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COUNSELING

Why Forgiveness is Important

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Knowing how to forgive is a prerequisite skill for living a successful life.


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The Forgiveness Series – Article 2 of 71

Knowing how to forgive is a prerequisite skill for living a successful life. When we understand how to forgive, we can deal with people who offend us. Whatever problem a person encounters in life, he or she will discover within the principles of forgiveness the means with which to face the conflict and to properly handle hurts and frustrations. God wants us, as Christ’s ambassadors in this world, to be effective people-helpers. Once we master the truths of biblical forgiveness, we can help others in a way that will honor and glorify God.

During the past 25 years, I have conducted approximately 20,000 counseling appointments. About 70 percent of these appointments were spent addressing marriage and family problems. The other 30 percent of the sessions were directed towards dealing with a wide range of counseling issues, such as overcoming depression and anxiety, learning how to discern God’s will, conquering impure thoughts, and learning financial stewardship.


Forgiveness is a prerequisite skill for every Christian.


Throughout the course of these thousands of counseling sessions, I have found that one problem has surfaced more often than any other issue. The recurring problem is that most Christians have a serious misunderstanding of the process of biblical forgiveness. This process involves our relationship with God, as well as our relationship with other people. Before we begin the counseling process, I often ask a counselee to define biblical forgiveness. Most counselees seem fairly certain that they know the definition, yet rarely have I received the right answer. Knowing how to forgive is what I call a prerequisite skill for living a successful life.


When we understand how to forgive, we can deal with people who offend us.


The truths contained in the principles of biblical forgiveness are the foundation for most of what is accomplished in my counseling practice. There are many categories of truth, which I call “umbrella truths,” that cluster under the general heading of forgiveness. Whatever problem a counselee encounters, whether it’s dealing with marriage problems, coping with a stressful job or dealing with a rebellious teenager, he or she discovers in the principles of forgiveness the means with which to face the conflict and to properly handle the hurts and frustrations.


Forgiveness can cure our cultural epidemic of violence.


Shocking acts of anger, violence and rage have invaded every level of our society at a terrifying pace that seems to accelerate daily. We read in horror of parents who kill their children and teenagers who wantonly take the lives of their peers. I am convinced that the key to stemming this tidal wave of destruction lies in the truths of biblical forgiveness. That is the reason why I have chosen to address this issue in such detail. Until a Christian learns the principles of biblical forgiveness, his life is destined for shipwreck.


God is strong in our weakness.


At several junctures in my Christian life, I have been tempted to believe that my unwise choices and sinful behaviors had rendered me worthless to God and useless to the Body of Christ. Yet, God in His mercy has faithfully proven Himself strong in my weakness.

The powerful words of encouragement found in II Corinthians 1:3,4 form the basis for my counseling ministry. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I have often personally experienced the comfort described in these verses, as the Lord has graciously granted me His forgiveness. One of the compelling goals of my life and ministry is to share that glorious comfort with hurting people.


God wants us, as Christ’s ambassadors in this world, to be effective people-helpers. Once we master the truths of biblical forgiveness, we can use this vital information as a resource with which to help other people. The ultimate result will be that God will receive honor and glory.

 




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