What does it mean to take a biblical approach to forgiveness? What does forgiveness really mean, and how to know if you’ve forgiven someone? We discuss all of this in Episode 56 of the Grace for Single Parents Podcast. Make sure you listen to the episode for the complete interview. Below is an overview.
Dr. Ronald Ramsey talks about his book, “40 Days to Forgiveness” and why he wrote it.
Why a 40 Day format? Dr. Ramsey explains the significance of 40 days in the Bible and that he’s learned you can’t rush forgiveness.
Before we can discuss forgiveness, Dr. Ramsey explains what unforgiveness is and how many get stuck in the unforgiveness cycle which prevents moving on.
“Forgiveness is for oneself. It doesn’t require that you be connected to the person that transgressed you at all. That would be reconciliation.”
How do we know when we’ve fully forgiven someone?
Dr. Ramsey explains, “when you’re able to change your thoughts without involving the person’s transgression, you’re able to take ownership for it and do it on your own.”
Dr. Ramsey explains his 6 steps in the forgiveness process using the acronym ACTION from his book:
- A: Acknowledge what’s happened to you and explore what the feelings are that you’re experiencing.
- C: Commitment. Research shows that if people don’t commit to try to forgive, they won’t be able to forgive.
- T: Transitioning our mind from a negative focus on the transgressor to a positive focus.
- I: Internalization, which is spiritual maturity: prayer, meditation, scripture study, and fellowship.
- O: Openness to open your heart to a different way of looking at the transgressor a different way.
- N: ext Steps: Nurturing the forgiveness process that you’ve experienced.
“There’s no such thing as “forgive and forget”…We can’t forget something that we’ve experienced. We may suppress it and put it out of our mind, but it’s still there and may get triggered.”
How to work the ACTION steps: “they’re intended to be sequential, but I think a person could jump around based on where they feel they’re stuck at right now.”
Spiritual Maturity and Forgiveness
The road to spiritual maturity involves 4 spiritual disciplines. This is the “I” step in ACTION.
- prayer, which is our vertical relationship with God.
- meditation, scripture about listening for God’s still small voice through meditation
- scripture study, which also means committing scripture to your memory
- fellowship, which means being in connection with likeminded believers, where you can get encouragement and, you can feel loved and feel compassion while you’re going through this journey.
How do we know that we need to forgive someone versus “let it go”? Dr. Ramsey explains there are different degrees of transgressions:
- recognize the level of unforgiveness you’re experiencing
- ask yourself, am I stuck on ruminating about this? Does this keep coming up in my mind? Do I have negative thoughts of how I would like to treat this other person?
- when that vicious cycle continues and we’re in a narrative and we feel compelled to tell other people about it, to try to get them to take sides with us
“When we’re stuck in a cycle of thoughts, that’s chaining us to the person that’s committed a hurt against us, that’s a time to ask ourselves the question, is this something that I need to [forgive]?”
Dr. Ramsey talks about how journaling can help us work through unforgiveness. We discuss the importance of looking at the person who hurt you from God’s perspective.
Where to find Dr. Ramsey and his book:
- Dr. Ramsey’s book: “40 Days to Forgiveness“
- Website: https://fortydaystoforgiveness.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FortyDaysToForgiveness
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/FortyDaysToForgiveness