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.

4 replies
  1. Charlene Mozee Harris
    Charlene Mozee Harris says:

    Just dealt with something similar today; I knew I had forgiven but when faced with a face to face encounter; I chose to just ignore them rather than my usual hug which would have been a pretense on my part because I feel a hug is total acceptance of a person with no holds barred. I would not be a hypocrite nor a victim as I made a conscious choice to withhold my usual greeting. I feel empowered by my decision.

  2. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    I had a specific experience with this. Someone unknowingly wronged me and I held on to the unforgiveness for 4 -5 years. All it did was keep me in bondage. When I forgave him, I was set free. That’s how God’s economy is set up.

    • Dave Wernli
      Dave Wernli says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing that, Bruce! It’s so true. I’ve heard it said that unforgiveness is a poison we drink expecting the other person to die.


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