Forgive to Live

As Becky and I dove into unchartered territory with this blog (unchartered at least for us – it is very fun to find like-minded bloggers out there on the world-wide-interwebs!), we were very excited to have a place to flesh out ideas regarding our role as ezers standing alongside our brothers in spiritual warfare, “piercing darkness with light.”  Our primary goal with TBKW blog is to facilitate dialogue on what that looks like as we each find our own calling in God’s Kingdom.  We seek to inform, reflect, create a space for conversation, and mostly, we seek to empowerWe want to lift other women up into the good deeds that God has prepared for them to do (Ephesians 2:10).  I believe that an important piece in achieving that purpose is in offering resources for spiritual growth.  I thought I should mention that as some of our posts haven’t been along the lines of gender equality and may seem out of place.  With that said, here’s another spiritual formation tool for you!

Christian-Forgiven-Quotes

The Bible study I attend has been working through Margaret Feinberg’s “Wonderstruck” study, which has been so good!, and this week we discussed the final chapter on forgiveness.  Our leader, Pastor Collette Pekar, introduced a book that she described as one of two “life-altering” books she has read (and Collette is well read!).  It is…

Forgive to Liveforgivetolive.net

On the website, you can read Chapter 1:
http://www.forgivetolive.net/aboutBook/excerpt.asp
and you can take a quiz to assess where you are on your forgiveness journey: http://www.forgivetolive.net/aboutBook/journey.asp 

And this is high praise: “Dr. Tibbits has done the research and scientifically documented the healing power of forgiveness. Read it and live!” – Harold G. Koenig, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, and author of The Healing Power of Faith.

Collette has taught from this book and passed out a handout that she developed, which summarizes the process of forgiveness as outlined in Forgive to Live.  She gave me permission to share her handout here:

Choosing a Larger Frame

The goal of forgiveness is not to forget.
The goal of forgiveness is to remember in a different way.

1. Focus on what is true from both points of view.
– What important details do you consistently leave out when you tell this story to others?
– In what specific ways would the offender’s account of this incident differ from your own?
– In what specific ways might your own actions have contributed to this incident?

Be completely honest with yourself
as you look for distortions in how you tell your story.
The more accurately you recall the offense,
the less hurtful it will become.
“The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

2. Develop empathy for the person who hurt you.
What positive qualities have you observed in the offender on other occasions?
– What do you know about this person’s background and present circumstances that might explain what happened?

Pray for the person who offended you.
“Father, forgive them,
for they don’t know what they do.” (Luke 32:34)

3. Develop humility about your own need for forgiveness.
How have you also hurt others?  Have you ever needed to be forgiven of an attitude or action of equal gravity?
– When you sought forgiveness, was it granted?
– Is the offender any less loved by God or deserving of forgiveness than you are?

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

4.  Revise your story so it accurately reflects the power and the grace of God.
– What does this event look like from God’s perspective?  Ask Him.
– What else is still true and good about your life?  What has the offender NOT taken from you?

“Whatsoever things are good, pure, and lovely,
think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

– What is the largest frame you can imagine for this story?
– What are the possible ways that God can use it for good in your life or in the lives of others?
– How can God use this to help you grow personally?
– How can God use this to help you bring glory to His reputation?
– How can God use this to help you encourage others?

Imagine telling this story
after you’ve been in heaven for 10,000 years.
“He makes all things beautiful in His time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

5. Recommit to your decision to forgive each time the memory returns.
– What truths do you already know that you’ll need to remember when this painful memory returns?

Forgiveness is not an event, but is a process.  It takes time.
When resentment resurfaces you can call upon the principles of
reframing that you have already chosen and practiced.
The more you forgive, the easier forgiving will become.

You are never more like Jesus
than when you are choosing to forgive.

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