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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Getting Rid of Anger (Part 1)

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:44-45)."

I once attended a sermon by an generally outstanding pastor. He was, at the time, also a prominent conservative politician who was on the Board of the Grossmont Union High School District. I will never forget it.

This pastor clearly was Spirit-filled. Everyone could see that he was at peace. The last I heard he had left San Diego to join a national ministry based in Washington D.C.

He told a story of having received a phone call, out of the blue, from another Christian who had been unable to forgive him for something that had happened in the past. That Christian was still struggling with unforgiveness and was trying to break free. The pastor didn't even know what the issue was about until he asked.

The pastor smiled broadly, with a look of incredulity on his face, as he addressed the congregation. Then he said something like this: "You don't go up to somebody, out of the blue, and then say 'I'm upset about so and so.' You deal with that with God. I find it difficult to hate someone I am praying for."

This pastor is both right and wrong.

He is correct in stating that praying your enemies is important; it helps you to forgive from your heart. And some people are able to forgive without ever, during their lifetime, having to go back to someone who has wronged them.

He is also incorrect: For other people, sometimes contacting an offender is appropriate. More on that later in the series.

Go to Part 2.

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