June 22, 2011

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
      but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Proverbs 17:9

There is in fact a twelve step program for those dealing with the issue of offering forgiveness to another.  I believe it works but is a process and takes time to complete. Please be aware that I am currently under-going this process and quite often fall “off the wagon”. I then only find myself having to start all over again.





Twelve steps to Forgiveness

Step 1: Start by asking God to bring those to mind that you need to forgive.  This list should include everyone (past and present) you have had issues with or have caused you pain. 
Step 2:  You must acknowledge the hurt AND the hate.  For each name on the list, write down specifically what it is that needs to be forgiven.  (Example: rejection, abuse, lack of love, betrayal, injustice) Remember as you are recalling these past hurts, that it is not a sin to acknowledge the reality of your emotions.  God knows your heart, your thoughts and your feelings toward that person.  True forgiveness starts in the heart when all issues are dealt with and not buried.
Step 3: Understand the true magnitude of the Cross.  Because of the cross, forgiveness is morally and legally right.   When Jesus died upon the cross, He took the sins of not only those that have hurt you but your own sin as well.  Justice is found in the cross.
Step 4: Accept that you will have to live out the consequence of the sin of someone else.  This means that you cannot retaliate.  You cannot throw their sin back in their face at a later time. 
Step 5:  Forgiveness is a crisis of the will that means that you have to decide that you will forgive.  You may not feel like forgiving but God requires it.  He will enable you to do it if you truly seek forgiveness with all of your heart. 
Step 6: Take you names before God and pray.  Pray specifically for each person until each and every hurt is covered and brought before the Lord.  Don’t just pray, “I forgive so and so”.  Address each hurt.
Step 7:  Destroy the list.  Light it on fire and let it go.  You are now free.  There is no need to tell anyone what you have done.  This is between you and God.  Your freedom comes from Him alone!
Step 8: Accept that though you have chosen to forgive this person/persons that there may not be significant changes in their life.  Instead, choose to pray for them that they may find the same forgiveness you have found.
Step 9: Take the time to understand those you have chosen to forgive.  Don’t rationalize their behavior but try understanding that they may be dealing with pain too.
Step 10: Expect only the positive.  In time, those people will no longer trigger an emotion of pain.  It does not mean that you will like those who have abused you but you are totally free of them.  It also does not mean that those feelings may not try to resurface but if they do, thank God for His provision.  You have dealt with the issue now let it go!
Step 11: Thank God for every lesson you have learned throughout your journey.  Thank Him for the maturity you have acquired through your choice to forgive.
Step 12: Be sure to accept your share of the blame for the offense that you dealt with and confess your failure to God and those you have offended.

Remember that you are the only one on this planet who can keep you from being the person that God created you to be.  Everything and everyone else can only be used as obstacles to throw us off course. 

There are three kinds of people: “Some are blind and need to be led to Jesus.  Others see people like trees.  They scratch one another or compare their leaves with one another.  But we are not trees.  We are children of God who are created in His image. “  Neil Anderson

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