Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Experience Joy During the Holidays

The holiday season can be hectic, stressful and difficult for many people. When we compound that with issues of unforgiveness in our lives we are not able to fully rejoice and enjoy the season of gratitude and thankfulness.

Wounds that are not completely healed often cause unmet expectations, sadness and regrets. The litmus test to see whether a wound is completely healed is to ask yourself if you are uncomfortable when you see that person or you hear their name. If you feel discomfort, your wound is not healed. If your unhealed wound is a result of someone’s offense against you, there is a way to find healing.

Author and speaker Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged – at the Cross with Jesus.

With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.

“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace Q&A with author Nan Self

“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus. He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

Nan Self

The title of the book indicates that there is a connection between forgiveness and grace. Can you explain that connection?

Our sin is what keeps us from enjoying a relationship with God. You could say that each of us offended Him through our disobedience. He chose to forgive us and restore our relationship with Him through His son, Jesus. Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus. He carried our sins to the Cross and bore the pain of those sins so that we might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, we receive a release from sin that we have not earned or deserved. It is a gift, and in order to receive this gift, we need to accept His forgiving grace.

There are many people that may not understand the importance of forgiveness. Why is it such a big deal?

Forgiveness is the key to healthy relationships with God and with each other. Our failure to accept the grace of forgiveness for our own lives and then give that very same gift to others prevents us from experiencing a vibrant relationship with God and with other people. When we don’t forgive, we can become prisoners of unforgiveness, judgment, and bitterness. We may be physically alive, but we are held captive by our past and unable to walk in the freedom that Jesus died to give us.

You’ve dedicated a chapter to “bitter-root judgment”. What is it and what does it have to do with forgiveness?

The Scripture refers to a “root of bitterness” in the book of Hebrews. We are warned to watch out for it, to be sure that we do not lose our grip on grace and allow bitterness to overtake us. Bitterness poisons us and can ruin every relationship we have. It is the result of judgments we have made of others especially the judgments we have made against our parents. When we judge one or both parents, we set in motion a bitter-root judgment and an expectation that we will do the same thing that we have judged them for. It is vitally important to uproot our bitter-root judgments by confessing them and repenting of them so that we can be set free to honor our parents and live a long life. Deuteronomy 5:16

You describe unforgiveness as a prison. What does it mean to be a captive and what is the first step to making space for grace?
A captive is someone who is taken by an enemy and put into prison. Unforgiveness, refusing to forgive your offender, is an enemy because it is a sin and a bondage. When a person will not forgive, they go into the prison of unforgiveness. This prison isolates and separates them from others because they are holding onto the offenses of another person from their present or their past.
God requires everyone to forgive. It is not an option. Some of the consequences of unforgiveness are fear, anger, bitterness, resentment and rage. A few of the gifts of forgiveness are love, gratefulness, joy, mercy, and faith. Forgiveness brings peace, freedom and healing.
Our first step to making space for grace occurs when anyone offends us. God offers us the grace to forgive them. We have a choice to make as soon as the offense occurs. We can choose forgiveness or unforgiveness. If we choose to forgive the offender and release their offenses to God, then we have extended God’s grace to them. That is the first step to making space for grace. We are free and they are freely released. We received the gift of God’s forgiving grace from Him and we share that grace with them.
If we do not choose to forgive the offender, then the first step to make space for grace is to confess our sin of unforgiveness and repent of it.

When did you create the steps of forgiveness for restoring relationships?

The steps of forgiveness for restoring relationships are really a compilation of years of my personal journey of walking in forgiveness, teaching and counseling. After teaching on a variety of different subjects related to forgiveness for many years, I realized that I had a list of steps that fit together.

Briefly describe the steps of forgiveness for restoring relationships with others.

a) No matter how big or small your relationship wound, God is always waiting for you in expectation and patience. All you have to do is say His name and He is there with you. He heals your wounds and meets your needs.

b) Allow yourself to experience any feelings surrounding the offense toward you. Take an honest look at how the offense has impacted your soul and spirit.

c) Give yourself permission to grieve over the offenses. Release your wounded feelings to God.

d) Extend grace to yourself and give yourself time to heal.

e) Allow grace to bring you to a place where you confess, repent, and release yourself
and your sins to God. Ask God to forgive your sin of unforgiveness.

f) Receive God’s forgiveness by faith for yourself and others.

g) Pray for yourself. Ask God to show you what your needs are. Ask Him to meet them.

h) Choose to actively forget the offense as the wound heals. If the memory of the wound tries to come back to your mind, refuse it and verbally choose forgiveness.

You state that the prison of unforgiveness and the prison of passivity are similar, yet very different at the same time. How so?

The two are similar structures because they are both prisons. We place ourselves in the prison of unforgiveness when we are unwilling to forgive. We can release ourselves from the prison the moment we offer forgiveness to those who offended us. The prison of passivity is different because we become incarcerated over a period of time through our unwillingness to make choices and act on them. We become passive and stuck. To be set free from the prison of passivity stand against passivity in yourself. Accept responsibility for making decisions. Each decision that you make and act on removes a bar from the prison of passivity. Coming out of the prison structure of passivity is a deliberate process that requires diligence and perseverance. Freedom from the prison of passivity is a gradual process while freedom from the prison of unforgiveness can happen quickly. If you choose to forgive someone, you make space for God’s grace in your heart and you are released from the prison of unforgiveness.

Even though you had personally practiced the principles of forgiveness for years, you found that there had been a “missing ingredient” that prevented you from consistently walking in forgiveness. What was the “missing ingredient”?

Placing my faith in God was the missing ingredient that kept me from consistently walking in forgiveness. For years, I realized that I had tried to leave the dark place of my sin and my past, which I thought I had taken care of through confession and repentance. I kept going through the steps of forgiveness, but I still felt as though I was dragging my past with me. I never realized that in order to leave the past, I had to have faith in God and His provision for freedom in my future. I told God that I was ready to leave my past behind me. As I put my faith in Him, I felt as if a very powerful, heavy weight had been lifted from my spirit. I was no longer in bondage to the past. My struggle to find what I was missing was over.

To read more about Nan visit www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace

Forgiveness is often spoken of, attempted by many, occasionally understood. Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her newly released book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, March 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged ­ at the Cross with Jesus.

Lana Bateman, president and director of Philippian Ministries states, “Nan Brown Self has given us a treasured gift in her book, Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace. She helps us understand how the grace of forgiveness brings peace and harmony to our souls. Open your heart now to God¹s amazing love as you learn to make space for the grace of forgiveness. It can set you free!”

Now everyone has the opportunity to truly understand and experience this same grace of forgiveness through Nan’s latest work. Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace is profoundly practical. With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.
“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

From the moment I picked up Nan Brown Self’s book, Forgiveness: Making Space For Grace, something wonderful began to occur. I became keenly aware of the power of forgiveness and how much God wants us to be free of the guilt and shame of the past. If you need to forgive someone, including yourself, this book offers real hope, help and healing!

– Babbie Mason, award-winning singer, songwriter and author

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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The Great Mystery – Knowing the Deep Unknown

Bonnie’s faith while facing her nightmare reminds us that each of us can trust God with our faith, when our feet fail, the waters are turbulent, when a mountain looks too steep to climb, and when our heads are barely above the waves.

-Kimberly Bloom

shout+lifestyle+magazine+logoRead more of Kimberly’s interview with Bonnie in Shout Lifestyle Magazine.

As a speaker, Bonnie has shared her story with thousands of people across the country. Many of them can relate to the obstacles she overcame early in life. Bonnie was a young teenager when her parents divorced and her beloved father left. By the time she reached her 20s, she had grown accustomed to a feeling of abandonment. “It was obvious when people leave me, they don’t come back.” Bonnie remembers.  “Every boy or man I had ever loved had broken my heart. With a track record like that, I was in desperate need for unconditional love.” Bonnie finally found the love she was looking for when reading the Bible; her daily efforts to share the promise of that love with others are the common threads woven through each chapter of Bound to a Promise and what drives Bonnie in her life today.

BoundToAPromiseCoverBound to a Promise

By Bonnie Floyd

Creative Enterprises Studio, Publisher

www.BonnieFloyd.com

>> Must Read <<

Bonnie Floyd has written a book that, while true, reads almost like a novel.  Her word pictures enable the reader to experience the things she saw, heard and felt.  It is almost like reading someone’s personal diary.  At times I felt that I was eaves-dropping on very private moments.
Not only is this a riveting story of intrigue and murder, it is also an inspiring story of redemption both with God and with fellow human beings.
Along the way you will meet her father, Bill, her step-mother Kathy, “My Donnie” her husband as well as a variety of characters including Scotland Yard detectives, millionaires, statesmen, murderers, prison superintendents and more.
You’ll need to set aside time to read because once you begin this book, it will hard to put down.  Bound to a Promise is a must read.
Bill Cole, Blogger

Thank you, Bill for sharing your musings,thoughts, and more about the book!

More about the Woman behind the Story:

As a speaker, Bonnie has shared her story with thousands of people across the country. Many of them can relate to the obstacles she overcame early in life. Bonnie was a young teenager when her parents divorced and her beloved father left. By the time she reached her 20s, she had grown accustomed to a feeling of abandonment. “It was obvious when people leave me, they don’t come back.” Bonnie remembers.  “Every boy or man I had ever loved had broken my heart. With a track record like that, I was in desperate need for unconditional love.” Bonnie finally found the love she was looking for when reading the Bible; her daily efforts to share the promise of that love with others are the common threads woven through each chapter of Bound to a Promise and what drives Bonnie in her life today.

BoundToAPromiseCoverBound to a Promise

By Bonnie Floyd

Creative Enterprises Studio, Publisher

November 2013

www.BonnieFloyd.com

Q and A with Bonnie Floyd Part 2

BonnieAuthor, Bound to a Promise

Q: Your steadfast faith in Jesus sustained you through the horrific events, the sadness, and the courtroom. But that’s not how your own story began. Tell us about your journey to faith in Christ.

A: I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents divorced when I was a young teenager, and my father eventually left me with my mother so that he could travel the world with his new wife. I loved my mother very much, but I had always been “Daddy’s girl.” I spent a long time trying to fill the void left by my father’s absence with anything that would fulfill me. By this time, I had a good job working in an optometrist’s office. My full-time job and my private life were polar opposites. During the day I was surrounded by wonderful coworkers whose whole lives revolved around Jesus—something that was completely unfamiliar to me. I was drawn to these Christian people, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. However, in the evenings and on the weekends I was surrounded by people who knew nothing about God; their entire existence revolved around partying. It was as if I lived a double life.

I lived with a man 12 years my senior for six years—even after discovering he was married. I searched in vain for fulfillment that would soothe my soul. I began spending more time with Christian friends and my sister, who had become a Christian, as well, but I still wasn’t even sure who the one true God was, so I prayed and asked Him to show me.  On the night that yet another man left me, I ended up at a Thanksgiving communion service at my sister’s church. It was there on November 26, 1986 that God answered my prayer. I trusted Jesus for salvation. I experienced His forgiveness, and my life would never be the same.

 

Q: One of the most unexpected twists in the story was your decision to meet with Donaldson Samuel, one of the men who attacked your parents that night on the boat. Why did you feel drawn to this man? What happened at that fateful meeting?

A:  There is only one explanation for why I felt compassion for Donaldson Samuel: God spoke to my heart. Though Donaldson did not pull the trigger, he was the one who bound and gagged my parents, along with everyone else onboard. He made them helpless to escape. He was also the only assailant out of the three who told the truth—in fact, his testimony was key to convicting the two other men who actually carried out the murders. In the beginning, I found myself feeling sorry for him as he was berated by the attorney for the defense. Before long, I knew the Lord was prompting me to tell Donaldson about Jesus, but that was easier said than done. Nobody else was in favor of that idea—not the Scotland Yard detectives, the prosecuting attorneys, Donaldson’s attorney, or even my husband, Donnie. I was told there was no way I could even arrange a visit with Donaldson in prison. There was only one person with the authority to sign off on such a visit—the imposing Superintendent Mac. Everyone assured me he would never consent to a meeting. When I finally met the superintendent and made my request, I discovered he was an ordained minister. He was more than willing to let me come.

I visited Donaldson after his sentencing hearing. I told him about Jesus, about my parents promise and how I had come to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I didn’t go there to forgive him; I went only to tell him about Jesus. Forgiving him happened as a result of my obedience to God by going to see Donaldson and telling him about Jesus. I forgave Donaldson and told him that God would forgive him too. I took his hands as he prayed to receive Christ and as unnatural as it would seem, I gave him a hug before I left. He asked if he could write to me and if I would write him back.  Then he asked if I would come back and visit him. “Donaldson, I never thought in a million years I would ever be here in the first place,” I responded, “but if you pray and I pray, one day maybe I’ll return.”

 

Q:  Did you ever see Donaldson Samuel again? How did the friendship you shared affect the people on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda?

A:  Very unexpectedly, I was able to visit him again one year after he received Christ. I think he was less surprised than I was that I returned so soon. “Bonnie, I pray for you come back,” was the first he said when he saw me. We continued our relationship and wrote one another for five years and then one day without explanation, his letters stopped. There was a ten year period when all communication went dark. Donnie and I made a trip to Antigua to find try and find him. To find out why his letters stopped and what had become of him. With the help of John Fuller, Antigua’s prosecuting attorney, I found him. He had served his 15-year sentence and was back on Barbuda. When we were reunited he introduced me all around the island as “his family.” I saw that even though he was a believer and I had forgiven him, he was still somewhat of an outcast because of the crimes he had committed. The people on Antigua and his home island of Barbuda simply could not believe that my forgiveness would lead me to come and visit him again and become adopted as family. All of Antigua and Barbuda was amazed by our story.

 

BoundToAPromiseCoverBound to a Promise

By Bonnie Floyd

Creative Enterprises Studio, Publisher

November 2013

www.BonnieFloyd.com