Archive for August, 2020

I think I have forgiven my friend for betraying my trust. I no longer am angry. Yet, I do not trust the person now. Does this mean I have not forgiven?

I think your issue now is one of reconciliation, not forgiveness. To forgive is to offer goodness, as best you can, to those who have not been good to you. Reconciliation is a negotiation strategy of two or more people coming together again in mutual trust. If your friend is showing behaviors that are untrustworthy, then your forgiving and not yet reconciling is reasonable. This does not mean that you are unforgiving.

For additional information, see Do I Have to Reconcile with the Other When I Forgive?

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My friend has a very negative mindset about forgiving. She is skeptical that it has any worth. What do you suggest I do in this case?

She certainly is entitled to her own opinion. At the same time, if that opinion, about what forgiveness is, contains substantial errors, then you might consider talking with her about the basics of forgiveness. To forgive is not to find excuses or to abandon the quest for justice. To forgive is not to necessarily or automatically reconcile. Forgiveness is a choice and should not be forced on her by others. Does she understand all of this? In my experience, those who are highly skeptical of forgiving often misunderstand what it is.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

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My friend Samantha betrayed a secret I told her. It took us awhile to get back together. Believe it or not, she did it again! Do I have to forgive her for this second one?

You use the words “have to forgive.” Your decision to forgive is yours and so please do not feel grimly obligated to forgive immediately. It could take time because you obviously are angry. This second betrayal seems to be even more painful than the first one because your friend knew how much the first one hurt. When you are ready to begin the process of forgiveness, you will know. You might want to start the process of forgiving before you approach Samantha about this second injustice and how it has affected you. I say that so that you can approach her with patience and civility.

To learn more, see Forgiveness Is a Choice.

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I am wondering about this situation: One of my friends, Alex, was offended by another of my friends, James. In the process of working their way back to each other (and I was present for this), James also pointed out how Alex was partially at fault for their tensions and conflicts. I agree with James. Yet, Alex refuses to believe that he has done any wrong at all. How can we convince Alex that he is partially at fault?

The short answer is that you may not be able to convince Alex. I do think it is a good idea to point out, gently, Alex’s complicity in the tensions. Yet, his acceptance of this is his call. He seems to need time and may be in denial. Denial as a psychological defense can take time to weaken. If he feels even slightly guilty, then this is a good opening for him to explore the possibility of his contributing to the conflicts. If both James and you realize that denial takes time to dissolve, then your patience may pay off in a restored relationship.

For additional information, see Do I Have to Reconcile with the Other When I Forgive?

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How can I convince my stubborn roommate that he needs to get counseling help so that  he can forgive his ex-girlfriend? He is distracted and very angry.

I admire your intention to help your roommate overcome his resentment. Resentment often can get so painful that it becomes the motivator to seek help in forgiving. Yet, this decision to forgive or not rests with your roommate. It is his call; it is his choice. You could gently ask him what the level of his emotional pain is. If he gives you a truthful answer that it is high, then you might suggest that you have a possible solution to that inner pain—Forgiveness Therapy. Even then, he needs the freedom to either accept or reject the suggestion. Does he truly know what it means to forgive? If he is misunderstanding what forgiveness is, then this could be an impediment to his seeking help.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

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