Forgiveness Inventory: An Opportunity to Restore Wholeness

by Deborah Grassman
Opus Peace.org

Reviewing these questions can help uncover guilt, shame, and unresolved conflicts. It can also reveal tendencies to be overly forgiving, causing enabling. It takes honesty, courage, and humility to answer these questions forthrightly.

  • Is there anyone I harbor resentment toward?
  • Are there any relationships that are suffering because I’m still holding onto hurt?
  • Is there anyone or anything toward which I’m keeping my heart closed (which means that I’m closing myself off from the source of my own vitality)?
  • What have I done that I feel guilty about? Is the guilt unreasonable and so I need to let it go? Is the guilt reasonable prompting me into action to make amends?
  • Do I need to forgive the world for being like it is?
  • Do I need to forgive God for not making the world the way I want it?
  • Is there any situation from my childhood that I have a sense of regret or unfairness? (genes, poverty, abuse, neglect, sibling rivalry, looks, education, etc.)
  • What have I done that I’m unwilling to forgive myself for?
  • Is my determination to maintain control related to someone or something that I’ve not forgiven?
  • Is maintaining a façade so that I don’t let myself be vulnerable interfering with my ability to forgive someone or something?
  • Am I willing to be free of resentment and blame?
  • Am I willing to stop being the victim?
  • What benefits are there for allowing myself to continue being the victim?
  • Do I want to forgive?
  • Am I willing to make a decision to forgive?
  • Am I willing to do the work of forgiveness?

For these latter three questions, ask yourself how willing you are to do the work of forgiveness. (Unlike desire, intention will manifest itself in actions. You might want to forgive, but have no intention of doing so. There’s no point in fooling yourself by doing forgiveness work if you have no intention of changing):

  • “On a 0-10 scale, how willing am I to change my relationship with this problem?”
  • “On a 0-10 scale, how motivated am I to do the work of forgiveness?”
  • “On a 0-10 scale, how willing am I to let go of ___________ (bitterness, resentment, denial, resistance, control, etc.)?

If your intention number is above a 7, you are probably ready to do the work of forgiveness. If your intention number is below 7, then your intention needs to change before doing the work. So tape a piece of paper to a mirror that reads: “I want to forgive ______ (myself or name of someone or a situation), and I intend to do so.” Repeat this several times in a mirror for a month and then re-scale your intention. Don’t try to force this. You might also ask a few other trusted people to pray that you receive help and insight to increase your willingness to forgive.

Overly Forgiving

Commonly, some people are overly forgiving. They allow others to take advantage of them or to disrespect them without holding them accountable for doing so. They make excuses for them. If they do speak up, the offender only has to say some apologetic words and the person believes the actions will not recur. This fosters enabling. It erodes self-respect. It also short-circuits the process for either party to discover their interior hero.

  • Is there anyone that I let take advantage of me repeatedly?
  • Is there anyone that I let treat me disrespectfully habitually?
  • Is there anyone that I tend to believe what they say rather than what they do?
  • “On a 0-10 scale, how willing am I to stand up for myself?”
  • “On a 0-10 scale, how motivated am I to risk the other person’s disapproval or displeasure so that I don’t love myself?”
  • “On a 0-10 scale, how willing am I to let go of enabling so that I can meet my interior hero?

For these latter three questions, ask yourself how willing you are to do the work of being overly forgiving. (Unlike desire, intention will manifest itself in actions. You might want to stop enabling, but have no intention of doing so. There’s no point in fooling yourself by doing the work if you have no intention of changing):

If your intention number is above a 7, you are probably ready to do the work of learning how to stop enabling. If your intention number is below 7, then your intention needs to change before doing the work. So tape a piece of paper to a mirror that reads: “I want to stop enabling ______ (myself or name of someone or a situation), and I intend to do so.” Repeat this several times in a mirror for a month and then re-scale your intention. Don’t try to force this. You might also ask a few other trusted people to pray that you receive help and insight to increase your willingness to stop enabling.

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We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen