The 12 Steps Of Forgiveness

  Forgiveness is hard.  It’s hard because it feels like WE are the ones losing when we give it, but that is a lie.  Satan loves it when you feel that way, because you just hold it tighter in your clenched fist. You own it. You wear it. You live it each and every day.

  Guess what? You don’t have to ANYMORE.

  Forgiveness the very foundation on which we stand, saved by grace. Jesus wants us to lay our burdens and hurts down at His feet, to let HIM have them, to release us from our heavy load. He is a gentleman. He will never take them from you, He simply waits for you to hand them to Him.

The burden of unforgiveness is a hard one to bear, for it is like swallowing poison every day, and expecting the other person to get sick. Eventually, it is you who will die inside.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

  Me choosing NOT to forgive, is like saying what Jesus did on that cross was not enough. I need Christ to simply flow HIS forgiveness THROUGH me. My job is merely to be open to this, I don’t have to be healed or “in a good place emotionally” for this to occur.

  Please take a moment to watch this music video, the song is BEAUTIFUL!  It will be the best 4 minutes you spend today.

   YOU are the reason He died a horrific, slow, painful death.


  Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

  He would’ve died if you were the only person in the whole wide world.  Because He loves you.  He wants to be in eternity with you.  He wipes out our transgressions for HIS own sake.  That is incredible!

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

  I am going to share 12 Steps of Forgiveness with you.  I encourage you on your journey to complete and total forgiveness of the person who hurt you, to work through this list.  Print it off and put it next to your bed.

Take it, one step at a time. Check them off as you complete them. Date them if you’d like. It may take weeks or even months to get to Step 12, but do it! Be thorough. Make sure one step is DONE, before moving on to the next. Bathe this list in prayer and ask God to help you forgive.

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for FREEDOM, that Christ has set you free. Stand firm then, and do not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery….”

How about the yoke of unforgiveness?

You don’t have to wear it anymore!

The 12 Steps of Forgiveness

Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

1) I own the pain and hurt. I own “My Truth”.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2) I get in touch with my feelings and thoughts about it.

3) I express my feelings and thoughts to God.

Matthew 9:4 “Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

4) I decide to forgive, and say it out loud.

5) I surrender the right to get even.

Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”

6) I decide to put up with an uneven score.

I Corinthians 13:5b “Love…..keeps no record of wrong.”

7) I let go of my feelings. I Surrender.

Psalm 50:15 “…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

8) I cease defining the person who hurt me in terms of the hurt they caused, and become open to the possibility of the person changing positively. I begin to pray for and bless that person.

Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.”

9) I cease defining myself as a powerless victim.

10) I begin to look for the good that God can bring out of it–with my cooperation!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

11) I let go of the misuses of the wrongs, such as an excuse for revenge, irresponsibility, blaming, and assume responsibility for my attitude, thoughts and behaviors.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

12) I become freed from the power of the hurt, such as the bondage of anger bitterness, mistrust and self-pity.

Romans 5:3 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…..”

No matter what, keep your chin up, and remember….GOD IS BIGGER!

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”8) White as snow

31 thoughts on “The 12 Steps Of Forgiveness

  1. What a post! I don’t know how anyone could watch that music video with out crying! I know I could not. Thanks for sharing it. It really puts the 12 steps of forgivness into perspective! The Passion is a hard movie to watch but oh soo good!
    Keep pressing forward Tonya,God has a plan for you life! You are doing so well! I love every post.It show how much you are growing!:)

  2. It’s not coincidental that I came across this blog on the day and at the time that I did. It was a rough day. Most days are good, but today was hard. It’s been 5 weeks for me. Thank you for your insight on forgiveness. Thank you for helping me to see that it IS possible and that my marriage IS worth fighting for. God Bless you.

  3. Thanks so much for these series of posts. Your transparency is helpful and appreciated. Reading the one on heartbreak was hard for me because it hit so close to home. It has been four years since I found out about my husband’s extramarital affairs. I was absolutely shattered and for a period of time, could barely take care of my three little ones at home. My husband and I are still together, but only because of Christ. The pain still hurts but I am learning how to live with the new normal of choosing everyday to forgive, not get even and take my thoughts captive. This is the single most agonizing thing I have ever had to walk through. Thank you Jesus that you are my faithful husband and comforter.

    • Oh Jennifer, I am sorry you had to endure that heartache. There are just no words as to what a women goes through emotionally after being betrayed. I want to encourage you to continue to forgive and lay it all at the altar…walk away FREE from it! It sounds like you are working towards just that! I am proud of you for choosing to stay and fight, rather than throw your marriage away. God is so pleased with you!
      My counselor told me, one day you will be able to think about this circumstance and no longer live it, feel it and own it. I didn’t believe him, but I am there, praise God. Now, I still have bad days, I do, but I am no longer tormented in my thoughts. My chest no longer aches with pain. Tears don’t fill my eyes nearly as often, and I am beginning to see glimpses of why this all just might be worth it.
      I am here for you. Thanks for this great comment!
      Hugs, T

      • Oh,your encouragement means so much to me! You are one amazing woman and Jesus has done a miraculous healing event in your heart! I know the pain first hand and nothing but the salve of our creator can help ease the throb of the wound. I am hoping that more women who have been through this will find this blog because we all are in need of support and lifting up during the rebirth of our heart. I wish I was “more healed” than I am but I take things day by day. My husband had five affairs that lasted over six years, not to mention all the pornography which apparently was existing our entire marriage. Thankfully, besides becoming infected with a venereal disease from one of his partners, the Lord protected us from worse (which could have been death by AIDS or harm by his affair partner’s husbands). I have to remind myself that I can’t hurry a wound to heal, but only do what the Lord asks of me. That includes being a living example of his forgiveness and unconditional love (with accountability and speaking the truth in love of course). I always try remember that as the wife, I have been the adulteress to my heavenly husband Jesus when I have chosen my own sinful ways of dealing with life. If He can forgive me of my unfaithfulness, I must forgive my husband of the same.

  4. This is our story too, except add 2 more kids =) It has been 2 yrs and 4 months for us. I too have chosen to stay, to chose us. We have gone to counseling which helped greatly. My husband is a changed man, I truly see it. I never saw a change like this before when I found out the other 2 times in our marriage over 12 yrs. The healing process has been slow, but God is faithful.
    I am still struggling with fear and doubt. How did you deal with the fears and doubts? I can’t seem to let go of it.

    • The key is to remember WHO creates fears and doubts. Are they from God? Nope. So, we bind the devil in the name of Jesus. I tell him “Leave me alone in Jesus name, I give no conscent to that thought.” This is something I choose minute by minute or day by day. Sometimes I go weeks without struggle only to be bombarded the next week worse then ever. When you know who the enemy is, and where the attack is coming from, it’s easier to be ready. To have your armor on. Choose to trust. Choose to believe. Have faith that God will restore what the locusts have eaten, not to ok, or good, but BETTER than you’ve ever experienced before. {just like the changes you see in your husband, praise God!} Choosing to trust and believe are pre-cursers to actually experiencing it! It’s the first steps to rebuilding the glass house of trust in your marriage. Someday, it’ll be a solid foundation to stand on again, without fear or doubts, because we serve a MIGHTY God! 🙂

      • May I add that we put our trust in the Lord first. Everyone will let us down, but God is always, always for us. I am struggling to trust as well, but am always reminding myself that I do not need to force trust in my husband; that will come naturally over time when he proves himself trustworthy. Trust in man is built slowly, but trust in God both a choice and proven over time. We need to remember that we are held in the Father’s hand whether our husbands choose to cheat in the future or not. One mistake I made before I found out about my husband’s affairs, was putting my “okayness” in my circumstances, or in the mood of my husband or the appearance that he was pursuing God. If we say we will only be okay if our husbands are faithful, is making our husband’s faithfulness an idol. If we say that ultimately we know we will be okay because we are the King’s daughter, we are putting our ultimate trust in the right place. Don’t get me wrong-I want to trust my husband, but I must first realize that God knows better than me, and I cannot control anyone else. By the way, I sometimes get embarrassed to say I still hurt after four years, but I give that to God and try everyday to handle the devastation in a way that would make Him proud.

  5. I was looking up on whether to have new rings for renewal vows when I stumbled across your blog. While my husband did not have an affair we have been through some rocky times that have made me wonder why we ever married. We are going through counseling now and have decided that while there are still issues that need to be sorted through that we should start over. I found myself being unable to forgive and being unable to recognize the steps he had made because I wanted to stay angry at him for letting me down, for betraying and abandoning me when I was sick, for not holding up his end of the vows. The forgiveness is hard and your words have come at a very needed time. Thank you

    • God bless you as you make a brand new, fresh covenant before Christ! Our Vow renewal was more meaningful then our wedding day because we KNEW what those vows we were saying meant. Write your own, make them personal, you have walked a rocky path and your understanding of what it all means is so great.
      Keep me posted on you! Hugs, T

  6. A month ago my husband revealed he had an affair. My world as I knew it was shattered in a million peices. I have scoured the blogosphere for encouragement and most times have come up empty, finding only women who held pnto victim mentality and not onto God who restores broken hearts. Last night I told my husband I forgave him, as it a choice, but was wrestling with the hurt and emotions unsure of what choosing forgiveness meant in the midst of healing. These verses are exactly what I needed to read. thank you for sharing you and your husbands story!

    • Amee, I am so sorry! My heart aches for you. Healing will come, slowly, purposefully….layer by layer. I still have bad days, bad moments, but you are right, we have to CHOOSE in those moments to forgive, to choose love, to choose “us”. Keep reading our story, it is our prayer that the Lord will use it to speak and help others going through similar circumstances. Because Revelation 12:11a says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…..”
      Keep your chin up, it does get better! Hugs, T

  7. Thank you for this. I needed to hear and see exactly what you have written and and in surviving infidelity. My husband also revealed he had an affair. Though I am fully committed to take these steps into effect and deciding to stay, I find myself completely conflicted in doing it because it seems like he doesn’t care about putting the effort to make our marriage good again. I am not able to talk to him about how I am feeling. It also does not help that he is not interested in getting closer to God. This has been the most excruciating part from me is that I am choosing to forgive and move on and take steps to make our marriage better but he will not reciprocate those efforts in return. I’m so lost. I found your blog for a reasonad this would be so much easier if he was showing willingness to put his part in making it better.

    • Mel, I completely understand how you’re feeling. My husband of 11 years confessed his infidelity to me on August 16, 2012 – the darkest day of my life. He has made some changes but only attends counselling when I INSIST upon it and does not want to hear anything about my feelings or concerns. He wants to pretend it didn’t happen and he’s distanced himself even further from our church family as opposed to reaching out for help. I don’t know how long I keep working and trying and loving when he is just burying his head in the sand. I am so thankful and amazed by the love of our Saviour, I would never be able to function in this without Jesus. I know I will ultimately be fine as I am safe in the Lord’s arms, but right now, in this earthly life, I am lonely and sad and scared and just TIRED. I just keep praying for the strength and correct attitude to carry me and my two wonderful kids through this. It’s encouraging and devastating at the same time to find such a large group of women who are going through the same pain as me. Thank you to Tonya for her bravery and obedience to God for creating this blog for us.

      • The sad part is, that satan lives in the secret dark places. If these men could only understand, that talking about it, processing it together and bringing all of it into the light, renders satan powerless. Not to mention brings GREAT healing!
        I am so blessed that you found us, and that our hurt is not wasted, but is being used to reach others. God bless you and may He break your husband, so that he may be brought to a place of total surrender, for then he can be made new….
        Hugs, T

  8. Tonya, I came across this post a little while ago but I wasn’t ready to actually go through the steps. I am willing to try now but can you elaborate a little more on step 1? I don’t quite understand what it means to “own the pain and hurt…“My Truth”. I already know I’m hurting…so what else do I need to do to “own” it?

    • You may already be doing this step, by knowing you need to work towards forgiveness. For me, “owning” my hurt meant excepting infidelity happened to me. TO ME. My worst fear came true, and it was real. It meant not denying it happened, or wishing it away, or looking back to the Land of “IF ONLY”. It meant I could say, My name is Tonya and my husband betrayed our marriage vows, and be real about the tears that came afterwards. I am so thankful you are working towards forgiveness, which actually means working towards total FREEDOM!!!!!!! Please let me know if you have troubles along the way with any of the steps, I’d be happy to help talk you through. It may be months before you get to step 12 and that’s ok, be thorough. Don’t cross one off until you are SURE you are ready…..
      May God bless you on this path to freedom in Christ, T

  9. Thank you for a wonderful post! Unfortunately it was me who stayed having an emotional affair and right now I so want for my husband to forgive, not to let me off the hook, however to let himself off the hook. I am remorseful and have reflected within myself as I talk to God regularly. I love him dearly and an hoping we will make it through stronger and better. I have re-committed myself to the man I love and want to be with til death parts us. Thank you again for your wonderful posts, I will show them to my husband in hopes they will help him heal and realize we are worth fighting for.

  10. What would your reply be to a wife whose husband has molested their child? The molestation went on for years but stopped 11 1/2 yrs. ago. My daughter is now 22…He also played touchy feely w 2 teenage nieces before that. I found out about the nieces about 2 years before I found out my daughter’s childhood nightmare.

    • I would still encourage you to forgive, forgiveness makes a captive free and the captive is YOU. He was terribly wrong, terribly. He is responsible for his own actions and forgiveness from the Lord. Your only job is to forgive him for this act, help your daughter get counseling to do the same. So that the chains of anger, hurt and unforgiveness don’t weight you down.
      I am so sorry, I am sure that was completely devestating for all of you to have this truth come out. Is your husband still in your home? Is he seeking forgiveness from all parties involved?

  11. I am living in our home. He lives w his mom on the same property, too close for me. My daughter was married last summer. Of all things, she married a counselor! We’d known him before all this came out. She requested her dad not contact her til she lets him know she wants contact. She needs to feel in control of that relationship, if there will be one. She’s doing pretty well & is happy. I have been a homeschooling mother & homemaker for 25 yrs. I’m struggling to get a job. I want to relocate closer to my married children. Yes, he seeks forgiveness from all parties concerned, realizing his loss. He has lied to me from the very first of our marriage. I forgive him but don’t want to be with him. I truly would rather be alone. There isn’t anything he could have done that would have hurt me more than this. I’m nearly 60 yrs. old. I thank God for my faith. My husband has been very difficult all these years, harsh & then nice. I have so much more peace now, altho’ many questions about my future. My children completely support me. I have amazing friends. God bless you, Tonya.

  12. It’s worth it to clarify that forgiveness is not the same as reconcilliation. I remember on the night my world came crashing down, my husband asked if I’d ever be able to forgive him. Stunned and unable to even cry, I said: “yes, of course, with God’s help, I will be able to forgive you someday but to be reconciled to you is quite another thing.” Forgiveness frees you. Reconciliation must be earned after safety is established. The unfaithful spouse can create safety while trust is slowly, painfully rebuilt.

  13. Reblogged this on How To Not Hate My Husband and commented:
    I gave this to Bob what feels like eons ago, but in actuality it was like 3 months. I really thought I could forgive and move on without I didn’t know it was a process or if I did I thought I did it (if that makes sense).

    Turns out I guess I’ve never really forgiven people because I just cut the poison out. M and S are poison. S is out for dam sure in my life. M? once again FML it would be easy if we didn’t have 4 children who thought he is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Who look to him for validation and affirmation daily.. Can I compete with their Dad unfortunately no. I will never be their Dad.

    So I reblog this to remind me that anger is my first response to anything I’m uncomfortable with. We all know I have anger down like a BOSS!! as my son would say..

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