Discussion Group Questions
The following questions for each chapter are just a guide to assist the group leader to keep the discussion going. It is up to the leader to choose which ones are appropriate for the group and/or to come up with others as the leader sees fit.
General Questions about the book for a single meeting of those who have read the book
What did you find surprising about the facts introduced in this book?
How has reading this book changed your opinion of a certain person or topic?
Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he or she achieve this?
How has the book increased your interest in forgiving?
Specific Questions for each meeting where participants have read the chapter prior to getting together.
What does forgiveness mean to you?
What is most important to you in your life and how can forgiving help.
What do you dislike about the idea of forgiving? What do you like about it?
Knowing that willingness is the first step in forgiving, what people and situations of your life are you not willing to forgive?
What is important about facing trauma?
What was the most important thing you learned from the opening?
CHAPTER ONE – How It Works
Have you experienced or witnessed false forgiveness in your life? How did you know it was false?
Why do you feel forgiveness is important in our world today?
How has stress affected you negatively? What helped you reduce this stress?
In your life, what problems might arise if you forgive?
What do you think about these statements from Dr. Jim in Chapter 1?:
1) Forgiveness is essential for success in any endeavor that involves others; and
2) Self-forgiveness is essential to success in any personal undertaking.
What are some of your own fears that you feel need to be quieted?
Why is writing down your upsets important?
Why do you think forgiveness takes courage?
CHAPTER TWO – What Forgiving Really Is
What does the person you are forgiving owe you?
How do you know you have really forgiven?
Why do you think that “the small shifts of heart and attitude” are important?
What is your own “highest possible vision and goal” that you feel the act of forgiving can bring. (see p.35)
How does breaking the upset down to smaller parts help you to forgive?
CHAPTER THREE – The Blocks to Forgiving
Why is forgiving difficult for you?
What are some of the negative aspects of forgiveness that prevent it from being used?
Which myth of forgiveness blocked you from forgiving an upset?
Explain why is forgiving an upset is not the same as condoning it?
What is reconciliation and how is it different from the act of forgiving?
Why are feelings important in the forgiveness process? What can happen if you avoid your feelings?
Why is self-forgiveness essential?
When you did the exercise on awareness of emotions using the emotions list in the appendix, which of the positive and negative emotions stood out for you?
CHAPTER FOUR – The Proven Benefits of Forgiving
What happens to you when you forgive? What happens to the other person?
Who benefits the most from forgiveness?
Which of the benefits of forgiveness were the most valuable to you in your situation?
What are some of the other benefits of forgiving?
What are some payoffs (benefits) of not letting go of your upset?
What insight did you gain when you used the prayer “Please help me to see this in a different way”?
What positive emotions and thoughts came from your “I forgive” process/prayer.
CHAPTER FIVE – Making Sense of Our Thinking
What does “the new piggybacks onto the old” mean to you concerning the brain? How does it affect you personally?
Why is it better for us to spend most of our time in the neocortex thinking and part of the brain?
How can use of the Limbic System, our emotional brain, bring about good in our lives? How can operating from the Limbic System cause trouble in forgiving?
What are the four areas of our lives that the snake brain affects the most?
In your life, what aspects of the snake brain are the most problematic? What aspects of the snake brain are potentially active in the person you are trying to forgive?
How does knowing the information about the brain help you to forgive?
When you did the “I forgive” prayer and process, what happened?
CHAPTER SIX – Breaking Out of Prison
How do you think having this support group in forgiveness has helped you?
Are there problematic situations in your life that are caused by repeating familiar family patterns that have never really worked?
What do you think of the whole idea of the fill-in-the-gaps work of the neocortex?
How did you react to this statement on page 99: “Our brain functioning and clarity of thought is not as accurate as we suppose. There are gaps. We have a brain not built on reasoning but on reaction. This must be taken into account not only when you are forgiving others but also yourself!”
Do you think it’s true that “our outer world reflects our inner reality?” Why?
How do you hold others or yourself to unrealistic standards due to your expectations of perfection? Where do you think that came from? Is forgiveness needed?
Which letter of the Letters practice helped you the most in forgiving? Why?
CHAPTER SEVEN – Making Forgiving Easier
Did the stories about Amy Biehl, Wild Bill, or Victor Frankel help change your own forgiveness work? If so, how?
Was it helpful to look at earlier events or people with issues similar to the one you are working on?
Dr. Jim states “The secret that makes forgiving less difficult is humility.” What do you think about this statement? What was your first reaction when you read it?
Have you noticed that your decision to forgive has become stronger as you have been doing this work?
Dr. Jim talks about Einstein and Edison using the brain’s intuitive power in their work. How has intuition guided your own forgiveness work?
Has your experience of meditation changed through this work?
What positive results did you have from the forgiveness visualization exercise described on page 124?
Were you able to identify negative statements that you say to yourself about yourself, or that you say to yourself about a person you are trying to forgive?
Look over the essentials and secrets on pages 126 and 127 and make sure you understand each and can use them when needed.
CHAPTER EIGHT – The Power Behind Forgiving
What do you think about the statement on page 131, “We feel guilty when we act against the Principle of love and life”?
Describe your experience with the Nourish Your Heart exercise on page 133?
What does Dr. Jim mean on page 134 when he says, “Your thoughts cannot go in opposing directions at the same time and get anywhere?”
What do you think of the idea of finding the positive in tragedy and trauma?
CHAPTER NINE – Working on Upsets
Describe your experience going through the steps.
Where did you have the most difficulty?
Where was it easiest for you?
How did this process reinforce your decision to forgive?
What is the difference between false forgiveness and the decision to forgive?
CHAPTER TEN – Forgiving Permanently
What steps have you taken to better manage your reactions to stress?
What are your thoughts about the defense mechanisms that Dr. Jim describes?
What steps are important in making your forgiveness work permanent?
Understanding projection is not easy. How did this go for you?
Which of the “stressed thinking that sabotages forgiveness” resonated the most with you? Why?
CHAPTER ELEVEN – Self-Forgiveness and Empowerment
What was Dr. Jim’s intention when pointing out that punishment is the least effective on humans?
How does recognizing that the person you are trying to forgive may have different values than you, help you in forgiving them?
Do you agree with Dr. Jim’s statement on page 172: “In some way, you receive what you give?”
Would anyone like to share how you got out of your own victimhood?
What are the three truths about our lack of control? What do you think about them?
Do you find self forgiveness difficult? Why?
What insight has this chapter given you on self forgiveness?
CHAPTER TWELVE – Dealing with Stress and Trauma
Would anyone care to share a trauma that they experienced their life, and describe how forgiveness helped the healing process?
Has anyone experienced compassion fatigue?
How has knowing The Signs of Stress Overload and Exhaustion helped you?
Is pain a factor in your forgiveness or others?
What are the things you do to deal with ongoing stress?
How does having knowledge of PTSD and CISM help you?
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – Successful Preparations for Power Forgiveness
How many times have you felt a shift in your forgiveness work?
Does the idea of having many small shifts leading to a transformation seem plausible to you?
Which of the secrets has been most significant to you?
Which of the essentials has been important to you?
Which of the Principles of Power Forgiveness has helped you the most
Which of the Principles do you think you need to work on more?
What was the most important reminder for you in this chapter?
CHAPTER FOURTEEN – The Power Forgiveness Process
What successes did you accomplish using the forgiveness process?
Did the review in the appendix help?
What difficulties did you have with the process?
Did the original process help? What did you learn from it?
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – Continued Healing
What did you like about this chapter?
Do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate for Dr. Jim to talk about what happens after the process? Why or why not?
What did you find surprising about the facts introduced in this chapter?
Which of the In-Depth Tools for Forgiving do you think will be helpful in the future?
Who were the most important influences on your concept of forgiving?
CHAPTER SIXTEEN – The Ultimate Result
What do you see as your next step in forgiveness work?
What would you like to do next with your forgiveness work?