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Q: I find when my thinking is at a higher spiritual level, things work out by themselves—no need to worry, be stressed, etc. Miracles do happen by themselves! The problem I have is with forgiveness. I think I forgive people who have wronged me in the past, but I don't forget. Sometimes these people whom I have forgiven will do or say something that takes me back to maybe what they did years ago, and those old feelings creep back. I feel as though when I forgive them and show love, they go back to their bad behaviors, and then I go back to remembering. I feel negative thoughts about them, ill feelings creep back, and then I question whether I really forgave them to begin with. Unfortunately, these people are family, so I just cannot stop talking to them, although I have tried. It seems I missed something reading about forgiveness. What is the problem? What should I do? Another thing about forgiveness: How do you forgive someone who is no longer living? Thanks for any advice you can offer me.

— Carol K., Arlington, Virginia

Dear Carol,

Family relationships trigger childhood wounds, and those wounds often trump our rational thinking. We can't "rationally" transcend the kind of primal pain that such relationships can arouse.

Such issues are often our motivation for taking a deeper spiritual journey into the heart of God's love. I recommend that you take every person with whom you have a forgiveness issue and pray for his or her happiness for a minimum of five minutes every day. Do this for at least 30 days, and definitely pray for them and for your relationship with them whenever you are about to see them. Actually visualize God's arms around them, and around you both.

And yes, these issues apply no differently to people who have died. For in God there is no death.

Marianne

Every week, Marianne will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your questions now!

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer who has published several books, including New York Times best-sellers A Return to Love and Everyday Grace. A popular guest on numerous television programs such asThe Oprah Winfrey Show and ABC's Good Morning America, Marianne has lectured professionally since 1983. For more information, visit her official website.

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