I am having a very hard time forgiving my husband and now I am beginning to wonder if I am struggling with this because too often my husband’s behavior reminds me of my father’s imperfections toward me. Do you think this is possible, that I am blocked from forgiving my husband because of my past history with my father?
I think this is a very insightful point. It definitely can be the case that people have difficulty forgiving a partner because of similarities between the partner and the forgiver’s parent. I suggest that you first forgive your father for what you are calling his “imperfections” toward you. Once you have walked the pathway of forgiveness with your father, your forgiving your husband then may be deep and therefore more effective. The fact that you see this connection between father and husband is important and I think this will help you.
You say forgiveness is a paradox in that gift-giving aids the one who gives the gift. Yet, is there no correction of the other’s misbehavior?
To correct the other’s misbehavior is to engage in the moral virtue of justice. Forgiveness and justice should exist side-by-side. If you are being abused by someone, you can forgive if you choose to do so and you can and should seek fairness so that the other stops the unjust behavior.
From your reading, what is the printed origin of person-to-person forgiveness?
It seems to me that the first account of one person forgiving others is in Hebrew scripture, Genesis 37-45, in which Joseph forgives his 10 half-brothers for attempted murder and then selling him into slavery.
You used the term “full humanity” in answering my earlier question. What do you mean by that term?
So often, when people are unjustly treated by another person, they tend to focus only on those unjust actions, viewing the other only in terms of those behaviors. Upon entering the forgiveness process, the people tend to expand their story of the other, seeing this person now more broadly, seeing that there is much more to this other person than only those unjust actions against them.
Even if my view of the one who walked out on me is too narrow, as you say, it is the truth. Why play games with a fantasy of who she might become?
Seeing her as more than the behaviors of walking out on you is not fantasy. I think it is a higher reality than seeing her only in terms of current behavior. As I said earlier to you, would you want all of your family members to define you exclusively by the times when you had a really bad day, with insensitivity to some family members? Do you think this misbehavior is the exclusive truth about who you are as a person?