All of us have experienced betrayal and have had to learn forgiveness.
About this Class
“One of the most life-changing events in my life was a seminar I attended on forgiveness at Oasis Retreats. All of us have experienced betrayal and have had to learn forgiveness. This conference was the single most important event in my life that helped me start to learn what forgiveness is, and isn't.
“There are only two things we can do with the past. We can either forgive, or we can let our past hurts control us. There is no third option. Many of us work under the false impression that if we could have justice, that would make all things okay. But justice does not bring back the child killed by a drunk driver, restore the girl who was violated, or return the ministry ripped from our hands. Whatever be your story, we all need to continue learning how to forgive.” — Bill Mounce, President of BiblicalTraining
Ron Toews is a counselor practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). He has been part of the team of Oasis Retreats for fifteen years, a significant experience in the life for many in ministry. Over a thousand people in ministry have invited the Oasis experience to shape their ministry. Words they use to describe their experience and the impact on their ministry going forward include: “healing, hope, restored, new effectiveness, vision understanding and ministry tools.”
If you know of anyone in ministry who could benefit from revitalization for themselves and their ministry, let them know about Oasis Retreats.
Be sure to download the Student Notes and the Chart (to the right).
Ron Toews introduces the topic forgiveness, commenting on why we need to talk about it, what happens when we choose not to forgive, and when we do choose to forgive. The themes are "Justice" (what I want for others when I am wronged) and "Mercy" (what I want from others when I do them wrong. The past cannot be changed, but our present and future are set in place by our choices. Forgiveness is not about being nice; it is about not letting the past control our present and future.
When we decide not to forgive, our future is pretty fixed. It will narrow our possibilities and will be followed by bitterness and destruction. Ron also discusses what forgiveness is not, and when forgiveness is not relevant.
The more intimate the relationship, the more risk that is involved, and the more likelihood that forgiveness is going to be part of the picture. A pivotal concept is that pain and anger are not the message, just the messenger. When our lives develop cracks, the light of God is able to shine in a heal us. Ron covers the powerful example of a tennis ball. It is relatively small, but when we bounce it around the room it takes up alot of space. Likewise, when we rumninate about the past, when we reherarse the hurts, they take up bigger and bigger areas of our lives, and the past was never meant to be in charge of our lives.
When we are hurt, the anger rises. This is okay; anger is just the messenger that there is danger, it is an internal emotion and not the outward behavior. But what we need to do is step away from the event, calm down, and then deal with the actual event and the real issues. Painful things want to distract us, but they aren’t suppose to be in charge of your life. Rather, we should not blast off but rather manage our emotions. We walk in the same direction, day after day, and eventually we will reach our destination.
Once we have experienced pain, we have to get the intensity down and then come back and handler the event. Ron suggests a sample set of questions. (1) Tell the person what it was like for you. (2) Then ask the other person what the event was like for them. Remember, the behavior is the mesenger, not the message. The message is what you need to get to.
There are different levels of relationship, and with each comes a different level of vulnerability and risk. How you deal with forgiveness depends on which level your relationship with the other person is. A key issue in forgiveness is the level of the person's relationship and how that affects how you pursue forgiveness.
The process of forgiving someone follows a specific format, depending on whether they repent or not. But regardless of what the other person does, you can still forgive. But it may not mean the restoration of the relationship.
Questions and answers about what forgivness looks like in specific situations.