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When Faced with the Need to Forgive

Forgiving others can be difficult, but it will make you feel happier and healthier! These tips will help you to have a positive attitude about forgiveness.

By Norman Vincent Peale

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Did someone do you an injury, or perhaps say something mean about you, or treat you contemptuously? It may be just the right time now to honestly consider forgiving him. Neither the mind nor the soul nor even the body can be fully healthy when the diseased attitudes of resentment, ill will, grudges and hate take hold of a person’s life.

A New York physician says that seventy percent of his patients reveal feelings of resentment in their case histories. “Ill will and grudges help to make people sick. Forgiveness,” he says, “will do more to get them well than many pills.”

Here are some practical steps you can take to forgive someone or to develop an overall forgiving attitude:

1. Forgiveness requires a measure of perseverance. If the effort seems too difficult, hang on. In time, resentment will leave you. Jesus Christ recognized the difficulty you may have in learning to forgive. He said to “forgive seventy times seven” if necessary. To be literal, that means 490 times. Believe me, long before you have forgiven a person 490 times, you’ll be freed from your resentment.

2. Remember the harm resentment can do, not to the other person, but to you. It can even make you physically ill.

3. You will never be spiritually blessed until you forgive. This is a basic spiritual law. Goodwill cannot flow toward you unless it flows from you.

4. Thinking about forgiving is not enough. You must come to a moment when you say, “With God's help I now forgive.”

5. Repeat the Lord's Prayer, inserting your oender's name. “Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive __________________.”

6. Pray for the person you resent. Ask for specic blessings for him, especially concerning matters that would have previously annoyed you. This will have an amazing curative effect on you and perhaps have a positive effect on the other person.

7. Speak in a kindly manner as often as possible about a person against whom you harbor antagonism and animosity.

8. Study the origin of this unhappy situation. This will help you correct the mistake. Be honest and objective in looking at the part your personality played in it.

9. Ask God to remove all your resentment tendencies, to change your nature permanently to prevent future rifts. Sincerely want this, pray for it, believe you will have it. With nothing in your heart against anyone, you will be amazed at the new power and happiness that will be yours. You will be renewed and restored to a relaxed state of mind.

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Excerpted from 12 Steps to a Happy and Successful Life by Norman Vincent Peale.
Copyright © 1994 by Peale Center for Christian Living.