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Forgiveness Guide Book

Forgiveness Guide Book

Forgiveness is a skill. It’s one of the qualities we develop for spiritual intelligence – it is inseparable from purpose, mission and love.


DISCERNMENT: The ability to forgive comes with character growth which
cultivates discernment and wisdom. When we have a clear sense of our
responsibilities, we are able to keep our minds and activities focused on
that which is our responsibility, relationship and calling.

LETTING GO: Forgiving is letting go. When we know our part…our place
to make a difference in our world, we can release all other responsibility
to others, and, oftentimes, to the world or to the Creator.

HOLDING ON: Holding on to trying to adjust, change, heal, repair, punish
or teach where we don’t belong is usually fruitless and frustrating.

FORGIVENESS AND COMPASSION: Forgiveness is a universal ability. It is a skill of emotional and spiritual intelligence which anyone can develop. We might say that those with emotional and spiritual intelligence have developed themselves to think, speak and do the loving thing in situations and in relationships. Emotional intelligence can be measured on twenty scales and three areas of our emotional development relate directly to our ability to forgive: emotional awareness, emotional competencies and values & attitudes. One EQ scale is compassion. The definition of compassion from Essi Systems, a pioneering research company on emotional intelligence, is: “your ability to be exceptionally empathetic, to appreciate and honor another person’s feelings and point of view, and to be forgiving of yourself and of others.”


Carlile Forgiveness Model

Carlile Forgiveness Model

Stage 1: Grieving & Understanding: Uncovering the Injury

THE INJURY: what they did that caused hurt, disrespect, harm, betrayal, violation, damage, cheating, wounding, destruction, etc.

EMOTIONS: how it made you feel about what (see following page for a feeling vocabulary).

YOUR RESPONSE: how you grieve, punish, control, please, play passive, bully, whine, get defensive, judge, get revenge, take the blame, feel guilty, etc.

Stage 2: Desire & Decision: Ready to Forgive

I am ready to stop suppressing my frustration, to stop expressing my anger and to release the injury.

I release my thoughts of revenge and punishment.
I am willing to let go of any grudges I have held.
I accept and cry away the pain that I suffered.
I am not ready to stop suppressing my frustration, nor to stop expressing my anger and cannot yet release the injury. In order to be ready to forgive, I need this to happen:

Stage 3: Inner & Outer Action: Rebuilding Safety & Offering Forgiveness

I am willing to pardon you, _________________________ , for what you did to me.
I am willing to pardon you, _________________________ , for what you did NOT do to me!
I choose to take responsibility for all MY feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.
I will no longer blame anyone else for these:

Stage 4: Surrender & Release: Letting Go

I accept only the guilt or shame that is my responsibility and I forgive myself for feeling:

I can let go of fear, resentment, hopelessness, jealousy, hate and revenge because:

Stage 5: Understanding & Acceptance: Looking Ahead

I open my hardened heart and become sensitive with empathy and compassion.
I see a spiritual lesson in this situation and relationship:
I let go of wanting to be right.
Let go of wanting to control.
I freely offer my compassion.

When you use this mini guide to forgiveness, I’d be grateful to hear about your results.

Best wishes,

Forgiveness Guide Table of Contents

About Forgiveness
The Five Stages of Forgiveness
Defining Forgiveness
Your Forgiveness Guide: Working through the Forgiveness Stages
Stage 1: Grieving & Acknowledgement: Uncovering the Injury
Narrative of Slights, Hurts, Grievances or Betrayals
Vocabulary of Difficult Experiences and Emotions
Stage 2: Desire & Decision: Ready to Forgive
Forgiveness Assessment
My Readiness to Forgive
Stage 3: Inner & Outer Action: Rebuilding Safety & Offering Forgiveness
Contemplation Asking for Deeper Understanding
Readiness to Offer Goodwill
Stage 4: Surrender & Release: Letting Go
Grieving My Loss and Pain
Stage 5: Understanding & Acceptance: Looking Ahead
My Empathy and Compassion
The Paradox of Mercy
Vocabulary for a Forgiving Attitude
Narrative of Blessing
Seeking Forgiveness Exercise
Forgiveness Self-Talk or Affirmations
A Prayer for Our Peoples

Heather’s Forgiveness Guide is 35 pages structured as a self-paced workbook.

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that
person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.
Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
-Catherine Ponder