Step 1: injured accuses the injurer of violating a “rule” between them.
Step 2: injurer apologizes for doing the wrong.
Step 3: injured summarizes the actions that were wrong.
Step 4: injurer listens and receives the summary from the perspective of the injured without making excuses or justifications.
Step 5: injured expresses rage, sorrow, and hurt. This is a form of release and is very painful for the injurer to listen to; (sometimes clients get stuck here and go on for months and months doing this fifth step of releasing the pain to the injurer). Staying in this step too long destroys the relationship and often can no longer be repaired if the injurer begins to give up and discontinue involvement. This, however, does not deny the need for time to process the hurts).
Step 6: injurer accepts and listens to the anger, pain, sadness, and resentment.
Step 7: injured seeks assurance from the injurer that this will never happen again.
Step 8: injurer promises never to repeat the injury or hurt.
Step 9: injured must make the decision to give up the victim role. This is where most people stop, but doing so can cause more harm to the relationship than the original injury itself.
Step 10: injured accepts the promises made by the injurer and demands no further “payment” from the injurer.
Step 11: injurer trusts completely that forgiveness is permanent… true healing begins.
Please don’t stay stuck in unforgiveness. Move beyond the hurt. Your mental health hinges on it! Either start over with that relationship or terminate it, but keep moving in these steps.
Lisa Terkeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, challenges us: Am I trying to prove that I am right, or to improve the relationship? She challenges us to redirect our focus to Jesus who is our supreme example of forgiveness!
“For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
2 Chronicles 20:12
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