Thursday, December 5, 2013

The work of forgiveness 12

Step 5 is the time to consider what God is showing you, and make a list that reflects the changes you are experiencing inside.
5. Reflect on what I am learning, come up with new perspectives, continue to an attitude of forgiveness, and realize there may or may not be an actual moment when I feel the work is complete. It may be more of a continuum where I gradually come to feel more forgiving than I had before.
The list I make in this phase is a kind of settling into a place where forgiveness is possible. It usually contains some statements acknowledging the hurt the person's actions have caused. But it also includes reflections on other things (good things, areas of growth, positive changes, etc.) that might not have come about were it not for the person's sins.

I often include on the list the ways my perspective on the person and their actions have been changing.

It can include my best estimation of the "why" behind the actions. Perhaps the person was blindly defending a family member. Perhaps they have an emotional disability. They might have been yearning for acceptance by an influential person. This is not excusing the behavior. It is trying to understand it.

Sometimes I need to throw up my hands and admit I do not understand, and probably never will. This also goes on the list. It is not an insurmountable situation though, as it helps me identify more with Jesus' act of forgiveness on the cross for people who "know not what they do."

These are by no means the only kinds of reflections you can write down in step 5. Whatever insights you are finding are helpful should go here. Whatever has the potential to move you towards forgiveness should be considered and noted.

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