We’re continuing in our forgiveness series today, moving from my last post, “How to Grieve Offenses” to examining our misperceptions and seeking the perspective that only Christ can bring.
Bear in mind that we’re still dealing with expressing our hurt to God alone. The need to set boundaries with your offender is certainly necessary, but we’re not dealing with that part of the process today. We’re focusing on the healing God wants to do in our own hearts and minds.
Begin this exercise with prayer – asking God to bring to your mind any false beliefs or misunderstandings you’ve harbored. Choose a time and place that is secluded and free of interruptions or time constraints.
It’s helpful to write out your answers to the following, since this provides insights that you can reflect on later. But keeping a prayerful focus, whether you write or speak your prayers, is the most important thing.
- What have you told yourself was the reason your offender acted in this hurtful way?
- Which of the losses you listed (in “Processing the Pain” #2) do you see God using to bring about a different or better result in your life? And what specifically are the better results?
- In what ways have you refused to allow God to redeem your hurt and turn it into a benefit in your life? And why?
- What fears or dysfunctions might have fueled your offender’s hurtful actions?
- Based on your knowledge of your offender, why do you think s/he has these dysfunctions or fears?
- What might your offender have been trying to do for him/herself that did not include hurting you?
- What ideally would you like to see your offender do to make things better or right with you?
- What does your offender not have the power to change in this hurtful situation?
- What do you not have the power to change in this situation?
- In what harmful or negative ways have you reacted to your offender regarding this issue? (Consider thoughts as well as actions here)
- What are some specific angry thoughts you’ve repeatedly ruminated on (over the past months, years) regarding your offender?
- What sins of your offender against you have been similar to sins you’ve committed in your lifetime?
- What are the lies you’ve told yourself or assumptions you’ve made regarding this person and his/her actions against you?
- What are the lies/justifications you’ve told yourself about your own negative reactions and sins toward this person?
- How do you think Christ feels about your resentful thoughts and actions toward this person, and what do you think He wants you to do with His help? (Refer to Matt. 18:21-35, Luke 6:27-42, Eph. 4:31)
- How ready do are you to forgive your offender, accept the consequences of his/her actions against you, and surrender his/her debt to God—trusting Him to provide, protect and comfort you?
- Write out a prayer of forgiveness to God about your offender. Imagine offering your offender’s offenses and hurts to God. Lay the problems at His feet and commit to trusting Him to take care of you, your offender, and the problem from now on.
You’ll most likely have to work through this process repeatedly at first, especially if your offender continues to re-offend you …
But as you begin to regularly replace your faulty beliefs and fears with God’s perspective, grace and compassion, you’ll gain a greater capacity to understand, empathize and accept your offender.
If you’ve repeatedly prayed and processed through this inventory, but still feel intense anger toward your offender, then you’re probably in need of the guidance and support that a good, Christian counselor, life coach or pastor can provide.
What do you struggle to accept or understand regarding your offender’s offenses against you?
What truths about Christ have helped you to surrender your hurt and the conflict to Him?
If you’d like for me to pray for you but want your requests kept private, email me at email@example.com
Click the link to read more posts in this Forgiveness Series.