Author Archives: dougschmidt51

The Only Effective Way to Forgive Someone — even the arrogant & remorseless.

[This text is the script for the video linked below]  

Start here.

Begin by being brutally honest about the loss you experienced and who caused it.

Common losses include: Friendships, Jobs, Housing, Money, Status, Security, Dreams, or the ability to trust someone.

Assign a value (from one to ten) on the thing you lost because of someone’s indifference, malice, or negligence.

Embrace the emotion that the memory of the loss provokes.

That emotion could be anger, sadness, fear, or embarrassment.

And then go through the grieving process for that particular loss.

The emotional intensity of the experience will depend on the value you assigned to the specific loss.  

Here are the five steps of the grieving process:

Denial. In what ways could you have minimized what happened and the value of what you lost?

Anger. When you realize how much bigger this loss was to you than you first thought, [delay] you’re likely to become very angry.

Bargaining. This is when you start hoping for restitution, or an apology, or justice, [delay] or even revenge.

Melancholy. When all your attempts at bargaining fail, and your loss is still not restored, [delay] a deep sadness can set in.

Acceptance. This is the point of healthy resignation. The memory of the loss may still provoke some emotion, but its benign. Those feelings are not nearly as intense as they were in the beginning.

Once you arrive at acceptance, the final stage of grieving, forgiveness is almost effortless.

Keep in mind that to forgive someone does not require that you trust that person.

The healthiest thing you can do with those who refuse to own up to the damage they caused is to make yourself less vulnerable to them.

Every relationship has its healthiest level of vulnerability.

Take some time to figure out what this is for each of your relationships.

Any loss that is fully mourned will eventually lose its power over you.

Do this for every significant loss you’ve experienced, and you’ll finally understand what it really means to let it go.

Best wishes as you seek to be free from the tyranny of bitterness and resentment, and then, to find the new-found ability to forgive.

Doug (

refuse to rent your convictions

So many people get stuck in their lives because they only “rent” their beliefs from others: parents, spouses, leaders, bosses, celebrities, organizations … The list goes on and on.

They say to themselves, “Maybe I should believe this particular thing because this confident person in my life endorses it.”

In the end, however, it doesn’t matter who influences you.

The decisions you make, and their consequences, belong to you — and you alone.

The person who fully owns what he or she believes can say with confidence:

“I deserve what I have chosen … and I can always choose differently.”

The “ownership” emphasis in this blog will focus on the following major themes:

1. Procrastination: Any massive, intimidating project can be tackled and completed if it’s broken into small enough pieces; this action will “fool your flight response.”

2. Suffering: Once a loss is fully mourned, it will eventually lose its power over you.

3. Vulnerability: Every relationship has its healthiest level of vulnerability; find out what this level is for each person in your circle of influence.

4. Transformation: Personal transformation can happen quickly and peacefully by engaging well-crafted questions.

5. Internalization: Once you internalize a healthy principle or truth, living it out becomes second nature to you; you will do it automatically, without thinking about it.

Best wishes on wherever your journey takes you.


Easy-To-Use Templates:

Response to the Lion meme (“only god, easily tamed”)

Recently I sprained my knee doing a tricky mountain-climbing maneuver … actually, I tripped on a curb heading into a store to pick up a pizza.

(I had just put on my COVID mask, which fogged up my glasses, which caused me to misjudge the curb’s location).

Within seconds of falling, I was surrounded by five strangers, all asking if I was okay. Two helped me up. One young woman encouraged me to sit on a bench to recover for a few minutes.

Who knows what assumptions these strangers may have come to when they saw me fall …

“Why doesn’t he look where he’s going?” or, “I bet he’s been drinking” (I had not).

But regardless of their pre-judgements, it did not stop them from taking action and showing kindness to me.

Now, this story sets the context for my response to the lion meme quote …

When Tupac said “Only God can judge me” — he probably meant that only God can accurately judge me. And I agree with that.

Only God and I know the true motives behind my words and actions—and sometimes I don’t even know why I do certain things.

The phrase, “Only God can judge me” (seen often as a tattoo) is sometimes used as a response to the unfair judgment of others. Of course, jumping to conclusions (without evidence) is human nature.

“Do not let your peace depend on people’s opinions of you. Their thinking well or badly of you does not somehow make you different from who you actually are.”

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ  

What matters, however, is not allowing our pre-judgements to prevent us from respectfully engaging or showing compassion to others (like the strangers who came to my aid).

Now, some people may say “Only God can judge me” because somehow God is a safer bet. I don’t agree with that.

“Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he, quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, from The Chronicles of Narnia

What is true of God’s discipline is this …

When we own up to what He can plainly see is true (especially in regard to our darker motives), God always, always, responds with compassion.

Especially when,

Schmidt Happens

Photo: 139496832 © |

Cutting. Shaping. Polishing.

You may not know this, but I’m pretty good at putting together tortured analogies.

So here goes …

This is how my first “pay-the-bills” job out of college, in a woodshop, prepared me to be an editor.

In the shop, I’d start with a rough cut of walnut, make the initial cuts, put the piece under a router, shape it, and then polish the final product.

Substitute “piece of wood” for “the first draft of a manuscript” and you should be able to get the parallel.

God does something similar with us:

Cutting. Shaping. Polishing. Repeat.

One famous writer captured this idea well … 

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”      

C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity 

When you’re in a healthy relationship with someone, that person always wants what is best for your soul.

There is a great deal of comfort, and some dread, in the knowledge that God knows exactly what our souls need … 

 ”We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” ( C.S. Lewis )

Especially when,

Schmidt Happens

Life Question Bible (a new Patreon project) … see video in sidebar

New tier rewards every week!

Photo/ Scopio ID: 3953223794711

Challenging Assumptions …

Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 7.49.03 AM

“O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived.” (Jeremiah 20:7, NASB)

Why would God ever allow people to believe something that wasn’t true?

Why is it healthy to regularly challenge our assumptions?

High Internalization Potential (HIP) response …

If you can back up your assumptions with reasonable evidence, they’ll endure.

However, if what you believe is nothing more than a house of cards—the sooner it falls, the better (borrowed from C.S. Lewis).

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road … and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

Especially when … 

Schmidt Happens 

Life Question Bible (a new Patreon project) … see video in sidebar

New tier rewards every week!

Photo/Scopio ID: 3488756203543




Does the Church Have a “Rummage Sale” Every 500 Years?

Screen Shot 2020-08-26 at 4.36.23 AM

I got to ask Dr. Megan DeVore (a professor at CCU) a church history question and hear her response.

That conversation is going to make my 2020 highlight reel.

This was my question …

“Was Phyllis Tickle right? Does the church have a “rummage sale” every 500 years and “clean house”? Is that what’s happening now with Covid-19”?

Dr. DeVore said something like, “We see that 500-year pattern with God’s people, even in the Old Testament.”

[Abraham, 2000 BC ; Moses, 1500; King David, 1000; The Exile 500; Jesus, 0 … and then, Pope Gregory’s reforms, 500; The Great Schism, 1000; The Reformation 1500.]

She continued …

“Many were thinking that 9/11 would be the ‘cleaning’ event, but that didn’t happen. So, it’s ‘wait-and-see’ with Covid-19.”

“We are fairly certain of this: the Reformation would not have happened had it not been for the Bubonic Plague.

That pandemic pushed people to God and forced believers to start acting as each other’s priests because death came so quickly.”

And so, (this is my [Doug’s] conclusion) …

Covid-19 may be setting us up for the next “cleaning event.”

My prediction: if the current president is re-elected, he will say to China, “You’re reimbursing us for the costs of Covid-19” …  and they’ll say, “Fuhgeddaboudit” (whatever that is in Mandarin) … and that will start the rumblings of Armageddon.

And then — [and I say this with respect] — Jesus will turn to the Father and say, “I should probably get back down there” …

And if the Father says “Yes” … then that will be the rummage sale that ends all rummage sales.

Photo/Scopio ID: 4486707216431

We Have No Idea …

Stars and dust

“Science is Real”  … until a human, with biases, interprets the data.

Then “Science is Literature” or “Science is Art” or “Science is a Crapshoot.”

When the word “scientific” is added to an opinion, then suddenly that perspective becomes indisputable.

As John Pinette was fond of saying, “Nay, Nay!”

When we consider all the possible knowledge in the universe, including what we don’t know about dark matter and dark energy, then the scientific knowledge we have available to us is less than 1%.

That’s like trying to figure out the game of baseball with nothing but a batting glove.

That’s hardly indisputable.

Especially when,

Schmidt Happens

Recommended book: We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

Photo/Scopio ID: 4443214086191






What Gets Affirmed, Gets Repeated …

Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 5.20.11 PM

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV, emphasis added)

What’s your first reaction when someone points out something positive or effective that you’re doing?

What are some easy, upbeat things to spotlight—even with strangers?

High Internalization Potential (HIP) answer ….

I was once in a Barnes & Noble listening to a Dad (a stranger to me) affirming his young boys for their book choices.

Later I told him that I admired the way he interacted with his kids. His eyes welled up, and he said “Thank you.”

Never underestimate the power of making a person [who’s trying] realize, “Wow, somebody noticed.”

Especially when …

Schmidt Happens


Life Question Bible (a New Patreon Project) (see video in sidebar).

New tier rewards every week!

Photo/Scopio # 4679907475503


Can You Create Meaning Out of Nothing?

Green and brown mountains under white clouds and blue sky

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.

Ecclesiastes 1:1, 9-10 (NIV)

Upon what do you base your meaning, purpose, and significance in life?

Is it possible to “create” meaning, even where none apparently exists? Explain.  

High Internalization Potential (HIP) answer …

I don’t think it’s possible to enjoy a genuine sense of meaning without a belief in the transcendent (which was something Solomon [the author of Ecclesiastes] temporarily lost toward the end of his life).

I do think some people [who have no belief in the transcendent] can be successful at artificially creating a sense of meaning that helps them to function. Sartre and Camus won Noble Peace Prizes for showing these folks how to do this.

Especially when,

Schmidt Happens

Life Question Bible (a New Patreon Project) (see video in sidebar). New tier rewards every week!

Photo/Scopio ID: 3823231598615


The Perfect Relationship Trifecta

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

What is it about humility, gentleness, and patience that makes up the perfect “trifecta” when it comes to relationships?

What happens when one of the three is missing?

Why is it generally good to be kind to everyone, even those who anger or annoy us?

High Internalization Potential (HIP) Answer  …

Anger does not require character assassination and annoyance doesn’t require contempt. We are far more likely to resolve our issues with difficult people if we keep our interactions with them kind (at least as it depends on us).

Of course, this can’t go on forever if the other person won’t budge. Even then, you can distance yourself from this individual without needing to be a jerk about it. And you’re likely to feel better about yourself if you’re considerate.

Especially when,

Schmidt Happens

Life Question Bible (a New Patreon Project) (see video in sidebar)

« Older Entries