Archive for July, 2013

I have been hurt by two different people in almost the exact same way. Both insulted me and acted like I don’t even have a brain. I found it not so hard to forgive the first person. Two times is too much and so I am having a hard time forgiving the second person. What do you recommend?

You likely have anger toward both people and so the anger toward the first one is spilling over to the second. In other words, you may have an accumulation of anger. First, please be aware of this if indeed this is the case. Then I recommend continuing to forgive the first person and persevere until the anger lessens. With lessened anger, and with the practice you now have in the process of forgiveness, you may find that forgiving the second person is easier than it was previously.

Forgiveness as Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

We all quest after these three qualities of life: truth, goodness, and beauty. Too often, those who hurt us are not standing in the truth of who we are, they are not behaving in a morally good way toward us, and the outcome surely is not beautiful.

Those who hurt us leave a mess behind: a distortion of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Truth tells us who we are as persons. We are all special, unique, and irreplaceable. All persons have inherent worth.

Goodness conforms to truth. When we realize that all persons are special and possess inherent worth, our response of goodness should include fairness toward all as well as kindness, respect, generosity, and love.

Beauty is defined by goodness. If we are to respond to others with fairness, kindness, respect, generosity, and love, then we have to express this well from the heart.

So, how do we clean up the mess left behind by those who are cruel?

We should try to forgive with truth, goodness, and beauty. How do we do this?

In truth, we have to start forgiveness by understanding it clearly. Even when someone is cruel to us, the truth is that this person is special, unique, and irreplaceable. Even if this person has hurt us, he/she has inherent worth.

In goodness, even when someone is cruel to us, the challenge of goodness compels us to respond with fairness, kindness, respect, generosity, and love. Yes, even toward those who are cruel to us.

In beauty, even when someone is cruel to us, the challenge of beauty is to transform our hearts so that all of the goodness is not forced but is given willingly as a gift to that person.

As we apply truth, goodness, and beauty to those who have acted unfairly toward us, we not only help to clean up the mess left behind but also we are doing our part to make the world a more beautiful place.


Forgiveness Places the Burden of Change on the Victim When It Is the Offender Who Should Change

This issue is a confusion of what forgiveness is and what it accomplishes. Forgiveness is not a moral virtue centered on justice. Justice solves problems. Forgiveness deals with the sometimes difficult aftermath of injustices. Forgiveness addresses the consequences of injustice. By so doing, this does not make forgiveness a usurper of a just response. Forgiveness as a response to injustice and the seeking of a better justice can and should exist side-by-side.


I have been going through your 20-step procedure to forgive someone. All of a sudden I hit a bump in the road and I am unsure what to do. How do I get over this bump and move forward? It concerns seeing the person as someone who has inherent worth.

It is insightful of you to realize that you have hit that bump in the road. I suggest that you revisit the units in the Uncovering Phase of the forgiveness process. Perhaps you have more anger than you at first realized. If so, this could get in your way of seeing the person as possessing inherent worth. Also, you might want to carefully examine that person’s own fears and failures as a way to see the humanity in him or her. This could help you to see the one who hurt you as human, as a person. From there you then may be able to take the next step of seeing that he or she possesses built-in worth as a person.

On the Perpetuation of Anger: 323 Years and Counting

Yesterday was July 12, the day in which Loyalists in Northern Ireland celebrate the victory of King William of Orange against King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The fight was for control of at least a part of Ireland either by British Protestants or Irish Catholics. The island has been politically divided in various ways since that time.


Each July 12 there are parades which commemorate this event in Belfast, Northern Ireland and other communities. Some of the Loyalists (British) this year wanted to march through a Catholic neighborhood in north Belfast. They were denied. The result? Anger and rioting with more than 30 police officers hurt as reported by the BBC.


I am doing the math here. That is 323 years ago. And there seems to be a replay of animosity that likely took place near the River Boyne at the time of the battle.

Anger has a way of living on. It is like a virus, continually jumping to new hosts to stay alive.


Yet, viruses can be stopped by good hygiene and proper care of those infected. How do we stop toxic anger?

Through forgiveness. Forgiveness stops the spread of anger and puts compassion, patience, and mercy into the situation where there was hatred, dissension, and violence before.


Let us reflect on that one number for a while—–1690.

With good forgiveness education and a will to stop the virus, where will Belfast be in 2090?