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We pray to God to give us the willingness to let go of these poisonous, venomous feelings -- for God to wash them away with the spirit of forgiveness and love. In praying to become willing to let go in this way, we do not have to admit that those who wronged us are right.


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We do not have to forget our histories and our pain. We only need to ask God to do what only God can do: to remove hatred from our hearts and replace it with love, that we might live more peacefully and comfortably. And so we pray: "Gracious God, we ask that you accept these names as we lift them up and grant us the willingness to forgive each of these.

Action Steps

And likewise, filled with the loving Spirit of God, we lift up the names of those we know we have harmed -- friends and family members, employers and employees, and all other people, and institutions, and organizations we have exploited, injured and otherwise done damage to. We ask God to help us to accept and own our responsibility in each of these damaged relationships.

We accept responsibility both for our sins of commission -- all the ways we have actively caused damage and destruction -- as well as for our sins of omission -- the ways we have caused harm through our absence physical or emotional while in the grip of our addictions and compulsions. Having done all this, we make our list of those we have harmed, and we pray: "Gracious God, we ask that you accept these names as we lift them up and grant us the willingness to make amends to each of these.

The 12 Steps Of Forgiveness | 4 little Fergusons

We ask God to help us to do the right thing in repairing the damage done in our pasts, as God opens our hearts to enable us to forgive those who have hurt us. We follow Paul's instructions to the Ephesians: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" Ephesians Having again turned our will, our lives, and now our resentments and anger over to the care of God, we prepare for God to work wonders in us, preparing us to take the Ninth Step and make direct amends to those we have harmed.

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The Twelve Steps of Forgiveness

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I'm so consumed with rage and hatred, I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive him. He's still beating you up. Kevin was not telling his sister to simply "forgive and forget. Forgiveness is "the road from resentment to connection," she added, quoting another writer.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says resentment destroys more alcoholics than anything else because deep resentment leads to futility and unhappiness and shuts us off from the "sunlight of the Spirit. Ideally, the offender will also work hard to earn forgiveness through sincere and generous acts of restitution and repentance—what those in recovery circles call "making amends. As people recovering from addiction often discover, genuine forgiveness is an internal process that can occur with or without anyone else's knowledge or participation.

When you practice the art of forgiveness, you may reconnect with another person or community, or you may reconnect with parts of yourself that get shoved aside when bitterness takes over. Most alcoholics know guilt, shame, remorse, and self-loathing intimately. To rid themselves of those feelings, they come to accept that they are imperfect beings worthy of forgiveness. Understanding that we are more than our transgressions helps us see beyond the transgressions of others. It is also important to look objectively at a situation to determine what you or other factors e.

You may then see the problem from the other person's point of view and choose not to be offended, or you may choose to engage in a healthy and respectful dialogue in an attempt to heal the relationship. It is always important to protect yourself. If it is in your own best interests to discontinue the relationship, or if the person with whom you are in conflict is dead, some experts suggest writing an "unsent letter" in which you express your hurt and feelings, yet proclaim your forgiveness.

You can even burn the letter as a symbolic act of releasing your resentment. Kevin discovered that he could forgive his father, yet still be mad at him for abusing his sister and him. As Lerner pointed out, forgiveness can exist simultaneously with anger, just as joy can exist in the midst of grief.