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1. Does remembering a particular hurtful event trigger a strong emotional reaction?
If thinking about a hurtful situation causes strong negative emotions or even physical shuddering, that suggests forgiveness is not complete. The hurt is still alive.
2. Does the stress of remembering hurtful events trigger physical reactions or discomfort?
If remembering hurtful situations results in physical symptoms, then unforgiven issues most likely remain lodged in the heart and spirit.
3. Does the painful experience bring to mind anything for which God can be praised?
We often deliver misdirected blame towards God when we think what happened to us was unfair. We need to be honest by confessing to God our anger against Him. Of course God is not guilty of anything, and He is not in need of forgiveness. Our anger and unforgiveness are our own. When unforgiveness is lodged in the heart, it is difficult to see any way God may be using the situation to bring blessing or to write wisdom to us. Afterwards, when we have achieved forgiveness, we can verbalize lessons learned and thank God for bringing us through painful experiences with a positive outcome.
4. Can the offending party be thought of with a sincere wish that good things will happen in his or her life?
Forgiveness holds no grudges and wishes no penalties of retribution. It wipes clean the slate on which we formerly kept score and allows us to wish only the best for the other person.
5. Do you have a complete sense that forgiveness really has been accomplished?
Are you being honest with yourself how you really feel? Is forgiveness coming from your heart, or do you find yourself saying something like. "I did it Lord. You told me I had to do it. I made that choice, and I am a loving and forgiving person." You need to check your feelings and symptoms.
6. Is forgiveness producing positive results?
When a lifestyle of forgiveness is effectively achieved, it will produce wonderful fruits in the ways we feel about ourselves and in the quality of relationships we are able to have with others.
The importance of forgiving ourselves.
We characteristically have the most difficulty with others when our relationship with them triggers issues for which we have not forgiven ourselves. Usually, weakness we see and criticize in others (and find most difficult to accept or forgive) are those things about which we have not forgiven ourselves, or in which we most fear being deficient. Look at what angers you in others. Look at the kind of person you just can't abide, and you will likely see something in yourself that you have been unable to forgive.
Letting go of our denial and facing the truth about ourselves is a fearful step.
Forgiveness overcoming blame.
Most marital problems are rooted in unforgiveness of parents. We transfer onto our marriage partner the job of fulfilling needs that were unfulfilled by our parents. We misdirect our angers and accusations that truly belong against our parents towards our spouses.
In our next nugget we will speak on the process of forgiveness.
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
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Richard D. Dover
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