Resource Sheet 4 - Forgiveness
OPTION OR NECESSITY?
The following chart provides an opportunity for you to map out where you are with some personal unforgiveness in your life.
Read the instructions, print the page, and complete each column as honestly as you can.
In column A, make a list of people toward whom you feel some degree of unforgiveness in each category.
Offenses for which we judge others in unforgiveness
A. Person toward whom you feel unforgiving
B. Have you clearly defined your boundaries?
C. Has accountability been established?
D. Are you willing to choose to forgive?
Disloyalty from a friend
Betrayal from a spouse/relative
Abuse from a family member
Deceit of a co-worker
Hurt from a stranger/group
Consider how well-equipped you are to deal with each of these unforgivenesses listed above. Have you clearly defined the boundaries of what you are willing to tolerate from the situation? For each issue above, place a Yes or No in the box in column B. If you answered Yes, write out below a clear statement of your position, considering what you must do to protect yourself against further abuse without being vindictive toward the other person.
To avoid my continuing to be hurt, I must:
All of us must bear responsibility for ways in which we contribute to broken relationships or hurtful situations. However, one cannot assume responsibility for another person's attitude or behaviour. Do you clearly understand how this person who hurt you must personally be accountable for his/her actions? For each issue above, place a Yes or No in the box in column C. If you have been unwisely assuming responsibility for other people, how can you withdraw from assuming that burden?
Are you willing to begin the process of forgiving the persons who hurt you, no matter what their response might be? For each issue above, place a Yes or No in the box in column D.
Find Reactive Sins - What usually holds us in bondage is our unresolved reactive sins. We need to ask ourselves, "How did I react?" e.g. with anger, hatred, revenge, judgment, self pity, resentment etc.
Sin - Grudge Held
No of Times
My Reactive Sins
No of Times
Repent of Reactive Sins - Pray for gift of repentance (2 Tim 2:25). Confess reactive sins (Matthew 7:3).
For love of Jesus, forgive - Invite Jesus into the past painful situation and with Him in it beside you, say, "X, because my relationship with Jesus is all important to me and I want nothing to affect that, for His sake I forgive you/I am willing to forgive you". (Mark 11:25).
For love of Jesus, ask for forgiveness - "Because I want nothing to break my relationship with Jesus. X, I ask you to forgive me for my wrong attitudes of.........................toward you". (Luke 11:4).
Prayer of Release - "Lord, I now release X from my wrong attitudes and harmful thoughts to You, who judges fairly." (Matt 18:18; 1 Peter 2:23).
Prayer for Release - "Lord please release me from all the effects of the emotional, physical and spiritual hurts I have received from X, and from the effects of my reactions to them". (Matthew 18:18).
Prayer of Blessing - Pray a special blessing over X's life. (Matthew 5:43-48).
See through Jesus' Eyes of Love - Ask Jesus to give you a new revelation enabling you to see X and the whole situation through Jesus' eyes. Make any restitution necessary.
List the Positives - List some positives changes and lessons learnt from the Lord through this painful experience (Romans 8:28).
Be quick to Confess - Because you are now aware of your reactive sins attached to a particular memory situation, choose to refuse to go down that track again. Quickly confess and so continue protect your love relationship with the Lord.
Share your responses above with a friend of with your group members. Choose one of the situations you face and define the positive and negative aspects of being forgiving in that particular situation. Consider the law of sowing and reaping and then write your thoughts below.
What will I reap if I choose to forgive?
What will I reap if I don't choose to forgive?
Read the prayer below and apply it to a specific situation in your life in which you are choosing forgiveness.
Lord of the Universe, Make of Heaven and Earth, Author of All Life, Righteous Loving Father,
Thank You for Your wisdom in giving us the unchangeable laws of nature and the immutable spiritual principles which govern human behaviour.
Help me to realize that I will reap what I sow and that the path of unforgiveness in my life will lead to destruction and isolation from You and from others. Forgive me when I rebel against Your shepherding and seek my selfish will over Your loving provision.
I ask for strength to bear up under my wounding, the grace to choose to forgive, the wisdom to allow others to be accountable for their, actions, and the courage to repentantly confess my own sins.
Help me to see that I do not have to accomplish forgiveness on my own - that You are my living Father who is there to bring me into refreshing nee relationships through the power of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for me on the cross.
(From John and Paula Sandford and Norm Bowman, "Choosing forgiveness", p. 20 - 22)
DEALING WITH REACTIVE SIN
FORGIVENESS IS NOT/IS
Forgiveness is not tolerance
Forgiveness is not pretending
Forgiveness is not forgetting
Forgiveness is not generosity of spirit
Forgiveness is not turning the other cheek
Forgiveness is not looking the other way
Forgiveness is not making a joke of a wrong
Forgiveness is not politeness or tactfulness
Forgiveness is not diplomacy
Forgiveness is not passive non-response
Forgiveness is something much deeper!
Forgiveness is a deliberate act of the will
Forgiveness is a full pardon
Forgiveness is a substitutional act
Forgiveness is obedience to God's Word
Forgiveness is an act of love
Forgiveness is the key to freedom
(From Liberty Savard, Shattering the strongholds. p. 114)