Archive for January, 2014

My boyfriend and I have had a rocky time of it lately. I asked his forgiveness and all I got back was a lot of anger. How do I handle his anger and how can I get him to understand that I want his forgiveness?

First, you are showing courage by asking for forgiveness.  So, please realize this.  Second, your boyfriend is near the beginning of the forgiving process (anger is part of the beginning) while you are very far along on the seeking-forgiveness path.  Please see this discrepancy between where you are on your path and where he is on his path.  There is nothing wrong with both of you being at different places on your respective paths.

I would urge you to be patient with him and see that he is just at the beginning of forgiving.  It will help if you express understanding to him. Let him know that his forgiving is his choice.

When you see that his heart is soft toward you, gently—gently—bring up again the idea of his forgiving, with the addition that you know it is his choice and that you are willing to wait for him to get used to the idea of forgiveness.

With time and perseverance, he is likely to join you in the process of seeking and granting forgiveness.

Parents Forgive Hit-and-Run Driver for Killing Their Girls, Denver, CO – Susan Dieter and her husband Tom Robinson are suffering from a heartbreak that is difficult to comprehend. The couple lost both their 6-year-old daughter, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, and her 11-year-old stepsister, Abigail Robinson, to a hit and run driver on October 20, 2013.

Less than two weeks later, the couple told a television reporter that they forgave the teenage girl who ran over their two young daughters.

Authorities said the girls were playing in a pile of leaves near the street outside their home in Forest Grove, OR, when an     18-year-old female driver “intentionally” drove through the large pile and “felt a bump” but failed to stop.

Despite the horrific accident, the parents of the two young girls say they have already made their peace with the teen who killed their girls.

“I can’t change what happened to my girls,” said Susan Dieter. “I’ve said many times I just want to wake up, reverse the clocks, but I can’t change it.”

Family friend and Pastor Eric Schmitt of the Sunrise Church said the couple’s reaction may be unusual, but that their forgiveness is an example to all of us.

“By their actions, by their behavior, and by their character, that’s who we’re all supposed to be,” Schmitt said.

Read the full story: Forgiveness over tragedy: Parents forgive hit and run driver for killing girls.”

My father is always working. He sees nothing wrong with this, but I am resentful because he is putting all of his energy into work and little into our family. When I told him that I forgive him for his absence, he said that I am wrong, that there is nothing he has to apologize for. Is there anything you would suggest I do to move him toward seeking forgiveness and changing his behavior?

You might want to first ask him how his own father behaved in this regard—the balance of family and work.  If his own father overworked, which I suspect was the case because your own father sees it as normal, then please ask your father how he felt as a child when this happened. The similarities between his own feelings as the child and your feelings as your father’s child might become apparent to him.  He then might be ready to seek forgiveness.  Even if his own father balanced well family and work, first forgive your father and then have a heart-to-heart talk with him (after you forgive him) about what you see as unfairness here. I would use the word “unfair,” not in an accusatory sense, but in a sense that this is the truth and you would like him to see this truth.

What If My Trust Is Damaged?

When we have been treated with distain, our trust is likely damaged. What is sad is this: We not only lose trust in the one who was cruel but also we tend to lose trust in people in general. To make matters worse, we tell ourselves a new story about how the world works and that story reinforces our fear of others as we tell ourselves and believe, “No one is worthy of my trust.” Then we find that those we should trust the most, a spouse, for example, are the ones we now mistrust the most, even when they are not the grave offender who damaged our trust in the first place.

How do we work our way out of this? We recommend three approaches. First, forgive the one who hurt you. This will lessen your anger, which you might be displacing onto others, possibly straining other relationships and thus damaging your trust further.

Second, forgive the person for damaging your trust. This is a secondary wound that we rarely realize we have. It should further reduce your anger.

Third, choose one person who is reliable and focus on the little things in that relationship that legitimately allow you to trust that person. Take time to abide in that person’s reliability and kindness. Then combine your forgiveness, your reducing anger, and your growing trust in that one, kind person and be aware of small steps of trust as they grow in you. It will take time, but it is time well spent. In time, you may see that your general trust in people returns.

As a final note, if the one who originally damaged your trust remains a danger to you, then you need not reconcile with him or her. That reconciliation may come in time as the person behaves in such a way as to earn back your trust.


Why do you think so many people get mad at the idea of forgiveness? When I mention forgiveness to some people they seem to tighten up and want nothing to do with it.

In my experience, there are two basic reasons why people bristle at the word “forgiveness.”  First, some are actually confusing the term forgiveness with other terms such as excusing, caving in, being a wimp, and automatic reconciliation without protecting oneself.  In other words, they actually are not upset with forgiveness but with a misunderstanding of it.  Second, some people are so resentful of others that they want to push forgiveness under the rug and not discuss it.  As long as they do not try to prevent others from forgiving, then this is their choice, which may not be their final word on the matter.  In other words, some day they may change and want to try forgiving.