Forgiveness

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Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
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Scriptures
Hope
  • Genesis 50:20 (what the enemy means for evil, God means for good)
  • Philippians 4:6-8 (don’t be anxious, let your requests be made known, focus your mind on better things)
  • Matthew 11:28-31 (yoked with Christ, burdens light)
  • Philippians 4:19 (God will supply needs according to His riches)
  • Psalm 103:8-12 (sins removed east from west, north from south)
  • 1 John 2:2 (Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the world)
  • Isaiah 38:17 (You have cast all my sins behind Your back)
  • Micah 7:19 (You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea)
  • Isaiah 43:25 (For My own sake I will not remember your sins)
  • Romans 8:1 (there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus)
  • 1 Peter 2:6 (He who believes will not be put to shame)
  • Isaiah 1:18 (come, let us reason together; scarlet to white)
  • 1 John 1:8-10 (if we confess our sin, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness)
  • Mark 2:1-12 (Jesus has authority to forgive sins)
  • Psalm 133:1 (Behold how good it is when brothers dwell in unity)
  • Proverbs 16:7 (makes even his enemies be at peace with him)
  • Proverbs 19:11 (a man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression)
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 (if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature)
Help
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Conversations
Starters
    • Can you tell me about a time when you received forgiveness from someone? How did you feel?
    • Are you the kind of person who forgives willingly?
    • Have you fully experienced the forgiveness that God offers?
    • How important do you think forgiveness is to a good marriage?
    • How easy is it for you to admit your own wrongs and ask others to forgive you? Is it easier for you to give or receive forgiveness?
    • What do you think happens to the person who offended you if you never forgive them? What do you think would happen to them if you were to forgive them?
    • What do you think happens to you if you forgive the person who has offended you? What do you think happens to you if you don’t forgive them? (Matthew 18:15-35)
    • Do you want to be free from the effects of not forgiving and of nursing old wounds?
Deeper Questions
    • Have you put your faith in Christ for salvation? Tell me about that time and what difference it has made in your life.
    • Tell me about your view of forgiveness.  What does that look like in your mind?
    • Have you ever looked at what the Bible says about forgiveness, and how important is that to you?  Can we look at what God says and discuss it together?
    • In your eyes, how big is your sin compared to the sins of others?
    • What grievances stand between you and this person?  What can you tell me about those and how they got started?  What attempts have been made to resolve them?
    • Are you aware of the effects of not forgiving and holding grudges? Don’t you want to be free from that? (Matthew 18:15-35)
    • Have you specifically asked for forgiveness wherever necessary?
    • Are you willing to withhold judgment and trust God to deal with the offender justly in His timing?
    • Have you forgotten your own sin debt? (Luke 7:36-50)
    • Do you want to be known as the kind of person who forgives willingly?
    • Do you believe Christ’s sacrifice is enough for your sin? For the sins of others? (I John 2:2)
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
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Resources
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
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Encouragement
Quotes
  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 141

    “Giving your mate the freedom to fail communicates that you are on his team, regardless of the outcome. It tells him that even if he makes a mistake and fails, you will be there to help him up, dust him off, and encourage him to try again. The issue is not whether he will ever fail, but rather whether he will get back up and whether you will be at his side.”

  • - Dennis Rainey, Preparing for Marriage, p. 8

    “No other human relationship can approach the potential for intimacy and oneness than can be found within the context of the marriage commitment. And yet no other relationship can bring with it as many adjustments, difficulties, and even hurts.”

  • - Stephen and Alex Kendrick, The Love Dare, p. 78

    “Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse’s hidden faults? Do you really think it’s for endless nagging? No, it’s for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you. Has your scolding or nagging been working? The answer is no, because that’s not what changes a heart. It is time to try talking to God in your prayer closet instead.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 96

    “Behind virtually every case of marital dissatisfaction lies unrepented sin. Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance.”

  • - Lee and Leslie Strobel, Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage, p. 89

    “I picture forgiveness like a game of tug‐of‐war … If both spouses continue to pull hard on their end of the rope, the still‐loose knot begins to get tighter and tighter and tighter. At some point, there’s the danger that nobody can ever untie it. But forgiveness means one spouse merely drops his or her end of the rope. This loosens the tension and preserves the possibility that the knot might be untangled by the two of you. The other person can continue tugging, but it doesn’t do any good any more.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Staying Close, p. 241

    “Forgiveness is costly, but to refuse to forgive costs even more. As someone said, ‘The longer you carry a grudge, the heavier it gets.’ And, I might add, the lonelier it gets.”

  • - Ken Sande, Peacemaking for Families, p. 84-85

    “Before we can talk about what forgiveness is, and how we can more completely forgive our spouse or children, let’s talk about what it is not. First, forgiveness is not a feeling … Second forgiveness is not forgetting … Third forgiveness is not excusing … Forgiveness is an act of the will, a decision not to think or talk about what someone has done. It is an active process involving a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action.”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, Fight Fair!, p. 29-30

    “Many marital conflicts are about nothing more than who will get the last word or who will get his way. But in marital conflicts, victory is the prize that no one can afford to win … Marriage is the only institution in the world where you can win every battle but lose the war.”

  • - Dan Allender, Bold Love, p. 283

    “True repentance will lead to feelings of indignity and anger at the past damage, a desire to make restitution, and a renewed longing for purity and godliness (2 Corinthians 7:11).”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Forgiveness, p. 25

    “The wounds that have been inflicted upon you will not be made one ounce lighter by being stored up and left to fester. In fact, they will only become heavier and more burdensome.”

  • - Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do, p. 58

    “Our real opponent is not on the opposite side of the bed, but within our hearts. Our enemy is the desires of our flesh that oppose the desire of the Spirit. This is the fiercest and only true enemy of our marriage.”

  • - Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Intimate Allies, p. 116

    “The most successful marriage is a marriage where forgiveness is often sought and richly given.”

  • - Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do, p. 41

    “Once I know that I am indeed the worst of sinners, then my spouse is no longer my biggest problem—I am. And when I find myself walking in the shoes of the worst of sinners, I will make every effort to grant my spouse the same lavish grace that God has granted me.”

  • - Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do, p. 80

    “Mercy sweetens marriage. Where it is absent, two people flog one another over everything from failure to fix the faucet to phone bills. But where it is present, marriage grows sweeter and more delightful, even in the face of challenges, setbacks, and the persistent effects of our remaining sin.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, p. 17

    “There are many ways to show your family that you are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, but two in particular really count: Admitting your mistakes and asking for forgiveness when you mess up in a relationship—especially with one of your children.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, p. 151

    “When you forgive your mate’s failures, you give up your right to punish. Forgiveness is an act of the will—a deliberate choice that means you will not retaliate when you feel the other person has wronged you.”

  • - Bill Elliff, Forgiveness: Healing the Harbored Hurts of Your Heart, p. 11

    “A bitter root in your heart will manifest itself in troublesome attitudes, such as depression and despair, anger and resentment, or fear and worry. Your reactions may become typified by criticism, slander, gossip, sulking, retaliation, or other caustic behavior.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom, p. 113

    “A well-meaning friend or counselor may tell you that forgiving yourself is your first step toward healing and recovery. The problem is, nowhere in the Scripture do we find God instructing us to deal with our heartaches this way. Rather, He urges us to receive His forgiveness.”

Next Steps
    • Prayerfully consider what you have done to honor God through seeking or granting forgiveness.  Is there a specific action you can think of that shows your desire to honor God in this?
    • Prayerfully seek the wisdom and counsel of others in this area of forgiveness.  Be teachable and open to their advice.
    • Decide not to talk to others (gossip) about this incident (apart from seeking godly counsel as suggested above.)
    • Meditate on Scriptures of hope and help.  Consider how to apply these to
      your life right now.
    • Struggling with issues of forgiveness is a common problem.  Reflect
      on any other instances of unforgiveness in your past to determine if there is a pattern of behavior.
    • Pray about one thing you could do to take the initiative and risk being vulnerable in this situation.
    • If forgiveness is an issue in your marriage, consider attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
    • You cannot control others, but you can honor God with your own actions.
      Consider how you could honor God in this particular situation today.
    • Read Up-Close Forgiveness by Dennis Rainey and dialogue about what you’ve read with your spouse or a mentor.
    • Once you have truly forgiven someone, anger and bitterness can be replaced by feelings of peace.  Are you experiencing peace right now?  If not, do you know why not?
    • Regardless of whether or not the offender has repented, we can always release the offense ourselves and maintain a readiness to forgive when they ask. Pray for a heart that is ready to forgive.
    • By doing the right thing, forgiving someone else, you bring pleasure to God regardless of how the other person responds.  Think about the
      importance of honoring God in this situation.
    • Pray for the person that offended you, releasing their offense to God.
    • Grace can be given immediately and unconditionally, but full reconciliation and restoration of a right relationship will require repentance and forgiveness of both parties.  Think about what that looks like in this situation.
    • Consider what will most effectively serve the other person and glorify God in this situation—showing mercy or allowing the other person to experience the consequences that may teach a needed lesson.
    • In forgiveness we often lay down our rights to justice, money, or something else valuable.  What will forgiveness cost you in this
      circumstance?  Then contemplate the cost Christ paid for us on the cross.
    • Reflect on how much you have been forgiven after reading the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35).
    • Read Philippians 2:13 and 4:13, acknowledging that it is God who gives you the desire and the ability to forgive someone.
    • Seek local help from a Christian counselor or pastor if necessary.
    • Be sure you are involved in a local, Bible-believing church for spiritual growth and accountability.