Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past
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Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past

WaterBrook / 2013 / Paperback

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When his brother committed suicide, Everett Worthington spiraled into depression, shame, and self-condemnation. He felt indirectly responsible for his brother's death--convinced that he should have done much more to reach out when his brother was so deeply troubled. In this practical yet inspiring book, Worthington weaves the moving tale of his own journey to self-forgiveness together with psychological principles, scientific research, and biblical truth to identify six steps anyone can take to make peace with themselves. Moving Forward opens a clear path to freedom from guilt, regret, shame, and self-condemnation.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: WaterBrook
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 0307731510
ISBN-13: 9780307731517

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Publisher's Description

Dr. Worthington provides a path to freedom, from self-condemnation to self-acceptance, and to the life that Christ promises in Moving Forward.

The partial truth about us is hard to accept: We hurt those we love. We fail to step in when others need us most. We do wrong—and we need forgiveness. From others and from God, but also from ourselves.
 
But the full truth about us is liberating and freeing: while we are more deeply flawed than we can imagine, we also are far more valuable and cherished than we can comprehend. To reach the place of self-forgiveness, we must embrace this truth. The gift of God’s acceptance frees us from self-blame, guilt, and shame.
 
In this practical, inspiring book, Dr. Everett Worthington identifies six steps to forgiving yourself:
·         Receive God’s forgiveness
·         Repair relationships
·         Rethink ruminations
·         REACH emotional self-forgiveness
·         Rebuild self-acceptance
·         Resolve to live virtuously

Weaving the story of his brother’s suicide and his overwhelming feelings of regret together with psychological insight, scientific research, and biblical truth, Dr. Worthington opens a clear path to obtaining a full, meaningful life through Christ.

Author Bio

EVERETT L. WORTHINGTON, JR, holds a PhD from the University of Missouri. He is professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a licensed clinical psychologist. He has appeared on Good Morning AmericaCNN, and The 700 Club and has been featured in award-winning documentaries on forgiveness. He has published more than thirty books on topics he has studied scientifically and clinically. Visit his website at www.forgiveself.com.

Discussion Questions

Taking Your Own Steps

This guide is designed to help you continue your journey of forgiving yourself. Keep a notepad nearby so you can write down your thoughts, plans, questions, and next steps.

1. Everett L. Worthington Jr., writes that it is more difficult to forgive yourself than to forgive others. How do you feel about his
statement?

2. The author shares in detail his deepest regrets over his relationship with his late brother. How important is it to be this transparent about your failures? Would you agree this is a necessary step in the process of self-forgiveness?

3. It is natural to condemn yourself for your words and actions that hurt others. In your struggle with self-condemnation, has God appeared to be more often a helper and comforter or a judge? Do you believe God can help you change self-condemning patterns? What assumptions and habits have you identified that prevent God from helping you let go of self-condemnation?

4. You begin to forgive yourself when you make a firm decision to do so. Write down your commitment to do this, then tell someone you trust about your decision. (This person can serve as an accountability partner.) It also helps to write your decision on a card and post it where you will see it regularly. Are you ready to take this step?

5. Clear away major obstacles by first seeking divine forgiveness. List the ways in which you have wronged others, yourself, and God. Also include things you should have done but failed to do. Next, pray to God, seeking God’s forgiveness for each of the things you have written down.

6. If you have confessed to God the words and actions that give rise to your self-condemnation, as well as the failures to act, consider 1 John 1:9. If you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to purify you. Can you accept God’s forgiveness? If not, why not?

7. After you have received God’s forgiveness, consider whether to go to those you have wronged, if that is possible and if it would not lead to further harm. Choose one wrong you are dealing with. Write a good confession and practice saying it aloud. (However, if making this confession to the wronged party would harm that person further, you need to confess to God alone or to a trusted person such as a pastor or your spouse. The same is true if the person is no longer living, cannot be located, or has refused to listen to you.) Do you want to confess to the person?

8. If you decide to confess to the person you harmed, are you ready to do so? If not, why not?

9. Is restitution appropriate? Think of reasons it would be helpful to make amends to the wronged party for what you did or said that was harmful. If it’s possible and appropriate, what would be meaningful restitution in this instance? It might be best to ask directly, "What can I do to make up for what I have done?"

10. If you have made things right with God and have done what is possible, advisable, and safe to make things right with others, you can forgive yourself. If you have made that decision, write it down. This is what the author calls "decisional self-forgiveness." It is an essential step toward finding peace. (To experience complete emotional self-forgiveness, continue to work through the following questions. It is possible to replace negative emotions toward yourself with positive emotions.)

11. You can replace negative, unforgiving emotions with empathy, compassion, and love. This is not easy, as you already know. You are the offending party, so you are doing this work to forgive a wrongdoer—yourself. To help you succeed, seek the help of people who know you well and who love you. Write down the names of three close friends or trusted advisors who will help you. (To work fully through the five steps of emotional selfforgiveness captured in the acronym REACH, go to chapter 16
of this book.)

12. Which is stronger, your sinfulness or God’s grace? Write a brief description of a time you experienced the impact of God’s grace through your entire being. How can you rely on the power of God’s grace in times when you realize you are slipping back into patterns of self-blame, condemnation, and lack of self-acceptance?

13. The author says that self-acceptance can be harder than forgiving yourself. Is this in line with your experience? Can you accept yourself as deeply flawed in a fundamental way and yet know that God loves you very much and thinks you are precious?

14. Because God loves you, you might want to try to be even more dedicated to honoring God through virtuous behavior. Would you like to dedicate yourself to some specific virtue right now? You can write yourself a commitment just below.

15. Has God set you free from the prison of some of your past as you worked through these six steps to self-forgiveness? If so, have you expressed your gratitude?

Endorsements

"A compassionate and very personal examination of the hows and whys of self-forgiveness. Blending the sensitivity of a counselor with the rigor of a scientist is no easy accomplishment, and that is what has made Everett Worthington the most sought-after expert on forgiveness for nearly two decades. Read this book and learn how to move forward in your own journey of self-forgiveness." - ROBERT EMMONS, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier

"Why do we see the need to forgive others while overlooking the importance of forgiving ourselves? Everett Worthington knows from hard experience that both are necessary, but neither is easy. Now you can benefit from his years of research—as well as life-tested application—in taking the only path that will free you from shame and self-condemnation." - DR. TIM CLINTON, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, executive director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University

"Researcher-clinician Everett Worthington, the world's leading expert on the science and practice of forgiveness, now points the way to self-forgiveness. For those of us who are painfully aware of our flaws—and that's most of us—this grace-filled book shows how to lighten the burden of self-blame and guilt, how to discover and embrace God's love, and how to experience healing." - DAVID G. MYERS, Hope College social psychologist, author of A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists

"Who doesn't know the feeling of being stuck in a rut or weighed down with self-condemnation? This book is for all of us who are honest enough to confess our need to make peace with ourselves. Dr. Worthington has suffered through darkness and now uses the story of his personal pain to light the way for all of us. Read Moving Forward and join him on the inspiring journey of self-forgiveness and true peace." —LES PARROTT, PHD, author of Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Moving Forward

"A compassionate and very personal examination of the hows and whys of self-forgiveness. Blending the sensitivity of a counselor with the rigor of a scientist is no easy accomplishment, and that is what has made Everett Worthington the most sought-after expert on forgiveness for nearly two decades. Read this book and learn how to move forward in your own journey of self-forgiveness."
—Robert Emmons, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier

"Why do we see the need to forgive others while overlooking the importance of forgiving ourselves? Everett Worthington knows from hard experience that both are necessary, but neither is easy. Now you can benefit from his years of research—as well as life-tested application—in taking the only path that will free you from shame and self-condemnation."
—Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, executive director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University

"Researcher-clinician Everett Worthington, the world’s leading expert on the science and practice of forgiveness, now points the way to self-forgiveness. For those of us who are painfully aware of our flaws—and that’s most of us—this grace-filled book shows how to lighten the burden of self-blame and guilt, how to discover and embrace God’s love, and how to experience healing."
—David G. Myers, Hope College social psychologist, author of A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists

"Who doesn’t know the feeling of being stuck in a rut or weighed down with self-condemnation? This book is for all of us who are honest enough to confess our need to make peace with ourselves. Dr. Worthington has suffered through darkness and now uses the story of his personal pain to light the way for all of us. Read Moving Forward and join him on the inspiring journey of self-forgiveness and true peace." 
—Les Parrott, PhD, author of Shoulda Coulda Woulda

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