Tagged: “forgiveness”

You talk about the “worldview” or one’s philosophy or theology in life.  Suppose I forgive but cannot reconcile with the one who hurt me.  Might this lack of reconciliation keep me bitter, keep me mistrustful, and actually not alter my worldview to a more positive state once I forgive?

Forgiving can help us to see the special, unique, and irreplaceable character of each person, not just toward the one you are forgiving.  When this happens, your trust can increase, not toward the one who hurt you and who remains unrepentant, but now toward more people in general.  As you forgive, you realize that all people are capable of love, even though some do not necessarily express it.  Some will choose not to love, in which case your trust remains low toward them, but you also begin to realize that other people, who have the capacity to love, do want to grow in this moral virtue.  It is in this realization by the forgiver that the worldview can become more positive as trust, toward some, is realistically enhanced.

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I don’t care for the Uncovering Phase of the forgiveness process.  I want to skip it and go right to the Decision Phase of forgiving.  What do you think?

If you have considerable anger or other negative effects from an injustice which you suffered, it may be best to take a look at these effects of what happened in the Uncovering Phase.  The Uncovering Phase does not ask you to go back and relive the trauma, but instead to see what effects are now present to you because of the injustice.  These can be signals for you that you: 1) might need to do very deep forgiveness that can take time, or 2) you are not deeply impacted and so the forgiving may be shorter in your case. Further, you can measure the outcome of your forgiving by examining, at the end of the forgiveness process, the degree to which the negative effects have improved or not.  This latter point can assist you in deciding whether or not to continue with the forgiveness process.

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If a person did not mean to hurt me by certain actions, does this mean there was no injustice and therefore there is nothing to forgive?

Sometimes even if a person did not intend to hurt you, the actions themselves can be insensitive and hurtful and therefore you can forgive.  As an example, suppose someone was texting while driving and runs into your car.  Although the person did not intend to cause an accident, that person still should have been paying more attention.  The intention to do wrong was not there, but the necessity to be paying close attention also was not there.  If the victim sees this as negligence, then the victim can go ahead with forgiving.  Wrongful actions without bad intentions still can warrant forgiving the one who engaged in those actions.

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I don’t get it.  Why does the forgiveness process involve the victim trying to see the woundedness in the one who acted wrongly?  So what if that person was treated badly by others.  How does that take away my inner torment?

The point of seeing the woundedness in the other, if those wounds exist, is to slowly start to engender some empathy and compassion in you for that person.  In other words, the point is to see a person who is more than the injustices against you.  Your seeing the other’s wounds can be a first step in your softening your heart toward that person.

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What do you see as the most common misconception about what forgiving is?

I think right now the mot common misconception is this:  When I forgive I try to “move on” from the hurtful situation.  As I move on, then the inner pain may lessen.  Yet, in my experience with others, no matter how far you try to run from the pain, it runs even faster than you.  So, if you try to run from the pain for two weeks, as you stop to rest, there is the pain right beside you asking the question, “What do you want to do now?  Shall we reflect even more on me, the pain, now?”  Forgiveness is not a moving on from the pain, but instead is a moral virtue of offering good toward the offending other person.  The paradox is this: As you engage in goodness toward that other person, it is you who is healed.

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