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Resisting the Urge to Hit Back

When revenge tempts you, here's how to forgive completely.

I had just received a scathing letter from a couple unhappy about a situation in the youth department. Their response was carnal; they certainly didn't understand the whole situation. I hadn't yet been able to meet with them.

When I stepped up to preach that Sunday morning, I felt ungracious and carried a grudge. During my introduction, I made some ad-lib quips that gave everyone a chuckle—everyone except the couple who had sent the letter. While the congregation held their sides in laughter, this couple sat stoically, second row, center section, arms folded, eyes staring through me.

By the time I finished the sermon (with no more humor), I felt physically sick and spiritually wasted. My unforgiveness was quickly growing into bitterness and resentment.

My tendency not to forgive even insignificant offenses has forced me to think clearly about the steps I need to take to restore my relationship with God and the offender.

1. Recognize my weak spots

Most people tend to be sensitive ...

From Issue:Spring 1998: Conflict
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