Archive for September, 2012
I am 55 years old now, when I was 14 my dad made inappropriate suggestions to me, just those words devastated me, i told my mom, she didnt punish him, he died several years ago without saying “I’m sorry”, i have never been able to trust anyone, been married 3 times, I was a single mom,catered to my 2 sons now they have abandoned me, I have tried over and over to forgive, it’s been 5 years since my last divorce, i can’t seem to get over him, he’s definitely gone on with his life and i’m still crying about him,the only person I considered my “best friend”, my sister, got married and never spend time with me anymore, I woould support her in everything but as i go through this pain, she is not there for me, I’m so tired of the ‘pity parties”, i know it’s wrong, I want so much to forgive and get pass the anger and pain.
You have a remarkable and important insight: Your father’s inappropriate behavior when you were 14 has affected each of your important relationships ever since. I recommend working on forgiving your father first because it is central to the rest of your life’s story. Please consider the material in Chapter 12 of The Forgiving Life book, which centers on forgiving one’s parents.
Now, once you have walked that path of forgiving your father, you have a very important question to ask yourself: How has my own behavior toward others been affected by my father’s inappropriateness? You may be tossing your own angers and disappointments onto others who had nothing to do with the abuse you suffered. If this is the case, I recommend two approaches. First, work on forgiving yourself through the exercises in Chapter 10 of The Forgiving Life. Then approach those whom you have hurt and seek their forgiveness. These issues are discussed in Chapter 14 of the book. That chapter walks you through the somewhat complex path of forgiving, seeking forgiveness, and reconciling.
I would like to ask you a question but I am concerned about privacy issues. I would not want my identity to be revealed. Is that possible? Thank you
We always post questions without identifying who asked it. Privacy for the question-asker is a high priority for us at the IFI.
Helpful Forgiveness Hint
One powerful motivator to forgive is this: Try to assess the amount of pain that your own resentment is causing you. Are you more tired than you need to be? Clinging to resentment might be playing a part here in your fatigue level. Have you been distracted lately? Preoccupation with another’s injustice may be playing a part here. Have you become a more cynical person? Is the glass half-empty for you rather than half-full? Your resentments may be playing a part in your seeing the glass as continually half-empty. Forgiveness can reverse the fatigue, the preoccupations, and the cynicism. Let your awareness of your inner unrest motivate you to begin the forgiveness process.
I have been separated from my husband for 2 years. I left because of his infidelities. We had a combined family of twelve, the real life his, hers, and ours. My family was devastated. His infidelity was open, and blatant… he dated a girl half his age…her kids even called him “Daddy.” Over the past couple of years, I forced myself to accept things for what they were. It was truly painful. Now he wants to reconcile, and doesn’t understand why things can’t be like the way they were. We are both Christians. I talk to him regularly, we have dinner, and he tries to assist me in any way possible. But I can’t help thinking about how he openly flaunted his affair. We have the same friends, some of our family accepted his relationship. Some of our family went so far as to visit their home at the time and seemingly cast my children and I by the wayside. My children were devastated. They didn’t understand how someone who came home every night, and took family trips, etc. could do something like this, and come back around and expect everything to be okay. The eldest is 22 and the youngest is 11. I thought that I was over the pain and the trauma of the situation, but I’m not. We love him, but I don’t want to open my children or myself to feel this kind of pain again. As a Christian, I don’t want my children to be unforgiving… but how do I teach them about forgiveness when I harbor resentment ?
First, I am sorry for the pain that you have. We have to very clearly distinguish between your reconciling with and forgiving your husband. There are important differences. The most immediate issue is reconciliation, which is when two or more people come together again in mutual trust. The basic question is this: Can you trust your husband now and if so, what is the evidence? Trust usually is won after a series of steps to rebuild that trust.
The second issue is forgiveness. You and the children can begin today to forgive your husband/their father. When you forgive, you are working on reducing and even eliminating your resentment toward him and offering mercy, which may or may not include a welcoming back to the marriage.
We have resources in our Store for children and early adolescents who wish to learn to forgive. My book, The Forgiving Life, may be helpful in your forgiveness journey. I recommend that you forgive your husband for each injustice that particularly has wounded you.
Forgiveness is a journey that can take time, so please be gentle with yourself and please allow the children time to be angry and to grieve because for some time now their family has not been intact.
Pope Benedict XVI Calls for Middle East Peace Through Forgiveness
Manila Bulletin, Beirut, Lebanon – Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that mankind should reject vengeance and instead pardon the offenses of others, as he urged the Middle East’s Christians and Muslims to forge a harmonious society through forgiveness.
Those who desire to live in peace must have a change of heart, and that involves “rejecting revenge, acknowledging one’s faults, accepting apologies without demanding them and, not least, forgiveness,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI, on a three-day visit to Lebanon, met with and spoke to the country’s political and religious leaders as well as the diplomatic corps. His address focused on the universal yearning of humanity for peace and how that can only come about through community, comprised of individual persons, whose aspirations and rights to a fulfilling life must be respected.
Lebanon is a multi-faith country in which Muslims make up about 65 percent of the population and Christians the balance. The pope came to bring a message of peace and reconciliation to it and to the wider Middle East, which have been torn by violence, often sectarian, over the years.
“Only forgiveness, given and received, can lay lasting foundations for reconciliation and universal peace,” he added in an address on the second day of his three-day visit to Lebanon.
Read the full story: Pope: Reject Vengeance, Forgive Offenses.