Reaching Forgiveness with Dr. Ronald Ramsey

Is unforgiveness getting in the way for you to heal? 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 seek 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. This harm is adequately absorbed by the body, which can manifest downward linear growth and diseases that require medical care.

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 to health 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, peace and faith.
  2. Discover the symptoms of unforgiveness and learn how you can cure them.
  3. Know how to reach spiritual maturity towards forgiveness. 


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 and such illnesses. Those are sick 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 other nations 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 to be healed with 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. 
  • The presence of unforgiveness is 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] “I've seen unforgiveness as a significant portion of the struggles that people deal with, even in the work environment...” - Click Here To Tweet This

[13:58] Dr. Ramsey’s Faith Journey

  • Dr. Ramsey’s mother raised him in faith. His mother made sure that 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 that he suffers terribly from 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 sins and “fallen away.” He also reminds them that it is what God would like them to do.
  • Forgiveness is like food intake; and unforgiveness is like wasting diseases that evil spirits thrive on.
[25:08] “Unforgiveness is something that everybody experiences — whether they want to admit to it or not.” - 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. 
  • Some people push forgiveness aside for a long time, whether that's one day, twelve years, or thirty eight years.

[29:10] The Big Picture of Forgiveness

  • The Bible is the story of forgiveness, especially the New Testament. 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 biblical times in Old Testament.
  • When Jesus Christ came to the Earth, forgiveness took on a different meaning. We are all already forgiven under His blood and the debt the Lord paid for us. 
  • Jesus preached forgiveness as a two-way street. You are responsible for creating forgiveness, whether you’re the offender or the offended. 
  • Sometimes, some people wait for a grave sickness or disease before forgiving.
  • Many people believe that unforgiveness, when left rotting, manifests physically; that may be through heat stroke, fungus infection, varicose veins, or as terrible as pandemic diseases.
[35:18] “Christ changed [forgiveness] when he came. We're all already forgiven under His blood, under the debt He paid for us.” - 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 belief, and turn their back on the church. 
  • Self-forgiveness is not permitting ourselves to let go of our regrets for things we have sin. 
  • 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 strength and what kind of Christian we are, we think about we should be treated. 
  • We imagine 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 presence as Christians to truly forgive others for injustice toward us. 
  • It is achievable through the presence of our four spiritual disciples. Those are prayer, meditation, scripture study, and fellowship. 

[41:52] Symptoms of Unforgiveness

  • Unforgiveness creates all kinds of physical symptoms, even death. 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.
  • In certain instances, this can lead to poor judgment. We can learn more about it by looking back; what are the 39 diseases in the bible?
[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.”
  • Book is tight-targeted toward Christians struggling to forgive. Jesus healed everyone; in the same vein, we can forgive everyone.
  • It features six chapters dealing with healing for the 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 presence to be forgiving towards other people, you're not going to go back, go backward.” - Click Here To Tweet This

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About the Podcast

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Seek Go Create
Redefining Success in Leadership, Business & Ministry

About your host

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Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith-driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.