The Pursuit of Perspective

Perspective Christ Brings

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.

  1. What have you told yourself was the reason your offender acted in this hurtful way?
  2. 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?
  3. In what ways have you refused to allow God to redeem your hurt and turn it into a benefit in your life? And why?
  4. What fears or dysfunctions might have fueled your offender’s hurtful actions?
  5. Based on your knowledge of your offender, why do you think s/he has these dysfunctions or fears?
  6. What might your offender have been trying to do for him/herself that did not include hurting you?
  7. What ideally would you like to see your offender do to make things better or right with you?
  8. What does your offender not have the power to change in this hurtful situation?
  9. What do you not have the power to change in this situation?
  10. In what harmful or negative ways have you reacted to your offender regarding this issue? (Consider thoughts as well as actions here)
  11. What are some specific angry thoughts you’ve repeatedly ruminated on (over the past months, years) regarding your offender?
  12. What sins of your offender against you have been similar to sins you’ve committed in your lifetime?
  13. What are the lies you’ve told yourself or assumptions you’ve made regarding this person and his/her actions against you?
  14. What are the lies/justifications you’ve told yourself about your own negative reactions and sins toward this person?
  15. 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)
  16. 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?
  17. 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 messymarriage@gmail.com

This is #5 in Forgiveness Series. Click on link to access #4 How to Grieve Offenses .

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum, Wisdom Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!

WW rules:

Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that is spiritually encouraging.

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Optional but encouraged:

  1. Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  2. If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”

  • Do you know what I love about your blog, Beth? You give us practical tools. These questions make the concept of forgiveness applicable and relevant. Thank you for showing up here and using your gifts to encourage all of us. I used to believe that if an issue continued to resurface, then I must not have truly forgiven. Then our pastor preached recently about how forgiveness is an ongoing process; you may need to surrender your grudge to the Lord day after day (seventy times seven!). I find some relief in knowing God is with me every day to pick that load off my shoulders. His mercies are new every morning, praise God. Blessings to you, my friend!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Becky! That’s a big part of my aim here – to provide practical resources and tools for marrieds. And forgiveness is one of my favorite subjects. I’ve studied on it a lot and have utilized these tools myself, since I tend to get my feelings hurt more than I like to admit! And yes, you’re so right. It is an ongoing process–seventy times seven is just the beginning for me. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet smile to brighten this place, my friend!

  • Thanks a lot for this guide Beth, forgiveness is a must and it is for our own good. Thank you for sharing this aid with us.

    • Yes, it really is a necessity in our relationship with others (including God) and definitely for our own good, Ugochi. Isn’t it great that we serve a God would knew this and paid the ultimate price to demonstrate forgiveness for us all?! No other god can make that claim but our God!! Thanks for coming by, sweet friend!

  • Laura

    These questions are great for helping with a process I’m going through repairing a relationship with a relative.

    • I’m glad you find them to be helpful, Laura. I’ve used them myself and worked with many other people using some of these processes and it always seems to dislodge what has gotten stuck in their hearts. God’s been good to work through our grief and surrender of the situation to Him! Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  • GailBP

    This is so good, Beth. I need to check out your other posts in this series. I have a repeat offender in my life and I can easily ruminate over the unexplained reasons for the offenses. I need to repeatedly remind myself that people don’t always do things that make sense in life. And I’m learning that with this particular offender his motives are not as mean-spirited as they come across. They are more a byproduct of his self-centeredness. He really doesn’t see what he’s doing. And, of course, God uses bad in my life for good. How immature we’d all be if we only had lovely people to deal with : )

    • Hi Gail! Good to see you again, my friend! And I hope you do check out the other posts in this series. I tend to ruminate as well, Gail. And changing the way I look at it through, first and foremost, the reality of my sin against God always brings perspective to my heart and mind. Thanks for stopping by and hugs to you!

  • These are very powerful, Beth. I’m not even struggling with a particular offense at the moment, and I can feel my heart softening as I read through the questions.

    • Yes, I know what you mean, Kim. They really do challenge to think in ways that might not be natural to our wounded hearts. Thanks for stopping by, my friend! Love your new Gravatar–so pretty and bright!

  • Thank you for the link up! Great questions and passages to back them up.

    • Thanks, Cassie, for linking up and for your kind words to me, my friend!

  • bluecottonmemory

    I think the hard part is the re-offending – especially from those on the biological family tree – not so much God’s family tree. I pray for restoration of relationship, for eyes opened on both our sides – but a key to something I’ve learned recently (last 2 years) is that sometimes a prayer for change can be a 15 year journey. As a result, I have faith that there will be restoration – just in God’s time – not mine. I’m a little graceless in the journey of that prayer – and I’m working on how to live that now. I think I understand the perimeters and expectations better now – and that helps! Way to take a tiger by the tail here Beth!

    • Prayer always helps, Maryleigh. It’s like a salve that overtime softens and heals that tender place in our hearts toward our offender. But I totally get how hard it is to really live out this forgiveness with a repeat offender. I’m going to be discussing boundary setting and reconciliation in this series soon. And just to be clear–not everyone needs to reconcile with their offender. And sometimes restoration is achieved in ways that go beyond what we might typically expect.

  • Mary

    Our perspective is so skewed! God’s unconditional grace and His willingness to extend it over and over help me through the hurt and pain that comes in these situations. Your process is very valuable and one that I need to specifically spend some time exploring. Thank you! I missed your weekly visit at my blog. I hope you are doing well!

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Mary. I agree that our perspective is skewed and limited when it comes to God’s grace. It’s a mystery to me how He is able to forgive and love us over and over even as we reoffend Him and reject Him at times. And yet it is “through” this mystery that our hearts begin to soften and transform into a heart like His. Hugs to you, sweet friend!

      • Mary

        Love stopping by and connecting with you! I hadn’t heard that you would be going through treatments so know that my prayers continue.