When we forgive, we do not forget. We tend to remember in new ways. If you decide to forgive, and when you look back, the memories may not be good in that you see goodness from all involved. You likely still will see unfairness and call it that. The big difference after you forgive is this: When you remember, you will do so with less pain and with more understanding. You still may experience some sadness because of what might have been, but the deep pain of resentment should diminish.
Learn more at Learning to Forgive Others.
I have reconciled with my partner and I think I have forgiven him. Yet, at times, I think about his original unfaithfulness and it makes me angry all over again. Am I only fooling myself in thinking that I truly have forgiven?
The late Lewis Smedes wrote that forgiveness is an imperfect process for imperfect people. Feeling anger again does not necessarily mean that you have not forgiven. People can forgive and still have anger that rises and falls depending on the situation. If you are in control of the anger and are willing to forgive now on a deeper level, then you have forgiven.
Learn more at Forgiveness for Couples.
How can you create a forgiving community for oppressed people? Don’t you first have to validate the injustices by solving them? Forgiveness without such validity seems weak.
One can validate oppression by acknowledging it and calling it what it is: unfair. One can own one’s legitimate anger over the oppression. Yet, if one waits to actually solve the injustice before forgiving, then those who are oppressing win twice: once with original and ongoing oppression and second by having the oppressed people living under a constant state of unhealthy anger or resentment. That resentment, over time, might be so strong as to destroy individuals and families within that oppressed community. Forgiveness without a correction of the injustice at the very least solves that one problem of destructive resentment.
Learn more at Healing Hearts, Building Peace.
If a person chooses to forgive, then it not only is realistic but possibly healthy for the forgiver. Forgiveness need not be perfect in that one person forgives, the other repents and changes, and now there is harmony. One goal of forgiving is to hold out the hope of reconciliation, but this does not necessarily occur for forgiveness to be morally good and psychologically worthwhile. One can forgive, for example, to rid oneself of resentment even when reconciliation is not possible.
Learn more at Forgiving is not. . .
I have noticed that some of my friends just are angrier than others. They do not seem to show this anger only when recently treated unfairly by others. They are just angry people. Why do you think this would be?
Without knowing the person’s history, it is not possible to know for certain why one of your friends is consistently showing anger. I suspect two issues. First, the display of anger in the home, when your friend was growing up, might have been high. In other words, angry behavior was demonstrated in the home and implicitly approved as a norm. In other words, the friend learned anger by observing it being modeled in the home. Second, the friend may have been hurt by the anger displays in the home and so there is resentment from the past that is affecting the person now, in the present. If this second scenario is correct, then the friend might benefit from forgiving one of the parents who might have displaced the anger onto your friend while growing up.
Learn more at Family Forgiveness Guidelines.