Archive for August, 2016
What would you say to someone who refuses to reconcile with another after that other shows legitimate remorse, has apologized, and is very ready to reconcile?
The one who was hurt may have trust issues with the one who did the injuring. In other words, this could be the 25th incident of hurt. Try to discern how often the person has been hurt by the other. If there is a pattern, then it is understandable why the injured person is hesitant to reconcile.
In this kind of case, I recommend being aware of small steps, done by the injuring person, to truly change and be trustworthy. If the one who acted unfairly does not characteristically engage in hurtful actions, then perhaps there is a trust issue (in the one who refuses to forgive) that goes back a long way, even to childhood. Those who are mistreated by parents, for example, have difficulty establishing trust in their later relationships with others. If this is the case, then practicing forgiving of parents may help the person to more easily trust people in the present and move toward a healthy reconciliation.
What would you advise when you see that a child is so angry that he should forgive, but he cannot let go of the anger?
First, it is the child’s choice to forgive or not. If you hover over the child and demand forgiving, this could do more harm than good. Let the child be drawn to forgiveness. Perhaps you can watch a film in which a character forgives. Let the child see that and then ask such questions as these:
“Did you see what that character in the film did?
Why do you think the character forgave, even though so hurt and angry?
What happened after the forgiving, what was the consequence of the forgiving?
When we are really angry, one thing to think about is forgiving the other. It can do you a lot of good.
What do you think?”
If you do not mind, Nihilism, forgiveness has a challenge for you. It is this:
Forgiveness is quite interested in whether or not you still hold to your view under the following circumstance [Warning! Graphic content…to make an important point]:
An 8-year-old girl was brutally kidnapped and repeatedly raped by 5 men who kept her hostage for one year. When she finally escaped, her right arm was so damaged from physical abuse that the arm had to be amputated at the elbow. She now is blind in her left eye and she is afraid to go out of her home.
Is there any person in the world who looks at this truthfully who would say, “She deserved this”? Or, would say, “There is nothing wrong in these men’s actions”? Or, “These actions are wrong only for certain cultures and historical epochs, but not for others”?
I know, I know. Your rebuttal is this: You can show us at least one ideology in the world that would tell you that the men had a right to this.
I am not talking about ideologies, if you do not mind.
I am talking about looking this situation straight in its face and then looking within to one’s own conscience and then asking, “It this wrong? Is this wrong today and yesterday and 1,000 years ago and 1,000 years in the future…..across all cultures everywhere?”
Does the morality of this scenario “inherently exist” in you and in all people of conscience? If you say no, then are you willing to keep the above image in your mind…..for the rest of your life? Can you do it and survive? If not, then are you willing to reconsider your nihilistic view?
Forgiveness, by confronting horrendous actions of others and doing so day after day across so many cultures, sees that some things indeed are inherently wrong, even if some people continue to deny as wrong what happened to that dear girl above. If you cannot answer—truly answer—forgiveness’ challenge in this example, then your philosophy needs to push the restart button.
Forgiveness disagrees with you. Forgiveness says that even when enduring the worst of suffering, we have the capacity to love and to show the world that our love is stronger than any suffering thrown our way. To love in the face of grave suffering gives profound meaning to human existence.
I know, I know. You say in response that to love is temporary and so it is an illusion. Life remains meaningless in the face of even love’s illusion.
Yet, for those who have struggled to love, they have an interior proof that this kind of love is real, not an illusion, that can stay with a person. The subjective experience is very affirming that there is meaning to life.
What was that? You are saying that there is no purpose to life? You say that even if a person finds meaning, yet there is no direction to life. You say that all we have left is this passive feeling of love inside that means nothing to anyone else. It is a drug, you say, only for the drugged one.
Forgiveness says otherwise. Forgiveness not only says, but shows that love can be in service to others who are hurting. Once a person experiences the love of forgiveness, then he or she often is highly motivated to share that love with others. This is purpose. This is getting it done. This is no illusion.
Nihilism, I would like you to meet the love that is forgiveness. Love confirms that there is meaning and purpose to life. A definition of nihilism is to negate or to destroy. Perhaps forgiveness has just destroyed nihilism.
We deliberately use stories so that the child or adolescent is placed into a safe environment. It is not the student, then, who first has to confront wrongdoing. The student gets to quietly observe others who experience injustices and find a way to work out of the pain by forgiving. The story characters, then, serve as role-models in a non-threatening context. Once the students learn what forgiveness is (and is not) and sees how story characters forgive, and the consequences of doing so, then they might be interested in trying to forgive. It is their choice.