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TITLE: 4 Stages of Forgiving
TEXT: Mark 11:25-26
PROPOSITION: Forgiveness is a part of praying.
KEY WORD: Stages
  1. This outline is a logical study developed from the book, Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, by Lewis B. Smedes; Harper and Row, 1984.
We Hurt
  1. Personal Pain.
  2. Unfair Pain.
    1. People hurt us because they think we deserve it.
    2. People hurt us compulsively.
    3. People hurt us with the spillover of their problems.
      1. Children hurt in a divorce.
      2. People caught in the crossfire.
    4. People hurt us with their good intentions.
    5. People hurt us by their mistakes.
  3. Shallow Pain.
    1. Annoyances.
    2. Slights.
    3. Disappointments.
    4. Coming in Second.
  4. Deep Pain.
    1. Betrayal.
    2. Brutality.
We Hate
  1. Passive hate - Avoid, no contact, not speak to them.
  2. Aggressive hate - Harm them, gossip, tell others of their wrong
  3. Some things that make hate hard to cure.
    1. It is people, not merely evil, that we hate.
    2. We most often aim our hatred at people who live within the circle of our committed love.
    3. We hate the people we blame.
    4. Holy Hatred. "Righteous Indignation"
We Heal Ourselves
  1. "Forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well."
  2. "We cannot pry the wrongdoer loose from the wrong; we can only release the person from our memory of the wrong."
We Come Together - Re-establish happiness or friendship
  1. They must truly understand the reality of what they did to hurt you.
  2. They must be truthful with the feelings you have.
  3. They must be truthful in listening to you.
  4. They ought to be truthful about your future together.

Some nice things forgiving is NOT
    1. Forgiving is not forgetting.
    2. Excusing is not forgiving.
    3. Forgiving is not the same as smothering conflict.
    4. Accepting people is not forgiving them.
    5. We accept people because of the good people they are.
    6. We forgive people because of the bad things they did.
    7. We accept people - Socially, Professionally, Personally,
    8. Forgiving is not tolerance.

"It is hard to forgive people we cannot see, or touch, or maybe even know. It is also hard to forgive people who do not care whether we forgive them or not. It is hard to forgive people because they seem too evil to be forgiven. And it may be hardest of all to forgive ourselves."

Forgiving the invisible people
        A. The person who died or can't be located.
        B. The invisible ghost behind the organization.
      1. "Organizations have little grace. They can knock you down, drag you across a bed of nails, throw your remains into the street, and, just before you hit the pavement, hand you a ten dollar plaque with your name on it to show the company's gratitude."
      2. You end up hating an impersonal organization.
        C. People badly out of focus. (Never "get the picture" of who wronged us.)

Forgiving people who do not care - will not repent
Repenting is a four-storied mountain.
A.        The level of perception.
B.        The level of feeling.
C.        The level of confession.
D.        The level of promise.

Forgiving ourselves
    1. The first thing we need is honesty.
    2. You need a clear head to make way for your forgiving heart.
    3. Self-esteem is not the same as self-forgiveness.
    4. You also need courage.
    5. You need to be concrete.
    6. You need to confirm your outrageous acts of self-forgiveness with a reckless act of love.

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