Five Key Steps to Forgiveness

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It can be hard to ask for forgiveness, but pursuing reconciliation is always worth it.

1. Become soft and tender with the person.

The first step is to become soft in your mind and spirit. Lower your voice and relax your facial expressions. This reflects honor and humility; and as Proverbs 15:1 suggests, “A gentle answer turns away anger.”

2. Understand, as much as possible, what the other person has endured.

It’s important to genuinely understand the pain your mate feels and how she has interpreted your offensive behavior. Ask for her interpretation of what occurred. The goal is to listen and understand what your mate is feeling. Resist defending yourself, lecturing, or questioning why she did or didn’t do something.

3. Admit the person has been wounded and admit any wrong in provoking that hurt.

The third step is to take ownership of your offensive behavior. A person feels valuable when she hears you admit your mistake, and sees that you understand how she feels. Sometimes this is all it takes to open a closed spirit.

4. Touch the person gently.

If you try to touch someone with a spirit knotted in anger, you will find out just how deep the hurt is. The first response may very well be a stiffening or pulling away, but persistent softness expressed in meaningful touches, like the gentle massage of a knotted muscle, can go a long way toward draining anger and negative feelings.

5. Seek forgiveness and wait for a response.

The final step is to give the person the opportunity to respond to your confession. Ask if she could find it in her heart to forgive you. You’ll know true restoration has occurred when forgiveness is granted and she allows you to touch her.

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