I don’t get why one of my parents continues to hold onto anger and wallow in self-pity when forgiveness is available.  Why do some people refuse to forgive?

I think there are at least four reasons for this:

  1. Some people think that holding on to anger empowers them to seek justice. Yet, one can seek justice without intense anger, which actually can take energy and focus away from the justice-seeking.
  2. Some people misunderstand what forgiveness is, thinking that it is giving in to the other’s demands, or a reconciliation that would be harmful, or a ploy to maintain the current unjust status quo.
  3. Some people wait for an apology before they consider forgiving to be appropriate.  Yet, waiting for certain words from another is giving that person power over your own recovery.
  4. Some people today say they will never forgive, but this is not necessarily their final word.  Saying no to forgiveness today does not mean that there will be no yes to it in the days, weeks, months, or even years ahead.
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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness


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