage who is nearly giving himself a heart attack, while everyone else is unaffected.  Like the guy with road rage, we are only hurting ourselves.  Realize that unforgiveness turns to bitterness, and bitterness makes us feel angry, causes stress, and can even make us sick.  It causes us to act in ways that are out of our character.  Hebrews 12:15 warns that bitterness leads to trouble and many will become defiled by it. 

So we need to understand that the best thing we can do is to release this anger by forgiving.

It releases negativity and frees us from imprisonment.  In addition, God commands it from us.  Jesus tells a parable of a Master who rescinds his decision to forgive his servant because the servant doesn't forgive another man (Matthew 18:21-35).  We must forgive others in order to be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).  Get into the habit of forgiving everyone for everything and practice it all the time.  Releasing all the unforgiveness from inside you is the key to freeing your heart.  

How to forgive:

First, trust in the Lord to get justice.  God is just and will get justice for us.  Also, understand that if we get revenge, we not only sin but we leave no room for God's wrath (Romans 12:19)

  • Realize unforgiveness does you no good, and actually does you harm

  • Realize unforgiveness darkens our heart & blocks us from the Lord

  • Realize that it's the best way (and only way) to move forward

  • Purposely and intentionally choose to let things go from your mind and your heart 

  • Pray to the Lord, forgive and ask Him to get justice for you (see example)

Our Father in Heaven, I come to you to forgive ​+++ for +++.  I feel that I have the right to be angry and to get revenge.  But I choose to forgive, just as you have forgiven me.  If +++ knowingly did any wrong to me, I turn this person over to you for justice.  I know that you are a just God and I trust that you will get justice for me.  

If there is still a lot of pain or emotion with this transgression, ask Jesus to take it from you and hang it on the cross with him, until you are at a better time to deal with it appropriately.

Don't forget that we must also forgive ourselves.  The Lord wants us to turn to him, confess our sins to him, change our ways, and move on.  We are not to dwell in the past with our sins.  The Devil wants you to remember you sin, feel guilty and unworthy.  The Lord forgives us,  and he chooses not to remember our sins (Isaiah 43:25).  Therefore, we are to move on from our past and live in the moment.

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