The Power of Dropping Offenses

They could not have been more different. When Jack said “black,” John said “white.” When John said “black,” Jack said “white.” One drove a smart car, the other a hummer. One was rightly concerned about social justice, the other rightly concerned about government over-reach and losing freedoms. One loved the Washington Redskins, the other the Dallas Cowboys. What was God thinking when he brought these two men to the same church, working on the same committees? They both thought the other was really jacked up. They both passionately knew they were right in their convictions. They were both willing to die on their swords over being right. They could not have been more the same.

They were both offended. Offense is one of the greatest barriers to friendship in the church. Actually, offense is one of the greatest barriers to godliness in any sphere of life. For example, there is a huge Spirit of Offense operating in both political parties in America right now, playing us for fools against each other. But that’s another story. This story is about two men in the same church who can barely stand each other, offended, not over anything righteous like God would be, but over their own petty preferences, that only they valued so highly.

Whenever they got excited about something at church, darned if the other would show up too, and work on that same project. The other person sucked all the joy out of it for them, because they both chose to give the other that power over them. In fact, they ended up bumping into each other so often that they began to wonder what in heaven was going on. In fact, something in heaven was going on. Heaven had a plan.

God knew that one of these men was molested as a child by a family member they were taught they must respect. God knew the other had parents who demanded silent perfection. Neither had a voice growing up, and the pain of being treated as an object had traumatized them both. To one, something horribly bad had happened, and it shut down his heart. To the other, the daily lack of love, the daily lack of the necessary good thing, had slowly but surely sucked the life out of his heart. God knew these two stony hearts desperately needed each other.

Both marriages were about to collapse. Their wives were miserable, and neither of their wives respected them. One man was a servant with no boundaries, and his wife longed for him to stand up to her and lead. The other was oppressively over-bearing and his wife longed to be heard and have a voice herself. These men had much to teach each other.

In God’s economy, they each had something the other desperately needed. In such a friendship, they could speak hard truths to each other, within the safety of fraternal, brotherly love. God wanted to use those hard truths to work paradigm shifts in both men, bringing them into a new, exciting, and adventurous life they never dreamed possible.

There was only one thing standing in the way. Fear, manifesting as Pride, fed by Offense.

But God kept stacking the deck. John couldn’t worship without having Jack’s face pop into his thoughts. As God planned, it was beginning to drive John crazy. Jack couldn’t go to sleep without having some dream about John giving him something he desperately needed—the one person Jack didn’t want to be indebted to. God was on the move.

One day John bit the bullet and asked Jack for coffee after church. Much to his disappointment, Jack accepted. Jack wouldn’t let John be the righteous one by refusing the invite. Heaven cheated. God actually played their pride against them to bring them together. Whatever works.

During that first cup of coffee all hell broke loose. Literally. Lies and deceptions that demons had spent years building fell to the ground in moments, smashed into a million pieces as each man realized the other was not who they thought. Hell was quite upset. It was like Heaven had no regard at all for the years of hard work it took to stand up that delicate, but powerful, deceptive house of cards.

Letting their offenses against the other go in that first conversation over that first cup of coffee wasn’t easy. It was a blow to the pride of both men. They each had to consciously decide to drop their offenses, starve their pride, and risk being vulnerable. But, on the other hand, their pride hadn’t been working out so well for them lately, so they gave it a go. After a year, they were both enjoying a deep friendship so much more than they had ever enjoyed being right. It was worth it and not nearly as lonely.

How about us? Does God have a friend for us, whom we desperately need, that we’re too offended at to ask for coffee? Can we lay down our right to be right and be friends instead? Have you had this experience, on either end? Tell us in the comments and please share if you think this would bless someone else.

The Secret to Repairing a Relationship You’ve Damaged

We’ve all done it. We’ve damaged a relationship we cared about. We know we’re at fault, although we don’t like to admit it. How can we repair that relationship? Some would say it’s like feathers shaken out of a pillow on a mountaintop—you can never put them back in—it’s too late. I respectfully disagree. There is a way to put the feathers back in the pillow.

Relationships are like bank accounts. They have balances. When we damaged the relationship, we tipped the scale away from the other person. From their point-of-view, there’s a negative balance in the account. That’s why the relationship’s damaged. We need to make a deposit.

“Making it right” is not good enough. Maybe we broke or lost something that belonged to the other person. Just replacing the item is not enough, although that technically “makes it right” and undoes the thing we did. But really we just brought the negative balance back to zero. The other person went from a positive balance to zero—they still lost overall in the transaction. They’ve forgiven us at this point, but they still feel slighted in the transaction, which is why the relationship is damaged.

The secret is to make a deposit (or several deposits) great enough to get the other person above their previous positive balance. Once they feel the scales are tipped back in their favor, you’ve repaired the relationship.

Look at it from their point-of-view. Say my neighbor borrows my car, gets in a fender-bender, and has it repaired. He brings it back and says, “Hey, Dave, I got in an accident but I got it repaired. Here’s your car.” I thank him and forgive him, but am I going to let him borrow my car again? Nope. I feel slighted in the transaction. Now my car’s been in an accident. They never quite drive the same. My resale value is negatively affected, blah, blah, blah. While I’m thankful he at least fixed my car, the relationship is still damaged, because I feel like I’m still getting the short end of the stick.

But say he brings my car back and says this instead: “Hey, Dave, I got in an accident but I got it repaired. While it was in the shop, I took out your stock AM/FM radio and replaced it with a state-of-the-art, surround-sound, premium sound system, with a 6 CD disc changer. Here’s your car.” Now can he borrow my car again? Anytime he wants! And I hope he gets in an accident! Maybe I’ll get spinners next time. (Kudos to John Sandford, Elijah House Ministries, for this example.)

You see how this works? It’s called Restitution. It’s the secret to repairing damaged relationships. You have to go over and above to do something the other person views as significant to tip the scales back in their favor. Restitution makes a deposit that takes the relationship balance back above where it was previously, in the other person’s eyes.

Here’s a couple more examples:

  • If broke your neighbor’s lawn mower, not only do you buy him a new one, top-of-the-line even if his other one was not, you buy him a top-of-the-line weed-whacker as well.
  • If you lost your friend’s book, not only do you replace it, searching high and low on eBay if you have to if it’s out of print, but you give her a $200 Amazon gift card along with it.

It doesn’t have to be monetary restitution, although those are easy examples. Here’s a non-monetary one.

  • Maybe you’ve said or did something really hurtful to your spouse. So you get up early and do some chore they normally do that you know they hate. Maybe you know they clean the bathrooms every Friday, so you get up at 4:00 AM every Friday so you can do it before going to work. How long? Forever. And you don’t say a word about it. Let them discover it.

Restitution is a sacrifice you make, could be monetary, could be effort, from a place of empathy over the pain you’ve caused them. Not because you’re hurting. Because they’re hurting.

Some caveats here:

  • It has to be something significant from the other person’s point-of-view, not from yours. It has to be something meaningful to them.
  • You can’t ask them—that just comes across as the manipulation it is. This might not seem fair, but think about it. Once you ask, you make it about you: “What box do I have to check to get on your good side again?” But that’s not fair! I can’t read their mind! No, but:
    • The Holy Spirit can, and will tell you the answer if you seek him out about it. God is totally into restoring relationships. That’s what that whole cross thing was about.
    • If you care enough about the relationship, you’ll put the effort into figuring it out. Trial ‘n’ error is ok.
  • You can only do this with the right heart. This isn’t penance. You’re not trying to manipulate them because you want something from them. You’ll truly broken and hurt, not because you feel guilty over what you’ve done, but honestly because of the pain you caused them. You hurt because they’re hurting, and you want to bless them not hurt them.
  • Don’t bother with narcissists. There are people that secretly rejoice inside when you do something negative to them. They hold that negative bank account over your head as a way to manipulate and control you, and no restitution you do is ever enough. I wrote this post with the assumption that the relationship you’re trying to repair is a healthy one. No relationship with a narcissist is a healthy one. Do whatever a reasonable person would accept, but don’t submit to any control a narcissist tries to exert beyond that. If they walk away from the relationship, let them.

The other person may or may not allow the relationship to be restored. That’s on them and their ability to forgive. But you’ve done, and continue to do, everything the Holy Spirit lays on your heart to do. Depending on the offense, restitution can take years. But it’s so worth it.

Does this strike a chord with you? Does this resonate? Tell us your story in the comments. How did you repair that relationship? And please share if you think this would help someone else (share buttons below).

The Good Guy and Bad Guy Chairs

When someone has seriously wronged us, especially when they don’t acknowledge the wrong and their hurtful behavior still continues, it’s really easy to put them in the Bad Guy Chair. This automatically puts us in the Good Guy Chair. Which on the surface doesn’t seem so bad. After all, we’re the innocently wronged party here, right?

But there’s a catch. A subtle, tricky, deadly catch. Just like a hook is death to a fish, the God Guy Chair is one of Satan’s sneakiest and most deadly hooks to our spiritual growth and life in the Kingdom.

Because the Good Guy Chair has another name. A secret name. A hidden name. It’s real name. And you really don’t want to be in this chair:

The Victim Chair.

Nothing stunts our spiritual growth faster than a respite in the Victim Chair. Because holding the other person in the Bad Guy Chair sucks us into the Victim Chair with a force as deterministic as gravity. In fact, go ahead and call it Spiritual Gravity. Unforgiveness. And unforgiveness is the most effective spiritual growth killer in Satan’s arsenal.

Here’s the deception: We don’t think of ourselves as being unforgiving. We may have even overtly “forgiven” the other person. But secretly in our hearts, we haven’t. As long as we still consider them the Bad Guy, our unforgiveness holds them in the Bad Guy Chair, which holds us in the Victim Chair, which arrests our spiritual growth right there. It condemns us to a life of bitterness and victimization. Who wants that?

The trick is, the only way out of the Victim Chair is to release the other person from the Bad Guy Chair. But wait! You don’t know what they did to me! It was really, really bad!!! Yes, it was. Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimizing the evil they did to you or pretending like it never happened.

They did something horrible to you. Hold them accountable for it with whatever (godly) means are at your disposal. Press charges if it’s a criminal act. Confront them. Set boundaries so they can’t hurt you again. Holding them accountable gives them opportunity to come out of their deception that caused them to hurt you in the first place. It also protects futures victims from becoming victims.

But here’s the point: They themselves are not the evil thing they did to you. It came out of their own pain and their own deceptions that they are living under. Hurt people hurt people. That does not justify what they did, and they are accountable for it. But coming to the realization that they are not the evil thing they did to you is the essence of true forgiveness. We are not what we do.

Then you finish forgiveness by praying blessing over them. Real blessing, not through gritted teeth. When you can do that, without that heart-twinge because you’re forcing it, you know you’ve released them from the Bad Guy Chair and so you’re out of the Victim Chair. Hallelujah! Let’s hear it for freedom!

The stages of forgiveness parallel the stages of grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. So give yourself a break if you’re not ready to pray true blessing over them yet. Just keep moving in the right direction. Don’t short-change the process. Let yourself be angry. Let yourself grieve. Tell the Lord you want to want to and he’ll get you there.

Is this ringing a bell? Have you gone through this process of forgiveness? Is it something you’re working on? Tell us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you. Your story will help others. And please share on social media (click the appropriate share button below) if you think this would help someone else.

Restitution

A young man went to a wise old guru with a problem, something he just didn’t understand. The young man asked the guru why he can’t take back hurtful words he’d said to someone. He’d apologized, but the relationship wasn’t the same. Why can’t he fix this?

The wise old guru took the young man on a treacherous climb up a tall mountain overlooking a deep gorge. It was very windy up way there. He had brought a feather pillow along with them. The guru took out his knife and slit open the pillow, waving it into the wind, scattering the feathers to the four winds.

Then he turned to the young man. As the guru handed him the now empty pillow fabric, he said, “Your task is to put all the feathers back in the pillow.”

“There’s no way!” exclaimed the young man. “That’s impossible! Once the feathers are out of the pillow, there’s no way to put them all back in again!”

The old guru nodded in agreement. “That’s why you can’t take back your hurtful words. It’s too late. They are already out,” he said. The young man finally got it.

I’m sure many of you have heard this story before. The moral is to be careful what we say. But there’s something else going on here. Turns out there actually is a way to put the feathers back in the pillow. It’s called restitution. It costs you a lot and it’s hard work, but it can be done.

Let me back up a minute. Say Person A wrongs Person B. We’re assuming it’s an accident, not a heinous crime or anything like that. Just normal day-to-day relationship stuff. We’ve all been in both positions.

Say you’re Person B who was wronged. Say Person A borrowed something special to you and lost it or broke it. Maybe the lost a special out of print book, or broke your lawn mower. Maybe they borrowed your car and got in a fender bender. Maybe they accidentally injured you by some careless act on their part. And worse, maybe they acted like it was no big deal. Or maybe they were mortified and replaced it or had it fixed.

Either way, say you’ve forgiven them. But there’s a boundary their now. You’re probably not going to let them borrow something again. Setting healthy boundaries is healthy, and does not (necessarily) mean you’re in unforgiveness. Especially if they act like it was no big deal, and wonder what’s wrong with you that you’re making it one, or they have a pattern of disrespecting other people’s things.

I would totally recommend setting that boundary. It’s not about the item, it’s about honoring, which is the currency in the Kingdom of God. Your boundary forces them to confront the issue in their heart with dishonoring others, which they can choose do to or not. You’re not responsible for their response to a healthy boundary.

Now let’s say you’re Person A, who did the wronging. We’ve all been there. Say you want to repair the relationship. How can you get the other person to remove that boundary? By restitution.

Relationships are like scales. Person B feels like the scales are tipped away from them, like they got the short end of the stick in the transaction. Restitution tips the scales back in their favor. Here are some examples:

If broke your neighbor’s lawn mower, not only do you buy him a new one, top-of-the-line even if his other one was not, you buy him a top-of-the-line weed-whacker as well.

If you lost your friend’s book, not only do you replace it, searching high and low on ebay if you have to if it’s out of print, but you give them a $200 Amazon gift card along with it.

If you got in a fender bender, you not only fix the car, but you replace their stock AM/FM radio with a 6-disc CD changer and a premium surround-sound stereo. (Kudos to John Sandford, founder of Elijah House Ministries, for this example.)

It doesn’t have to be monetary restitution, although those are easy examples.

Maybe you’ve said something really hurtful to your spouse. So you get up early and do some chore they do that you know they hate. Maybe you know they clean the bathrooms every Friday, so you get up at 4:00 AM every Friday so you can do it before going to work. How long? Forever. And you don’t say a word about it. Let them discover it.

Restitution is a sacrifice you make, could be monetary, could be effort, from a place or empathy over the pain you’ve caused them. Not because you’re hurting. Because they’re hurting.

You can only do this with the right heart. This isn’t penance. You’re not trying to manipulate them to drop the boundary because you want something from them. You’ll truly broken and hurt, not because you feel guilty over what you’ve done, but honestly because of the pain you caused them. You hurt because they’re hurting, and you want to bless them.

They may or may not drop the boundary and allow the relationship to be restored. That’s on them and their ability to forgive. But you’ve done, and continue to do, everything you can. Depending on the offense, restitution can take years. But it’s worth it.

If you’re the wronged party, you (usually) can’t demand restitution; that can be manipulation. And you’re perfectly justified keeping your healthy boundary in place forever if they never do anything (words don’t count) to show you their heart has changed.

If you did the wrong, you can’t ask the other person what it takes to lift the boundary; that (usually but not always) shows you’re just in it for the benefit to yourself. You’ve got to figure it out, possibly by trial ‘n’ error. But ask the Lord, he knows, and he’s all over restoring relationships. After all, that’s why he went through that whole cross and resurrection thing.

Does this strike a chord with you? Does this resonate? Tell us in the comments a story where you’ve been on one side or the other. And please share on Facebook if you think this would be helpful to someone else (click the “f” button below).

Finishing Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is a process a lot like grieving. Sometimes, like when the sin against us is horrific or ongoing (or both), we really are grieving a death. Maybe a death of our innocence, or something that was stolen from us. Perhaps the death of something that now will never be. Perhaps the death of a relationship. Maybe we’re mourning the pain and the wreckage caused by sinful actions that were just senseless and didn’t have to be.

So in forgiveness, we often go back ‘n’ forth through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining,  depression, and finally acceptance. All that’s healthy as long as we don’t get stuck anywhere.

Often it’s like peeling an onion. We think we’ve worked through forgiveness, and something pops up and we realize there’s another layer deeper that we didn’t know was there, and we have to work through it again. Can you relate?

So how do we know when we’re finally done? We know we’re done when we can pray blessing over the other person without that initial twang of “but they don’t deserve it” in our hearts. We’re not minimizing the evil they did to us. We’re not failing to hold them accountable. We can still set up healthy boundaries, especially with someone who’s unrepentant or when there’s been no restitution. But we’re acknowledging that they are not the evil they did to us.

A good friend taught us this prayer. It’s not magic words – you can’t pray any prayer by rote and expect to accomplish anything. Just use it as a guide an make it your own. Here it is:

“I speak words of blessings, love, and forgiveness on ____ in Jesus name. Heal me of the hurt, heal me of the memory of the hurt, and give me the working of the gift of miracles to walk as if it never happened.”

Wow. Isn’t that good? That will rock your world if you have the guts to pray it regularly. Sometimes you have to fight through with this simple prayer dozens of times a day. But it’s transformational.

Will you take up the challenge and risk praying this prayer?

Today’s Action Step: When I forgive someone, I will keep working through it with the Lord, and maybe with those in my life I trust, until I can pray blessing over the other person without any reservation.

Kudos also to John Sandford, founder of Elijah House Ministries, for this concept of finishing forgiveness by praying blessing.

So how about you? Does this resonate? Have you been there? Are you there now? Tell us your story and/or struggle in the comments or shoot us an email. And if you think this would benefit others, please share it with the social media buttons below.

Forgiveness & Restitution

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Ok, so say my neighbor Jon borrows my car, and when he brings it back, he says, “Thanks for letting me borrow your car. I got into a little fender-bender, but I got it repaired and re-painted.” He shows where the dent was, and you can’t tell. The body-shop did a great job. He’s repented, and I forgive him.

But am I going to let him borrow my car again? Probably not. Yeah, he fixed it, but now my car’s been in an accident. Cars never drive quite the same afterward. The trade-in value’s decreased. Even though he fixed it, I’m feeling like I didn’t get the better end of the deal here. Interactions with other people have a scale, and in this situation, the scale’s tilted away from me.

I’ve forgiven Jon, I don’t hold it against him, but the relationship has a boundary it didn’t have before. It’s not the same relationship.

So how does Jon repair the relationship to the place it was before? That takes more than repentance and forgiveness.

So rewind. Suppose when Jon brings my car back, he says this instead: “Thanks for letting me borrow your car. I got into a little fender-bender, but I got it repaired and re-painted. While it was in the shop, I had them take out your AM/FM radio and put in a 6-disc CD changer, with a 10-speaker, surround-sound, premium sound system.”

Now can Jon borrow my car again? Absolutely! And I hope he gets in an accident! Maybe I’ll get spinners next time.

My neighbor repaired the relationship by tipping the scale back in my favor. I got the better end of the deal. That’s restitution.

That’s what it takes to repair broken relationships. A sacrifice on our part, over-and-above repentance, blessing the other person, tipping the scale in their favor, so they come away feeling like they got the better end of the deal.

When we do this, we have to look at it from their point-of-view. It has to be something that blesses them, not just something that would bless us. So ask the Holy Spirit, “Lord, what can I do to truly bless the person I’ve hurt?” Then go with your first thought – God will always answer that prayer.

And you know what? If we will make that sacrifice when we hurt others, God will pay us back and tip the scale in our favor. I’ll take that.

Kudos to John Sandford, founder of Elijah House Ministries, for this great illustration.

Today’s Action Step: When I realize I’ve hurt someone, after repenting and changing my behavior, I’ll ask the Holy Spirit what I can do to bless them, to tip the scale in their favor so they feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal.

Can you relate? Have you or someone else repaired relationship by tipping the scale with restitution? Tell us in the comments or an email. And please, if you think this would help someone else, share it on social media with the buttons below.

Forgiveness & Woundedness

HeadShot Dave 100x100Forgiving someone and being healed from the wound they gave us are two different things.

Say we go to the gun range together. I’m handling my weapon carelessly and accidentally shoot you in the shoulder. You can forgive me instantly, but a gunshot wound takes three or four months to heal.

Suppose I see you the next day after you’re released from the hospital. I slap you on the shoulder, “Hey, how are you doing? Great to see you! Sorry again about yesterday.”

Ouch!” you respond, because I slapped your back right on the wound. “That hurts!”

Why are you still hurting?” I ask. “What’s wrong with you? You’re being very unforgiving.”

But forgiveness has nothing to do with it! You’ve forgiven me, but you still have the wound. There’s nothing wrong with you – it’s normal for you to hurt again if I slap the wound. My refusal to acknowledge the reality of the wound I’ve given you is really a sign of my own un-repentance.

And if you continue to observe me still handling my weapon carelessly, I’ve made no change in my behavior, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to put up a boundary and not go to the gun range again with me.

Forgiveness just means we don’t hold anything against the person; it doesn’t mean we’re instantly healed from the wounding they’ve caused.

Yes, we will never get healing unless we forgive first. Forgiveness is part of the healing process. In the gunshot example above, if you intentionally don’t take your antibiotics so the wound stays infected and messy, so you can hold something against me, that would be pretty jacked up. That’s unforgiveness.

In my own life, I’ve experienced a divorce. I’ve forgiven everyone involved, my ex, the lawyers, the judges, etc. And, yes, I’ve taken responsibility for, and repented of, my part in it. But the pain and the wounding continues, both in my own life and in the lives of the people affected by it (my children). The pain goes on and on.

So what do you do? I keep going back to the Lord and giving the pain to him. Day by day, giving him today’s pain. So I can move on with life, not getting stuck in it, but moving forward into the live works he has prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Today’s Action Steps:

  1. I will keep a short tab forgiving people, not holding the wounds they caused me against them (although I may put up a healthy boundary to keep from getting wounded again).

  2. I will take my spiritual antibiotics, giving the Lord my pain and wounding each day, so I don’t get stuck and dwell on it, but move forward into the future he has for me.

How about you? Does this resonate? If so, please leave us a comment or an email. Tell us your story. And if you think this would benefit someone else, please share on social media with the buttons below.

The Love of the Father

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Our world is starved for love and intimacy. We are made for love – to give and receive love. In the beginning God walked in the garden with man (and woman) in the cool of the day. It is the Father’s heart to spend time with us and to commune.

We don’t have to look far to find that love. We have a father in heaven who cares about us. This Father wants to be in such a relationship where we can rest in the knowledge that he has it all under control. He wants us to have faith like a child who says “Abba” or Daddy.

When we look at Jesus we look into the face of love. Love that stepped down from the throne to pay the gruesome price for my sin. No other religion speaks of a God that wants relationship. Any other religion requires some kind of earning our way to heaven. Not Christianity. The price was paid for at the cross.

I recently gazed on a bright red woven cross. To me, it spoke of the blood of Jesus. No where can we find the power to wash away the filth of our sin. Yours is no worse than mine. It all cost Jesus his life. But he laid it down willingly for you and me. How precious and how profound.

In our sophisticated, busy lives today we desperately need to know that love and forgiveness that Jesus bought. Our God is a God of second chances. We’ve all blown it. Over and over and over. But I can always climb back into my Daddy’s lap and know His love and acceptance.

Do you relate to God as your Daddy, or is that hard? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

The Forgiveness Litmus Test

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Ok, so we’ve got that forgiveness is a process. Maybe the sin against you was really grievous, and the person is unrepentant and still practicing their bad behavior. You’ve been working through the process of forgiveness, layer by layer, going deeper and deeper.

I know with me, whenever I thought I’d forgiven the person, something happened that brought it all back in a new wave of bitterness. Snap! Back to the prayer closet, on my face before the Lord, trying to let it go. Trying to see them as God sees them and not as the evil they did to me. Again.

How do you know when you’re finally done?

Here’s a simple litmus test. (Well, simple to apply, hard to actually do.) Pray blessing over them and over their life. When you can truly do that without any bitterness, anger, etc, rising up in your heart, then your forgiveness is complete. You know you’re done. You’ve really forgiven them.

This is another first for Christianity. Nobody can do this without the power of the Holy Spirit. Before trying this, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. You’ll need it; I know I do. This is hard, but it is tremendously freeing – so worth it.

Leave a comment or shoot us an email and let us know how this goes for you. Was it hard? Was it freeing? What revelation from the Holy Spirit finally allowed you to do this? Or are you just not there yet? Please share your story with us; we’d love to pray with you.

Re-Profiling

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Forgiveness can be really hard. Especially when you’ve truly been grievously and unfairly wronged. Especially when the perp is unrepentant and their bad behavior continues. But it’s so important, because our unforgiveness keeps us in prison, not the other person.

It’s a process, not a single event. It can be a long process, one that we keep going back to – forgiving again and again – layer after layer – going deeper and deeper.

One exercise that can significantly help us along in this process is re-profiling the person. No single person is wholly evil – only Satan and his demons have that distinction. So there is something good about the person. Rack your brain and find those things. If you just can’t, ask the Holy Spirit; he’ll tell you. Then write it down.

Re-profiling is not pretending they didn’t wrong you. Along with any good qualities you can find, re-profiling can include the deceptions they’re living in, and the pain in their lives that’s deceived them to act they way they do.

The goal here is to write down how God sees the other person, which is not necessarily how they are behaving, but how he made them to be. So then when we fall into bitterness, we go back and read our re-profile of them. Read it out loud – let your ears hear your mouth say it. It’s powerful.

Then you start thinking of the other person in terms of how God made them, versus what they’ve done. Because they are not the evil they did to you. Wrapping our mind and heart around that last sentence is the essence of forgiveness.

Re-profiling makes this much easier, and it’s very freeing. Try it! Let us know how it goes in the comments, or send us an email.