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Reaching Forgiveness with Dr. Ronald Ramsey
19th September 2022 • Seek Go Create • Tim Winders | Leadership | Business | Ministry
00:00:00 01:01:17

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Is unforgiveness getting in the way of your well-being? Is it preoccupying you or dragging you down? 

We all walk around with an idea of how we think people should treat us. We tend to harbor thoughts about how we have been treated unfairly. That's regardless of whether it involves a big or small offense. We succumb to unforgiveness without realizing its harm to us. 

Dr. Ronald Ramsey, author, marriage counselor, and clinical chaplain, joins us in this episode. Dr. Ramsey’s interactions with couples, families, and patients showed him the damage of lack of forgiveness. He blends scripture, behavioral science, and insights to show the complexities of forgiveness. 

Listen to this episode if you want to understand forgiveness and experience the long-lasting change it brings! 

3 Reasons to Listen:

  1. Understand the big picture of forgiveness and faith.
  2. Discover the symptoms of unforgiveness and learn how you can cure them.
  3. Know how to reach spiritual maturity towards forgiveness. 

Resources

About Ronald

Ronald D. Ramsey, MEd, DMin, LMFT, is a marriage counselor and clinical chaplain. He’s also a retired organization development consultant specializing in large-scale culture change. He lives in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with his wife, daughter, and service dog, Theo.

He has been a counselor and chaplain to couples, families, and palliative care patients. He has witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by the inability to forgive. Through his book, Forty Days to Forgiveness: A Christian's Field Guide to the Forgiveness Journey, Dr. Ramsey hopes to help others heal from past hurts and prevent future emotional upheaval. 

You can reach Dr. Ramsey through his website or social media channels on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Episode Highlights

[02:07] About Dr. Ronald D. Ramsey

[06:42] Dr. Ramsey’s Work as Clinical Chaplain

  • Clinical chaplains visit people in the hospital with palliative care. Those are people with incurable diseases. They receive treatment for the best quality of life possible in their last days.
  • Dr. Ramsey got his training from Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He has been working as a chaplain for four years. 
  • He started by volunteering to visit patients in the hospital across from his counseling office. 

[11:26] Dr. Ronald D. Ramsey’s Mission

  • As a marriage counselor and chaplain, Dr. Ramsey helps people connect their marriage and health struggles with their faith. 
  • He also helps his clients learn new ways to interact and be with each other. It’s a skill he learned from his work in organization development. 
  • He has seen unforgiveness as a significant part of people’s struggles. 
  • In his book, Dr. Ramsey aims to help people gradually go through a process. It's about going from unforgiveness to forgiveness. 
[13:19] “And in all of those situations, I've seen unforgiveness as a significant portion of the struggles that people deal with, even in the work environment, holding grudges, wanting to get even with each other, playing one-upmanship.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[13:58] Dr. Ramsey’s Faith Journey

  • Dr. Ramsey’s mother raised him in faith. He grew deeply involved in church and even worked as a youth minister in his first job. 
  • After 25 years of corporate work, he decided to look for his purpose in life. 
  • His wife inspired him to study counseling. That is where he learned many internally repressed fear, bitterness, and anger toward being sexually abused as a child. 
  • Dr. Ramsey was also able to bring his faith to his dissertation topic. He chose to tackle forgiveness as he believed it would have the greatest impact on the body of Christ. 

[20:51] Dealing with Church-Hurt People

  • Dr. Ramsey tries to come into people’s worlds. He wants to see things from their perspective and get in touch with their pain.
  • He tries to be judgmental about their faith. That is unless they indicate their faith is bothering them. 
  • In these cases, he reminds people that their relationship with God matters most.
  • He encourages them to pray for the people who had “fallen away.” He also reminds them that it is what God would like them to do. 
[25:08] “Unforgiveness is something that everybody experiences — whether they want to admit to it or not. And it's something that gets in the way of church fellowship, being an effective witness in the world, [and] having an effective testimony. It's hard to do those things when you're living in a state of unforgiveness.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[25:42] Forgiveness and the Path of Least Resistance 

  • People tend to do whatever they feel is going to help them. That includes taking the easy way out or the path of least resistance.
  • Forgiveness is one of the things people try to push aside. 

[29:10] The Big Picture of Forgiveness

  • The Bible is the story of forgiveness. Jesus Christ is the example of forgiveness that we all try to emulate in our life. 
  • Forgiveness is serious and deemed the offender’s responsibility in the Old Testament.
  • When Christ came, forgiveness took on a different meaning. We are all already forgiven under His blood and the debt He paid for us. 
  • Christ preached forgiveness as a two-way street. You are responsible for creating forgiveness, whether you’re the offender or the offended. 
[35:18] “Christ changed [forgiveness] when he came. We're all already forgiven under His blood, under the debt He paid for us. And what he's told us is that regardless of whether you're the offender or the offended [is that] you have a responsibility to try and create forgiveness.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[36:52] Self Forgiveness, Divine Forgiveness, and Interpersonal Forgiveness

  • Divine forgiveness is feeling unjustly treated by God. As a result, they hold a grudge against Him, bury their faith, and turn their back on the church. 
  • Self-forgiveness is not permitting ourselves to let go of our regrets for things we have done. 
  • Interpersonal forgiveness is when you commit an offense and treat another person unjustly or unfairly. 
  • Dr. Ramsey shares that Forty Days to Forgiveness is all about interpersonal forgiveness. 

[38:03] Unforgiveness and Self-Centeredness

  • Regardless of our faith’s strength and what kind of Christian we are, we think of we should be treated. 
  • We develop a sense of fair treatment and form unenforceable rules in our minds. 
  • We can enforce how other people treat us. We make people treat us the way we want to be treated. 
  • That is self-centeredness leading to unforgiveness.

[40:55] How Spiritually Mature People Handle Forgiveness

  • Spiritual maturity is at the core of our ability as Christians to truly forgive others for injustice toward us. 
  • It is achievable through four spiritual disciples. Those are prayer, meditation, scripture study, and fellowship. 

[41:52] Symptoms of Unforgiveness

  • Unforgiveness creates all kinds of physical symptoms. It affects every aspect of our well-being — physical, emotional, financial, and career. 
  • You experience ruminating thoughts and create a narrative of how you were treated.
  • You talk to people about how you were hurt and try to enlist their support. 
  • You start harboring negative thoughts about how to respond to people who have unfairly treated you. 
[46:53] “Forgiveness does take time, and the research shows that it's not something that we can snap our fingers and do despite thinking that we can. It usually takes more time.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[49:50] Forty Days to Forgiveness: A Christian's Field Guide to the Forgiveness Journey

  • Dr. Ramsey says it is “a boot camp for living the Christian faith and walking the talk.”
  • The book is tight-targeted toward Christians struggling to forgive.
  • It features six chapters dealing with different aspects of forgiveness. It is characterized by the word, Action

Acknowledging the depth of unfairness

Commitment to forgiving another person

Transitioning from negative to positive intentions

Internalizing your Christ-like spirit

Openness to changes forgiveness brings in your life

Nurturing those changes over time.

  • It has 40 sections. The reader takes 30 to 45 minutes to read and go through the exercise. 
[56:17] “When you build your spiritual maturity, and you build your ability to be forgiving towards other people, you're not going to go back, go backward, you're going to be more spiritually mature in everything that you do.” - Click Here To Tweet This

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To growing and becoming all we are created to be,

Tim