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The Replacement Principle
Theme of the Week: Go and Be Reconciled
Ken Sande
Saturday, September 7, 2002

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The Replacement Principle
Theme of the Week: Go and Be Reconciled
Saturday, September 7

After I say "I forgive you," what if I can't keep memories of the offense from popping back into my mind?

It's difficult simply to stop thinking about an unpleasant experience. Instead, we must replace negative memories with positive thoughts.

One morning, when I woke up, I immediately thought about what Jim (not his real name) had done to me the previous day. Since I'd forgiven him, I tried to stop thinking about it. Within 15 minutes, however, the same thoughts were rolling through my mind. I pushed them aside once more, but before long there they were again. Several times later, I realized I was stuck in a rut. When I asked God to help me get rid of these feelings, the words of Philippians 4:8 came to mind. I needed to think of something about the offender that was "true and honorable and right," "pure and lovely and admirable," "excellent and worthy of praise."

"Okay" I prayed, "but I'll need your help, Lord. I don't feel like doing any of this." I began to pray for Jim, asking God to be with him and to bless his day. My thoughts then turned to other matters. When I caught myself thinking about the offense an hour later, I prayed for Jim again, this time thanking God for some of Jim's special qualities. This process repeated itself many times during the next two days. After finding one good memory, I found that others came more easily. Then I discovered something amazing. Whenever Jim came to my mind, my thoughts were automatically positive, and no longer gravitated toward the offense he'd committed.

—Ken Sande, an attorney, is the executive director of Peacemaker Ministries

Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1997. All rights to this material are reserved. materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company."

September/October 2002, Vol. 5, No. 5

Prayer for the Week
Merciful Father, You sent Your son to reconcile us while we were in rebellion. Make me willing to patch things up with those who've offended me.

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