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Not only did Jesus tell us to forgive, but He also shows us how to forgive. Let's take a look at four keys to releasing true forgiveness that Jesus gave us. These keys are all found in Matthew:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
(Matt. 5:44)
Key #1: Love
First of all, Jesus said to love your enemies. You are able to do that because the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5). By faith, you can say, "Lord, I love so-and-so and choose to forgive him (or her) in Jesus' name."

One thing that has helped me grow in love is to regularly meditate on the Amplified Version of First Corinthians:
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is every ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
(1 Cor. 13:4-8)
Wherever this passage of Scripture says love, we can insert our name there and apply its truth personally to our lives. For example, I can say, "Kate is not touchy or fretful or resentful; Kate takes no account of the evil done to her," etc. We can truthfully say this because the love of God resides within us.

Key #2: Bless
The second thing Jesus told us to do in Matthew 5:44 concerning those who have hurt us is to bless them. The word bless in the Hebrew means "to speak well of." Every time the devil reminds you of the people who have hurt you, just make a practice of saying, "Lord, bless them abundantly." Say something positive about them. Confess God's promises of blessing over them.

This particular key is probably the most difficult one of all to act on: Jesus tells us to do good to those who despitefully use us and persecute us.

- Kate McVeigh

For instance, you could say, "The Holy Spirit is at work in so-and-so's life right now to teach him His ways. All hindrances are being removed from his life so he can be blessed going in and coming out!"

I know this isn't always easy, but Jesus wouldn't tell you to do something that you couldn't do.

Key #3: Do Good
This particular key is probably the most difficult one of all to act on: Jesus tells us to do good to those who despitefully use us and persecute us.

I want to encourage you to be led by the Holy Spirit in regard to this biblical command. I realize that in some extreme cases, it is best to have no contact with the one who has hurt you. But in most cases, you can do something good in the natural for that person according to the law of love.

That's the power of walking in love instead of taking offense!

Key #4: Pray
The final key found in Matthew 5:44 is to pray for those who have wronged us. In fact, the best way you can truly forgive your enemies is to pray for them.

I learned this early in my Christian walk. You see, when I was first saved, I was so on fire for the Lord that I witnessed to everyone in my high school who would listen. I wanted everyone to get saved.

Everyone, that is, except for one person. A girl in my school had caused me great hurt and pain in the past. To be very honest with you, I didn't care if she every got saved! My mother knew I was holding bitterness in my heart toward this girl. So Mom told me about a book she had read by Oral Roberts.

In his book, Oral Roberts talked about forgiveness and praying for one's enemies. My mom related to me one important key that Brother Roberts stressed: If a person prays for his enemies, his feelings will eventually line up with the love of God in his heart. So I decided to follow Brother Roberts' advice and pray for this girl every day. It wasn't long before I began to feel a real love for her. I knew in my heart that I had truly forgiven her.

One day, not long after I started praying for this girl, she showed up at my house. I was definitely surprised to see her standing on my front porch!

The girl said to me, "I just happened to be in your neighborhood and wanted to ask you what has happened to you? You've really changed."

"I asked Jesus to be my Savior," I replied. "Jesus opened my eyes and filled me with His love."

That afternoon I was able to pray with that girl who had hurt me so much in the past. She was gloriously saved and filled with the Holy Ghost right there in my house!

The girl also told me that she had a problem with her knee that was going to require surgery. So I laid hands on her to pray, and the power of God hit her so hard that she fell to the floor. When she got up, she was totally healed!

You see, when you pray for someone who has hurt you, you open the door for the Lord to do something great in your behalf. You have chosen to go love's way - God's higher way - and that causes you to rise above offenses until they have no more power to affect your life.

Source: Get Over It: Overcoming the Enemy's Strategy of Offense by Kate McVeigh
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Kate McVeigh
Web site: Kate McVeigh Ministries
With a heart to help people discover who they are in Christ, Kate McVeigh is one of the most sought after female speakers in America today. Combining her personal experiences with down-to-earth teaching of the Word, she shows people how to become all that God has called them to be.

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