Step 8

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

Prayers for Each of the 12 Steps

~First Step Prayer~

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.

I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.

~Second Step Prayer~

Heavenly Father,
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.

I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought and
addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

What Kind of Friend Am I ?

Proverbs 17:17 NRSV
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit (in the New Testament), those who followed the Lord (predominantly Israelites) had only the capacity for earthly love, not for heavenly or agape love since they loved out of their own ability and not through the spiritual ability of the Spirit. However, there were still higher standards of behavior given. In the Law, the Lord required:

"You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:17-18 NRSV


You shall love your neighbor as yourself. It was this law that was discussed by the lawyer and the Lord Jesus in Luke 10:

Forgetting and ForgivingPremium Content

Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. Proverbs 20:22

Do not be in a hurry. Let anger cool down. Say nothing and do nothing to avenge yourself. You will be sure to act unwisely if you take up the club and fight your own battles; and, certainly, you will not show the spirit of the Lord Jesus. It is more noble to forgive and let the offense pass. To let an injury burn inside and to think about revenge is to keep old wounds open and to make new ones. It is better to forget and forgive.

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The Need for RepentancePremium Content

...repentance is the ultimate tipping point. It is the mechanism that puts genuine change into action in our lives and in our culture. It is what enables us to move beyond the past-and all of the mistakes of the past-and into the future with bright hopes and new dreams. Repentance is the fulcrum upon which transformation turns.

One of the central messages of the Scriptures is a call to repentance. It is not to predict the future. It is not to offer new moral mandates. It is simply to declare the "words, statutes, and commandments of the Lord" that the people might "be overtaken and repent" (Zechariah 1:6). It is that they might "put on sackcloth and lament" (Joel 1:13). It is that they might "repent and turn" from all their transgressions "lest iniquity be their stumbling block" (Ezekial 18:30). It is that they might "return to the Lord" for "healing and restoration" (Hosea 6:1). This is the constant refrain of hope in the Scriptures:

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Restoration Though Making Amends (Part 1)Premium Content

If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23, 24)

A rescue mission counselor asked me to talk with a man who had returned to their recovery program for the third time. Despite completing their program twice, he was unable to remain sober for more than a few months. Not too far into our discussion, I recognized he had not been able to develop the healthy sort of relationships essential for continued growth in recovery. Fearful of becoming too involved with others, he could not experience the joy of meaningful, fulfilling relationships. I asked him, "Have you ever done the 8 & 9 Steps?” His answer of "No” made perfect sense. Like many newly recovering people, he still carried a load of guilt and remorse from unresolved past relationships. Thus, he could not move forward with confidence to make new intimate relationships. He needed to clean up the residue of his past first.

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Biblical References for the 12 Steps (Long Version)Premium Content

Note: all quotes are from the King James Version (KJV). If you have difficulty understanding the KJV we strongly recommend that you get a copy of a more modern language Bible such as The New Life Version Bible, New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, Today's English Version, The Message, etc.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

--For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is
good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil
which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not,
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. Romans 7:18-20

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I have asked God for forgiveness, do I have to ask my spouse too?Premium Content

Question:If you have asked God for forgiveness do you still need to ask your spouse for forgiveness?

Marriage Guidance: Let's take a closer look at some of the issues that are involved with repentance and seeking forgiveness so we can better understand what to do in this situation.

Seeking Christ's Forgiveness

When we go to Christ with our sin(s) or perhaps our "sinful lifestyle" it means we have a heart-felt sorrow for what we did or for how we had been living and are "now" ready to TURN away from our sins (that lifestyle) and become a new person (transformed) in God through Jesus Christ.

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ForgivenessPremium Content

There is much to be said about forgiveness and the impact it has one each life. The Bible holds hundreds of examples of people who have experienced first-hand, being forgiven of wrongful deeds: King David, Peter the disciple when he denied knowing Jesus three times, the woman caught in adultery, Paul who murdered hundreds of Christians before his conversion, Cain who killed his brother Abel because Abel's sacrifice was accepted and Cain's was not are just some to name a few who experienced the forgiveness of God in their life first-hand.

The sole purpose behind the come of Jesus Christ as a human was that He died as an atonement for our sins. He hung on the cross in our place. By all rights, WE should be the ones hanging on the cross. After all, Jesus was WITHOUT ANY SIN, but we were born into sin, yet it was Jesus who died and it is us who live.

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 1 John 1:8.

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3:23.

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Forgiveness Workshop TranscriptPremium Content

Obie-HostIt is my great pleasure to introduce to you today Yvonne Ortega.She serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery and leads her own ministry which she will tell you about. Today she will be speaking on Forgiveness.

Every time Yvonne leads a workshop we are all greatly blessed by her insights. Let us open in prayer.....

Heavenly Father,
We pray for our workshop leader Yvonne today.Anoint her with the Holy Spirit. Give her Your words of wisdom to share with us --
words of healing. Open our ears, hearts and minds that we are teachable and also open to the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus we all pray. Amen.

Yvonne will speak for several minutes and then we will have a question and answer period where you will be able to ask questions. Yvonne, you now have the floor!

Yvonne Thank you.
What does it mean “to forgive”?
It means to give up feeling angry or wanting to punish, to show mercy, to pardon.

Countless adults have told me they can’t forgive themselves. One woman had an abortion and said, “I’m a murderer. I can’t go back to church.”

An alcoholic lost his wife, his children, his job, his car, and his home. His children refused to have anything to do with him. He said, “It’s all my fault for drinking like I did.”

A married woman got drunk and had sex with a male acquaintance. She was beside herself with shame and guilt.

A man fell asleep at the wheel and hit a guardrail. His daughter was thrown from the van and died. He was overwhelmed with grief and beat himself up repeatedly for the loss of his daughter.

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