Archive for June, 2020
In my experience, because forgiveness is so little discussed with children, as least in any deep way, most children actually do not think about forgiveness and they do not know how to go about forgiving. This is one reason why instituting forgiveness education is so vitally important. Again in my experience, children who are treated unjustly in the home do not begin to reflect on this until they are in later adolescence and are in transition from the home. It often is at this time that the nearly-adult children look back and can be filled with deep resentment in need of amelioration. If these nearly-adult children already were fortified with what forgiveness is and how to go about it, this would serve them well.
For additional information, see Kids Are Smarter Than You Think.
They say, “Forgive and forget,” but I just can’t blot out of my memory what happened to me. Does this mean that I am not forgiving the person?
The term forget has more than one meaning. It can mean not being able to remember what happened. It can mean to not dwell on what happened. It can mean that as we look back, we remember in new ways. When we forgive, we can remember and this is all right. As an analogy, if you have ever had a sports injury, you can look back; you do not forget in a literal sense the time of a challenging physical injury. Yet, when you look back at the sports injury, you do not feel the pain in the same way as you did when the event happened. I think it is the same with forgiveness. We can look back, but we remember in new ways, without the acute pain being there for us now.
For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.
“As we continually live with love withdrawn from us and a resulting resentment (with the short-term consequences of thinking with a negative pattern, thinking specific condemning thoughts, and acting poorly), we can settle into a kind of long-term distortion of who the love-withdrawing person is, who we ourselves are, and who people are in general. The basic issue here is that once love is withdrawn from us, we can begin to withdraw a sense of worth toward the one who hurt us. The conclusion is that he or she is worth-less. Over time, we can drift into the dangerous conclusion, ‘I, too, am worthless. ’After all, others have withdrawn love from me and have concluded that I lack worth, therefore I do lack worth. Even later, we can drift into the unhealthy conclusion that there is no love in the world and so no one really has any worth, thus everyone is worth-less.”
Excerpt from the book, The Forgiving Life, Chapter 1.
What is one important insight you can give to me if I want to ask for forgiveness from someone I wounded emotionally?
I would realize that the person has a wounded heart and may need time to forgive. In other words, when you approach the person do not expect an immediate, “Yes, I forgive you.” So, you will need to be ready to wait.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.
Forgiving for me is a struggle, but I can accomplish it. My issue is with reconciliation, which I am finding very awkward with one particular person. Can reconciliation ever be truly accomplished after a brutal betrayal?
Congratulations on forgiving in the face of a “brutal betrayal.” This is not at all easy to accomplish. Regarding reconciliation, your struggle may be centered on the theme of trust. How trustworthy is the person whom you have forgiven? If you are not able to establish trust, at least not yet, this may be the cause of your struggle. Try to get a sense of whether or not the other is sorry for the injustice, uses words that suggest sincerity of repentance to you, and shows behavior that is consistent with the inner sorrow and words of repentance.
For additional information, see Do I Have to Reconcile with the Other When I Forgive?