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The Transforming Power of Forgiveness: How to become a more forgiving person

The Transforming Power of Forgiveness: How to become a more forgiving person

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The Transforming Power of Forgiveness: How to become a more forgiving person

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  1. The Transforming Power of Forgiveness:How to become a more forgiving person Session 3

  2. Martin’s E-Mail:

  3. Time For Review! • Session 1 – We looked at the way Scriptures portray forgiveness. • Session 2 – We looked at two ways to define forgiveness (decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness). We also began to talk about the hurts we identified as our target transgressions.

  4. Five Steps to REACH Forgiveness • R = Recall the hurt (in a different way). • E = Empathize with the person who hurt you. (emotionally replace the negative with positive like empathy, sympathy, compassion, love.) • A = Altruistic gift to the person who hurt you. (altruistic forgiveness is experienced for the good of the offender, not merely for the good of the forgiver). • C = Commit to forgiveness. • H = Hold on to your forgiveness (even when doubts occur).

  5. Worthington, E. (1997). Promoting Forgiveness in Clinical Practice. AACC World Conference on Christian Counseling Hold On Commitment Altruistic Gift Empathize Remember the Hurt

  6. Session 3Recalling The Hurt(In helpful ways) In this session we will explore the hurts from our target transgression further and begin to look at them differently than we might have in the past.

  7. Goal of Session 3 To tell the story of how we were hurt or offended and then try to look at the story differently — • through God’s eyes, • through the eyes of an objective observer, and • through the eyes of the person who hurt us.

  8. Thought Questions for Session 3 • Can you think of any Biblical examples in which someone harmed a person yet God’s hand was in it to bring about good from the event? • When you recall times that you were hurt, disappointed, misunderstood, betrayed, and dealt with unfairly, what are the effects of thinking and feeling the same way every time you recall or tell those events? • Is dealing with a transgression against you similar to grieving a loss?

  9. Decisional Forgiveness(exercise 3-2) Exercise: Discuss with your dyadic partner the following questions: • Have you made a decision (regardless of your feelings) in the sense of Jesus’ command to grant forgivenessfor the target transgression that you picked out at the beginning? • What does making such a decision mean for your behavior toward the person? • Will you do anything differently than you have been doing? • What may that look like?

  10. R = Recall The Hurt “The one who throws the stone forgets; the one who is hit remembers forever.” --Angolan Proverb

  11. R = Recall The Hurt “We eye the evil face to face and we call it what it is. Only realists can be forgivers” Lewis B. Smedes

  12. Facing the facts…. “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin…and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice….” --C.S. Lewis

  13. “Only the person who feels the hurt and faces the hate will find the healing.” David Seamands

  14. Feeling the Hurt “The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than talk about them…In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them.

  15. Feeling the Hurt But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down into your heart.” --Henri Nouwen

  16. Bearing the pain…. “In every great forgiveness there is enshrined a great agony.” --H.R. MacIntosh

  17. When we are hurt or offended, we may respond emotionally in any of several ways. • Fear – we seek to avoid similar hurts. • Anger – Injustices are barriers to happiness. Anger seeks to kick down those barriers. • Avoidance – we stay away from the transgressor or others like them. • Retaliation or revenge – Retaliation is striking back with little thought. Revenge is plotted, planned and executed.

  18. Attack – maybe because of hatred or to defend against someone we consider to be a serious threat. • Withdrawal and submitting – usually because we are intimidated. • Self-protection – stepping around the pain through mental processes. • Denial – a form of self-protection that says “it never happened”. • Justifying the self (by selective perception) – the mind makes us believe we are right. • Rumination – most likely leads to unforgiveness.

  19. The research seems to point to one clear conclusion: Vividly recalling the hurtful event is vital to forgiving.

  20. R = Recall The Hurt • Recall the hurt through imagination (exercise 3-3) Quiet yourself, relax. As the group leader narrates, picture the person who hurt you. Picture the experiences you had during and before and after the hurtful incident. Remember conversations and other experiences of events.

  21. R = Recall The Hurt • Recall the hurt through discussing what you just imagined. (exercise 3-4) • Go into dyads. Discuss your stories. • The person talking should try to create a vivid picture of event. The person listening should just support the talker, not try to solve problems or make suggestions. • Come back into full group and facilitator asks for people to share.

  22. R = Recall The Hurt • Notice that we never get anywhere by repeatedly re-telling the story. • Definition of insanity: • Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. • So far we have Recalled the hurt, but now we want to recall it differently so that we can begin to replace the negative unforgiving emotions with more positive ones.

  23. A lesson from social psychology: • When people are tempted to harm another, it is easier if they depersonalize the other. (calling them a monster, animal, devil). That seems to allow people to inflict harm and be justified in doing so. Yet, as Christians, we know that all persons are created in the image of God and all are redeemable. We must begin to recall our hurts without depersonalizing the person who hurt us.

  24. R = Recall The Hurt • What we need is another way to tell the story. A more objective story. The key to telling this kind of story is Empathy for the person who hurt us.

  25. E = Empathize with the person who hurt you. • Empathy may also include sympathy, compassion or even love.

  26. E = Empathize with the person who hurt you. • Note: empathy may also include sympathy, compassion or even love. • Empathy is experienced at one of three levels. • Simply seeing the other person’s perspective. • Seeing the other person’s perspective along with the feelings we imagine they felt. • Closely identifying to the point of getting into the emotional and personal experience of the person.

  27. Empathy

  28. According to psychologist Karen Horney People either: • Move against others (responding to hurts with revenge) • Move away from others (seeking the higher ground and getting some detachment from our involvement in emotions) • Move towards others (through empathy, sympathy, compassion, pity, and even love.

  29. R = Recall The Hurt Discussion of events objectively. (exercise 3-5) We aren’t going to get anywhere if we keep telling the story repeatedly. So visualize as a 3rd party observer. Get more distance on the story. Use your imagination. • Go back into your dyads. Share the story again but this time without emphasizing the perpetrator’s badness or your own victimization or the consequences this has had. • Come back in-group and process the differences in the two.

  30. Discerning God’s Heart(exercise 3-6) • Have you ever experienced some awful events and later seen God’s hand working for good in it? (silent contemplation; then write an answer) • Lets’ revisit your transgression. Where was God? Can you see God’s hand at all? Where would you look for it? (silent contemplation; then discuss with your dyadic partner) • Who comforts you during your trials? Person? God? Thoughts???

  31. We Do Things For Reasons(Exercise 3-9) In your dyads… • Think of a time when you hurt someone.Tell the story to your partner. • What did you feel, think, see and do before, during and after?

  32. We Do Things For Reasons(Exercise 3-9) Consider: • We are capable of hurting each other, yet we are not evil. • We usually do not intend to harm or hurt the other person. Often we want to help, but when we don’t help effectively, we can end up hurting others.

  33. We Do Things For Reasons(Exercise 3-9) Consider: • We have what we think are good reasons for what we did. • The implication: perhaps the person who hurt us felt he or she was doing right. Few people say to themselves, “I think I’ll offend someone terribly” or “I think I will set out to ruin a relationship today.”

  34. Giving The Hurt Away; This Time To God (Exercise 3-7) • Everyone on your feet (again!) • Last session, you simulated a decision to forgive by releasing your grudge—like a bird being freed. This time, we see that God is the one who takes our burdens and makes possible the decision to forgive. • If you didn’t decide to forgive last time, can you do so now?

  35. A Thought To Ponder For Next Week We all do things for what we believe at the time to be good reasons. Sometimes, though, we hurt people instead. Because we have all had this experience of hurting others even with the best of intentions, we can understand that the person who hurt us probably (possibly?) had what he or she believed to be good reasons. That person might not be as mean or evil or uncaring as we thought. …THOUGHTS???

  36. What Did Your Get Out of This Session?