Ask Dr. Forgiveness
Might pride block forgiving? In other words, pride might lead a person to stand firm and say to the self, “I never will forgive unless the other apologizes!”
Yes, I do think that at times pride can lead to such a statement. We have to be careful, however, because some cultures and faiths require an apology prior to forgiving. If pride is blocking the forgiveness process, it might help if the person requiring the apology contemplates this question: “Are you hurting yourself by insisting on the apology? Might you be preventing yourself from reducing resentment and being set free from emotional disruption as you wait for a prior response from the other?”
I can sympathize with my sister who hurt me, but I have a hard time empathizing with her (stepping inside her shoes, so to speak, and feeling what it is like being her). Can I ever feel compassion for her without empathy?
Not being able to empathize with your sister today does not mean you will never be able to do this. Empathy can open the door to compassion. Sympathy, or feeling sorry for her, also may be such a door to the eventual development of compassion. Yet, as you are seeing, empathy is the deeper, more challenging perspective. Here are some questions that might help you with empathy toward your sister: Was your sister hurt by others some time in the past? How deeply was she hurt? Is she still carrying those wounds? Can you see your sister’s struggles in life? Your answers may induce a greater empathy for her as you see her wounds from her perspective.
In my experience, the longer a person harbors deep anger, then the longer pain and even a sense of hopelessness seem to rule their lives. As a person practices compassion in the face of others’ pain, the greater the likelihood that you are setting yourself and even your family free from pain (that started within you). So, I think it is really important to conquer that pain through forgiveness not only for yourself but also for loved ones. What do you think about this?
I agree with you and have nothing more to add to your wisdom. All that you say makes sense to me.
I see a lot of anger being expressed in social media. What can you suggest as a way to start reducing this?
If more students have forgiveness education when they are young, then this will give them a chance to more deeply see the inherent (built-in) worth of others. As we see that all people are special, unique, and irreplaceable, I truly think that deliberately hurtful verbal attacks on others will lessen.
I have a friend who uses sarcasm a lot. He ends up hurting people and then says, “Oh, come on! I was only kidding.” I suspect hidden and deep anger in him. What do you think?
If this is a pattern and if he sees that others are hurt (which you imply that he does), then, yes, I suspect the same: hidden (from him) and deep anger. He may need to courageously explore who has hurt him in the past and try to practice forgiving, if he chooses. It might lessen or even eliminate his hurtful sarcasm.