Archive for February, 2017
We sometimes think that those who hurt us have far more control over us than they actually do. We often measure our happiness or unhappiness by what has happened in the past.
My challenges to you today are these: Your response of forgiveness now to the one who hurt you can set you free from a past influence that has been toxic. Try to measure your happiness by what you will do next (not by what is past). Your next move can be this–to love regardless of what others do to you.
My friend started the forgiveness process to be free of inner emotional pain. He has forgiven (at least he says he has forgiven), but he still has inner pain. Does this mean that he has not forgiven?
When we forgive, all of the inner pain is not necessarily eliminated. Often the pain goes down to a manageable level so that the person can function well in life. Forgiveness is for imperfect people as the late Lewis Smedes used to say. Thus, forgiveness can work well but not necessarily lead to perfect results and this does not mean that the forgiveness process was unsuccessful. Getting emotional relief so that the pain or anger no longer dominates a person is a good outcome.
In Chapter 5 of your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you mention six psychological defenses that people typically use to ward off anxiety (denial, suppression, repression, displacement, regression, and identification). Which one is the most destructive, do you think?
Displacement does the most damage because a person’s misery can be spread to many others across a lifetime. Repression may be the most damaging for the one who was hurt because the insights about what really happened may not easily emerge. The person treated unjustly may not even be aware of why he or she is so angry. Without the insight, there may be no forgiveness because there is no motivation to forgive. After all, if one cannot recall who was hurtful, there will be little progress in being motivated to forgive.
Forgiveness Is a Choice, by Dr. Robert D. Enright