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What we did: Hurt feelings

Difficult challenge

Life is full of hurts. If the hurt is slight, then let it pass the same day, turning the other cheek and forgiving the offender. Pray for the person and try to understand why you were targeted in such a way. Ponder the reasons for the bad feelings and discover the part you may have played in the problem and make plans to change.

Other hurts, such as spouse or child abuse, that carry deep scars take years or a lifetime to overcome. Even though you have to be separated from the offender, treat the person with a desire for his/her spiritual welfare in your thoughts and prayers, even though it may be the most difficult challenge you will ever have. At the same time, examine vulnerable patterns in yourself to help overcome further hurts from other sources.

Charity never faileth! The miracle of forgiveness will work in you so you can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring peace to yourself and all those associated with you. — Joyce B. White, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Asked for forgiveness

After my divorce, I harbored a lot of anger and hurt, and blamed my ex-husband. After several months, a dear friend who was willing to be totally honest with me said I had to ask my ex-husband's forgiveness for "my part" in breaking up our marriage. I was furious; I didn't want to take any of the responsibility; it was all his fault. After much discussion, my friend finally told me to read Matthew 5:44, which tells us, "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." The Lord's teachings in this scripture hit me hard.

I started including my ex-husband in my prayers. At first, it was through gritted teeth, and all I would ask was for the Lord to remember him. As time passed, my prayers for him became more genuine and I truly did want him to have peace and happiness in this life. The Lord was softening my heart.

Some time later, he called, needing some papers signed. I agreed to meet him. The Lord intervened. I was able to make amends to him and ask his forgiveness. Amazingly, he apologized to me and asked my forgiveness. There was no attacking or blaming from either side. We had a very positive discussion that evening and talked for several hours — bringing our relationship to a mutual closure. When we parted, the anger and hatred I had carried so long was replaced with love and compassion.

Through the power of prayer and following the teachings of our Savior, we were both able to forgive and go on with our separate lives. — Name withheld, Phoenix, Ariz.

Pray to forgive

Pray for the person who has hurt you. The first few times you try to pray for them the words may sound a little hollow in your ears, maybe even a little hypocritical. However, as you continue to pray, those feelings will be transformed into a real caring for the person's soul. You will truly hope and pray that they will repent and be forgiven. — James Southwick, Oakley, Calif.

Positive self-talk

Self-talk is a key. The entire cycle of how we feel begins with our thoughts. Self-talking is a proactive way of taking charge of your thoughts and, ultimately, of your feelings. Being offended is like being buffeted by temptation. It can happen only when we allow it to happen.

To feel hurt is natural when another has directed an attack on us. How we respond to that hurt feeling determines our ability to deal with the pain in a positive way. If we continue to self-talk with negative thoughts of anger, it would be like getting scratched or cut physically by someone, then continuing to pick at the sore they caused us. On the other hand, if we self-talk in a positive way, thinking kind thoughts, it would be like doctoring up the physical cut with effective medical treatment. In this way, we can heal. The wound will eventually disappear, just as the emotional hurt we sometimes feel. — Stan Harris, Orange Park, Fla.

Can't forgive by yourself

Sometimes, it is not so simple to forgive. I was hurt deeply one time, and could not forgive this person. No matter how hard I tried, I realized I could not do this alone. I went on my knees to my Heavenly Father and asked for help. I continued praying and reading scriptures on forgiveness. My Heavenly Father helped my heart to be softened toward the person. It took two years, but I forgave fully and completely. I never could have done it alone. — Hazel Pike, Asheville, N.C.

More compassion, mercy

Forgiveness doesn't mean to agree with the wrong deed. It means not to judge the person who did the wrong deed. We cannot make another person see and forsake his or her weaknesses. But when he or she hurts us, if we grieve, hurt and sorrow with a pure heart, our hearts are enlarged with more compassion, more understanding, more mercy. When we feel God's reassurance, love and encouragement as we struggle with our own weaknesses, it is easier to likewise be merciful to others, as God is to us. — Beverly Ann Needham, Simi, Calif.

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