Archive for April, 2012
As you begin to forgive, please realize that you will be finding life-giving meaning in the process of forgiveness itself. You will learn about your ability to endure despite the pain. You will learn that forgiveness is a friend, which can bolster you the next time and the next time and the next time after that when you are emotionally hurt. You will learn how strong you are because you have faced difficulty and have overcome it with respect or compassion or love (or perhaps all three). So, begin the journey and look forward to finding meaning in the process.
Theday.com (Connecticut). After her son’s killer, Wendy Georges, delivered a heartfelt apology at his sentencing in New London Thursday, the mother of fatal stabbing victim John Stevens Fleurimond stood up in court to say she forgives him.
Louis said in court that the killing was a mistake, an act between two friends during a poker game.
She even went to hug George, but she was restrained by the Judicial Marshals.
“I forgive him,” cried the mother, Marie Jean Louis. “Because it was a mistake. I know it was a mistake.”
The Daily Courier (Prescott, Arizona) – Irene Danon, 82, hid from the Nazis in the former Yugoslavia during World War II. She lost family in the concentration camps and yet she says today that learning to forgive the Germans and others, responsible for the genocide of over 6 million people, is the key to her own survival and healing. She says that her parents both died in their 60s because they could not forgive. Her brother died at age 57 for this same reason.
“I hope to show the world the Holocaust really happened, and in order to move on and heal myself, I have learned to forgive,” Danon said. “Forgiveness is the key for survival and healing.”
I have a friend who could benefit from forgiving her mom, but I am not sure what the best way is to introduce the topic to her. Any suggestions about how to do this so she takes it seriously?
There are two ways I would suggest introducing forgiveness to your friend. The first one is what I would call the “lighter” approach. If you are watching a film in which there is a theme of forgiveness, try to make this into a teaching moment by simply and gently discussing what injustice happened, how the forgiver went about the forgiveness task, and what the outcome was. It could plant a seed.
The second approach is to focus on your friend’s pain as a result of the hurt from her mom. Pain is a great attention-getter and motivator. If you can enter into a discussion of the friend’s emotional pain, and then let her know that there is a solution to this pain, she may listen. When you tell her the solution is forgiveness, she may balk at first, but tell her the truth: Forgiveness can reduce anger, anxiety, and depression and increase hope. She may give it a try if the pain is deep enough.
I am a Christian with a question that is bothering me. We use the expression, “being absolved from our sins.” God does the absolving. So, when I forgive, am I absolving a person from their sins? If only God can forgive sins, then am I absolving the person from the injustice?
From the viewpoint of Christian theology, when God absolves sins, then those sins are basically forgotten, put aside, and a new relationship ensues between God and the one who sinned. People do not “absolve” when they forgive. That is God’s job. We, instead, offer goodness toward the one who acted unjustly. Our forgiving is like God’s, from a theological perspective, in that we have mercy on the other, we try to help the other, and we are interested in his or her well-being. We are not like God in our forgiveness in the one sense of not absolving the sin or literally forgetting it (instead, we tend to remember in new ways) or taking away any spiritual or natural consequence that results from the sin. And you are right: When we forgive, we are not forgiving sins, we are forgiving people for injustices against us.