celebrate recovery lesson 17 how to forgive

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness +Free Study Guide

As you step into Celebrate Recovery lesson 17, you will notice yourself becoming braver. More courage is required as you take this step of offering forgiveness to others, but you CAN do this! It will just require a bit of dedication and motivation – nothing you can’t handle!

Think about all the people who have forgiven you during your life. Think about God’s forgiveness – a wonderful gift we have never deserved! Forgiveness is truly a beautiful thing!

Celebrate Recovery lesson 17 might be a bit of a challenge, but this life-changing step is needed if you are to continue progressing in recovery!

Lesson 17 continues with Step 8 and Step 9 from the Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery programs. Also, it works with principle 6 of the Celebrate Recovery 8 Principles

If you are just starting Celebrate Recovery and wish to walk through the lessons, it’s advisable that you start with lesson one here: Celebrate Recovery Lesson 1: Denial. In that lesson (and this one), there is an additional FREE study guide!

For the last lesson, check out Celebrate Recovery Lesson 16: Amends. It is a challenging step, but you have the power to tackle it, so don’t gloss over it!

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What is Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness?

Celebrate Recovery principle 6 is: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those iwho have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others. Take this courageous step, but don’t harm others!

Celebrate Recovery Step 8 says: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. This is quite humbling, but with the help of the Lord, you can accomplish this!

Happy are the merciful. – Matthew 5:7 (TLB)

Happy are the peacemakers. – Matthew 5:9 (TLB)

Do to others as you would have them do to you. – Luke 6:31 (TLB)

Celebrate Recovery Step 9 says: We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Another powerful step we will cover in this lesson! Don’t panic yet; you’ve got this! Just have a little faith!

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there, remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then, come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24 (TLB)

LessonPrincipleStepBible Verses
1768 & 9Matthew 5:7,9; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24

In Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness, we will cover three kinds of forgiveness: (1) God’s forgiveness, (2) the forgiveness to others, and (3) the forgiveness of yourself. 

Let’s do a quick overview of Celebrate Recovery (CR) and then tackle each kind of forgiveness – one at a time. Try not to worry too much, as CR believes strongly in baby steps. In other words, you don’t need to be overwhelmed because we’ll take it one step at a time!

So what should we say about this? If God is with us, no one can defeat us. – Romans 8:31 (NCV)

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17:

What Does “Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17” Mean?

Celebrate Recovery lesson 17 is the seventeenth lesson in the CR curriculum created by John Baker and Rick Warren. The Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program Celebrate Recovery will walk you through these lessons if you join a small group or step study. 

Typically, you will join a step study group, and as a group, you will work through the lessons, answering the questions aloud. Celebrate Recovery is for individuals with hurts, habits, or hang-ups, so that means that the program is available for you!

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17 is found in John Baker’s Celebrate Recovery Participant’s Guide. This is the sixth lesson from Getting Right with God, Yourself, and Others: Participant Guide 3. We will look at the questions and details from this lesson in this article.

The Celebrate Recovery’s leader guide varies slightly from the participant’s guide, but it is all based on the Bible, as it follows the Beatitudes in the New Testament. The Celebrate Recovery 8 principles reference those verses.

Treat others as you want them to treat you. – Luke 6:31 (TLB)

What is Forgiveness in Recovery?

Forgiveness is all about letting go of fear, shame, resentment, anger, and guilt. A tall order, right? How do we just let go of all those things – all at once? The key is to realize that you cannot let go of everything in a sudden manner; it takes time.

When you truly offer forgiveness, you will feel changes in all areas of your life. Those negative traits (fear, shame, resentment, anger, and guilt) can engulf you if you allow them to fester in your life. They can prevent you from progressing in recovery, too!

For this reason, we are going to cover this topic fully. We want to make sure to get rid of all this negativity that is controlling your life. Imagine how freeing it will be when those negative traits have disappeared! It will be like having a clean slate – in some aspects!

…and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. – Matthew 6:12 (TLB)

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17 Highlights

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17 Notes

In the Celebrate Recovery study guide, we learn that it’s time to accept, offer, and receive forgiveness. Regardless of what your previous definition of forgiveness is, take this one step at a time. You might have a lot of build-up resentment to get past, but we’ll get there! 

#1. Accept God’s Forgiveness.

Think about what our Lord Christ Jesus did on the cross for us. Because of His death, we now have our sins forgiven. That is powerful action on the part of the Lord – paying our debt in FULL! We didn’t deserve it, but we can certainly be grateful for it today!

Because of this beautiful sacrifice that was made on our behalf, it is my recommendation that you stop right now and pray. Thank the Lord for all that He has done for you. After you’ve finished, take a moment to sit in silence. Give God a chance to speak to you.

It is often when we listen that we learn the most. We are able to listen to God in many ways. You can open your Bible and meditate on scripture, write in a prayer journal – whatever comes to mind, or even just sit in silence and let your thoughts wander to where the Lord takes them!

The important thing is to show gratitude and work on building your relationship with God

You can start small, too. You don’t have to have grand gestures each time you want to be close to God. A prayer here and a Bible study there are good starts! Don’t be too hard on yourself!

God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ…by the free gift of God’s grace, they are all put right with Him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free. God offered Him so that by His blood, He should become the means by which people’s sins are forgiven through their faith in Him. – Romans 3:22-25 (GNT)

#2. Forgive Others.

Letting go of the pain from the past is never easy, but you must release and forgive it, or it will keep you as a prisoner. 

You shouldn’t want to be a prisoner to anything; that’s what’s great about being a Christian – we have been set FREE by Christ! It’s something to be passionate about!

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:17-18 (TLB)

As you work on releasing and forgiving the pain from your past, make sure you don’t blame God. It’s easy to place the blame somewhere – anywhere – when we don’t have clear-cut answers, but God is only interested in doing good for you, not harm (Jeremiah 29:11).

After you have borne those sufferings a very little while, God Himself…will make you whole and secure and strong. – 1 Peter 5:10 (PH)

Attention: Victims of Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, or Childhood Emotional Abuse

Try not to place the blame of your hurt and pain anywhere it does not belong. If you are the victim of any kind of abuse, please know that we feel for you and know that those negative feelings won’t simply go away. We hurt with you through all this!

According to the Celebrate Recovery curriculum, the best way to find peace and freedom is by forgiving your perpetrators. This in no way excuses this person from the harm that was done against you. Forgiveness just allows you to be released from any power that person had.

Steps 8 and 9 for Principle 6 have been rewritten on your behalf as follows.

Step 8 – Create a list of all who have harmed us and be willing to seek God’s help in forgiving our perpetrators and ourselves. Realize we’ve harmed others and be willing to make amends to them.

Step 9 – Extend forgiveness to ourselves and others who have perpetrated against us, realizing this is not always confrontation but is an attitude of the heart. Make direct amends to those we have harmed except when this would cause injury to them or others. Ask for forgiveness, too.

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17:

#3. Forgive Yourself.

Do you feel that the guilt and shame from your past are too much to forgive? Connect with other people at Celebrate Recovery, and encourage one another! Reach out to someone who understands what it feels like to confess these things – say them out loud; they are at CR!

You might think you are alone, but there are many people who feel the same way that you do. They are probably your fellow brothers and sisters at Celebrate Recovery! Remember to listen as much as you talk; give as much as you receive!! Work as a team, and you’ll succeed!!

Another way that you can forgive yourself is by turning to God. In Isaiah 1:18-19, we are urged to talk things over with the Lord. It doesn’t matter what kind of sin you have committed because He is more than willing to listen; He wants to hear from you, in fact. The Lord will make you new!

Also, He already knows what you have done; it’s no big secret. Why not come clean? Letting it out will help you forgive yourself. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, so what are you waiting for??

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17 Questions 

  • Which of the 3 kinds of forgiveness was the easiest for you to accept, and why?
  • Which of the 3 kinds of forgiveness was the most difficult for you to accept, and why?
  • What do the words “it is finished” from Christ (John 19:30) mean to you?
  • Which hurts, habits, or hang-ups (pain) from a past relationship are you still hanging on to?
  • Specifically, how can you let go of these hurts, habits, or hang-ups (pain)?
  • Do you believe that you owe God amends? When do you plan to give it?
  • In what ways have you been blaming God for harm that others took against you?
  • Did you forgive yourself? In what ways do you still feel guilt and shame? Make a list and pray about these things, and we will work on them in the next lesson!

More Valuable Celebrate Recovery Resources

Video – Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness

Lesson 17 of Celebrate Recovery: Forgiveness

Bonus: Free Recovery Lesson 17 Study Guide

In the Recovery Lesson 17 Study Guide, you will be given additional questions to cover with your small group! Enjoy! This original study guide is completely free! 


More Celebrate Recovery Helpful Products

Some additional resources that you might consider are the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible and the CR Devotional Book for 365 Days

My Story Regarding Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17

Greetings! If you haven’t met me by now, I’m happy to introduce myself. I am Michele, a grateful believer in Christ Jesus. 

I celebrate recovery from an addiction to men and alcohol, and I struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and patience! 

As we’ve discussed in Celebrate Recovery lesson 17, forgiveness is the key to letting go of any resentment and pain in recovery.

I’m far from perfect. I struggle like anyone else, but I believe in God, and that makes all the difference in the world in my book! Trusting Him was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Do They Deserve Forgiveness?

One of the hardest things for me as a child was having other kids pick on me. This continued as an adult, and I’ve never really known the reason that it seems I am the source of so much torment and gossip. I’ve been teased, tortured, made fun of, or whatever you want to call it!

Of course, that’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but each story gets its place. There was actually a “leader” of the crowd that would make fun of me in middle school. As an adult, probably not knowing who I was, he approached me via a dating website!

I didn’t go out with the guy, but I did find it amusing that he had so much negativity to say about the way I looked as a preteen yet had no problem going out on a date as an adult!

Looking back at some of the ways I was tormented as a youngster, I realize that kids can be really, really mean! I was a sweet Christian girl who definitely didn’t bring any of that nonsense on to myself, but it continued most of my life. I still don’t know why, which made it worse!

If I knew why I was the unfortunate recipient of “the royal treatment,” I think it would have made things easier. Life doesn’t always have answers, though! As mentioned, I’m not perfect and still get worked up when I think of those bullies messing with me every single day!

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

To Forgive or Not?

Through Celebrate Recovery, I learned the power of forgiveness. People cannot hurt you if you do not allow them to (emotionally speaking). As long as I forgave those bullies, I knew that they could do no harm to me anymore, and I still know that today!

So, that’s the self-help answer to it all. The truth is that if you forgive someone, you can let go of all that resentment and bitterness. It dissipates, and you begin to heal in new ways. In fact, you will start to see new growth, and you’ll begin to forget all about those bullies! 

That’s true – unless you write about them!! Ha!

All pain and bitterness aside, it’s kind of funny to look back at kids who made fun of me. Without trying to sound conceited, I’ve always gone with the “they were jealous” reasoning for their actions, but I could be totally wrong. Again, I’m not perfect; I’m just made perfect by Him!

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Where I shine, another person may struggle and vice versa! That’s what makes us so great. If you don’t know your purpose or calling, you should do some investigating to discover how truly uniquely God made you, too!

Did I forgive the bullies? Yes! I’ve done things that I’m not proud of, so of course, I understand that we were all young and dumb once. Some of us are still struggling in the intelligence area, but I can’t fault them for that! I have no built-up trauma from the experience, thanks to CR!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Frequently Asked Questions

Who goes to Celebrate Recovery?

Anyone with hurts, habits, and hang-ups can attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting, as it is for everyone. The only individuals that are not permitted to go to a CR meeting are people who want to “hook up” or privately investigate others in recovery. This is stated in the CR literature.

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17:

What are the 12 steps of Celebrate Recovery?

Grab your FREE copy of the Celebrate Recovery 12 steps in the shop at Sharing Life and Love! The 12 steps used in Celebrate Recovery are the same as those in AA, but CR is a Biblically-based program. That is the chief difference between the two recovery programs.

How do you introduce yourself in Celebrate Recovery?

You can begin by stating you are a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. Then, name the things you celebrate recovery from. If you have suffered from substance abuse issues or an addiction to pornography, you can mention that. You can also name the issues you still struggle with.

What is the Serenity Prayer?

The Serenity Prayer used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Celebrate Recovery (CR) is: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. On your road to recovery, it can be very helpful to memorize this prayer.

What are the 8 principles of Celebrate Recovery?

The 8 principles of Celebrate Recovery are based on the Beatitudes found in the New Testament of the Bible. You can grab a FREE copy of the CR 8 principles in the shop at Sharing Life and Love. CR uses these 8 principles to incorporate the Bible into the curriculum.


You have truly accomplished something if you’ve finished this lesson! Congratulations on forgiving those people who did you harm!! This is quite an achievement!! 

We have now covered Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness!

  • What is Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17: Forgiveness?
  • An Overview of Celebrate Recovery
  • The Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17 Study Guide
  • Additional Resources with a FREE Study Guide and Video 
  • My Story of Forgiveness – Celebrate Recovery Lesson 17
  • And Much More!

Celebrate Recovery is an amazing program and has truly helped me stay sober and on track through the years! 

Help me continue this ministry by spreading this article on social media (let’s go viral!) or sharing it with family and friends. You never know who you will impact in a real way!

If you’d like to leave a comment or suggest a recovery topic to write about, please reach out, and we’ll see what we can do! 

Grab your FREE Lesson 17 study guide and a copy of a beautiful Serenity Prayer in the shop!! 

If you are looking forward to the next lesson (Celebrate Recovery Lesson 18: Grace), stay tuned!! It should be invigorating!

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