Archive for June, 2016
I think that offenses against children are the worst because they are innocent persons who could carry their hurt into adulthood, compromising health and relationships. How can we go about helping children to forgive if they have not yet had serious unfairness against them?
We have teacher guides for forgiveness education in which the teacher gives the forgiveness instruction through stories. As children and adolescents see how story characters resolve conflicts and do the inner transformation of forgiveness, then they have models of how to forgive. It is important that students are not pressured to forgive, but are drawn to it if they wish to try it.
What Is Your Goal When You Forgive?
Here is your multiple choice exam for the question above:
Please check all that apply to you.
- to feel better
- to repair a relationship
- to grow in character because forgiveness makes me a better person
- to be of help to the one who hurt me
- to show my children, or others who are important to me, that forgiveness is important
- to help even in a little way to make a better world, which forgiving others does by reducing conflict and trying to create more peace
- to exercise goodness as an end in and of itself because forgiveness is good
- to honor my religious tradition which highly values forgiving
- to love because to forgive on its deepest level is to love another who is not loving me, at least in terms of the actions of unfairness
How many did you choose and why?
If you had to choose only one which typically characterizes you, which one is that?
If you had to choose only one which you think is the morally highest reason for forgiving, which one would you choose?
On which of the nine choices do you need to train your mind and heart more strongly so that you can consistently see, appreciate, and practice this one?
Does an act of forgiving lead almost automatically to feelings of positivity or does it only open the door to the potential for feeling more positively? Can one still feel positively without forgiving?
Although some people can begin to feel quite good upon starting to forgive another, these positive feelings can take time because the process of forgiving itself can take time. So, it is typical that a decision to forgive can and does open the door to feeling well, but we then need patience to keep on the path of forgiveness. As we do that, anger begins to diminish and feelings of well-being begin to emerge. Even if the anger does not go away entirely, many people then say that their anger no longer controls them.
Can people feel well if they do not forgive? This depends on the severity of the offense. If the offense is profound and shocking, then a person may not feel well in a general and on-going sense without forgiveness. I do not say that to put pressure on anyone to forgive. I say it, instead, because this is what I observe in those with extremely challenging injustices against them.
On the Strong Will
To forgive another who has hurt you, you need to do certain things like seeing the other as truly human and not defining that person only by the unjust acts. Yet, there is more than doing; there is persevering internally, within yourself. It takes a certain degree of tenacity to stay with the process of forgiving another because forgiveness can be hard work, especially if the injustice against you is severe.
Once you have forgiven another, it takes more perseverance and tenacity to forgive another person and then another. To stay at forgiving rather than sinking into bitterness or pessimism takes the strong will. “But, I already tried forgiveness…..and I keep getting hurt.” No matter how many times you have been hurt, you can reduce that hurt by forgiving. Think about it for a moment: To what in your life do you keep going back to regardless of difficulty and struggle? Where in your life do you not quit no matter what? Your answer will show you that you have a strong will in some areas of your life.
Why not, then, apply that strong will to forgiving? Why let pessimism have even a minute of your time? Your strong will can keep pessimism away.
The strong will needs to be understood, nurtured, and practiced in the context of forgiving. Long live the strong will.
How would you define forgivable offenses? To be particular, can someone forgive another’s failure or deficiency in character (even if there was no wrongful act committed by the person)? For instance, someone might be indifferent to me without meaning to hurt me, but I might still feel offended while knowing he or she didn’t do anything wrong to me. Thank you.
Deficiency of character will come out as behavior, either as a bad act (an act of commission) or as a failure to act when one should (an act of omission). When a person treats you with indifference, this is an act of omission because you are a person of worth and others should not treat you as if you were invisible. This, of course, does not mean that we have to pour ourselves out for everyone we meet. Your example centers on actual interactions which make you feel ignored. We should not treat others as if they do not count or have no worth (an act of omission). When this occurs, those so ignored can, if they choose, forgive the other.