#17 Character Trait

Of the 26 character traits that I use to examine myself, #17 is being quick to forgive and free from bitterness. Of the 26 character traits, weakness in this one is probably responsible for most relational problems, divorce, and loneliness.  All of the character traits as we pursue them require effort, an established ritual in order to learn the skill, and a sort of rote learning in the beginning stages that seems rather mechanical.  People that I work with to help develop this character trait to improve their dysfunctional family life often fuss that what I have assigned them to do seems so mechanical.  People who have developed this character trait to maturity don’t struggle with bitterness like most people because the inner person has grown to the point that they “don’t take into account a wrong suffered”, they forgive others automatically.  Bitterness has no place to grow it’s roots into the heart of this person. But before this stage of character growth has happened the person wanting to grow in this area needs to daily confess all know sin in their own life and then identify any bitterness, even a very small root of bitterness, and then say to the Lord, “Dear Lord, forgive me of these sins that I have committed today even as I forgive everyone and anyone who has sinned against me of everything and anything they have done that has hurt me or violated my rights, and I acknowledge that if I do not forgive everyone of everything You will not forgive me”.  This little exercise faithfully done at the end of every day will probably take less than 5 minutes, and if faithfully done every night it won’t be long before that  “dry as dirt duty” will grow into a habit, which soon becomes a permanent part of our heart, we will have developed the character of Christ in us. The problem for most is they won’t remember to do this simple routine each night that is so critical to changing and growing. I call these kinds of routines, “brushing your teeth”, in that they need to be practiced with just as much faithfulness.  Type this short prayer in big font and tape it to your bathroom wall where you will see it, and do it if you want to grow.

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