Tagged: “reconciliation”

I told my partner that I forgave him.  He did not accept it and told me he did nothing wrong.  This rejection has increased my pain.  I now have the pain from the original offense and now this.  How do you suggest I deal with this doubling of my pain?

Yes, his rejection of your gift of forgiveness is another pain for you.  If you think he is being unjust in this, you can deliberately forgive him for the original offense and then you can begin forgiving him for this second offense of denying any wrongdoing.  This double injustice does make the forgiveness journey harder, but it will be worth the effort if you are motivated to forgive both actions by your partner.

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What do I say to a partner who keeps pressuring me to forgive?  I am not a very virtuous person, he keeps telling me, if I will not forgive him.

A key question is this: Are you open to the possibility of forgiving in the future?  If so, then you can discuss with your partner that forgiving can take time.  You can clarify that your intention is to forgive, but you need a period of processing what happened, of dealing with your emotions (of sadness or anger, for example).  You should let him know that forgiveness is a choice which needs to emerge slowly for you in this case.  Even asking him for patience may reduce his pressure on you to forgive.

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I have a problem with my partner.  He does not see that he has hurt me, despite my best efforts.  I now am wondering if reconciliation is even possible.  What I mean is that he keeps hurting me and doesn’t even see it.

This is a difficult situation because you now have a lack of trust that he can change.  I recommend that you first forgive him and from that softened-heart position, approach him at an opportune time and have this kind of a conversation with him: First, you could let him know that you suspect that he is practicing the psychological defense of denial, in that he possibly is afraid to see the truth of his hurtful actions.  Second, if he begins to see that he indeed is using the defense of denial, you then can let him know the extent of your hurt, for example, on a 1-to-10 scale with 10 being an enormous amount of hurt.  Third, if he sees this hurt and sees it as caused by his actions, the next step is to work with him on a plan to deliberately change the behavior that is causing the hurt.  Please keep in mind that even if all three strategies work, it still will take some time for you to build up trust because this tends to develop slowly after a pattern of injustices that cause hurt.  Your continuing to forgive may increase your patience with the trust process.

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In Memoriam – Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu

Editor’s Note:  Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Anglican cleric who helped end apartheid in his native South Africa, died Sunday at the age of 90. Called the “Man of Forgiveness” by The New York Times, Archbishop Tutu worked closely for many years with Roy Lloyd, President of the International Forgiveness Institute’s Board of Directors. Here are Dr. Lloyd’s reflections on his years with the incomparable          Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a person of immense generosity, joy and courage and I was privileged to call him a friend. Desmond and I knew each other, over many years, through anti-apartheid work including sanctions against South Africa, divestment efforts and protests. I also was privileged to spend a considerable amount of time with him when he was in New York City at General Theological Seminary as a scholar in residence. Later on, when he was speaking and teaching at Emory University in Atlanta, he and I produced TV and radio spots enlisting aid for those suffering so horrifically in the Kosovo conflict. This was entirely in character. For him, caring meant acting, not just talking about it.

This was a man who stood on principle, calling out oppression of every kind, albeit with a generosity of spirit, decency and respect. Desmond believed that when people can come face-to-face with each other to speak the truth with sincerity, then it is possible to achieve closure and a more equitable outcome.

That was certainly at the heart of his leadership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa that brought together perpetrators of violence facing people who had been persecuted. An open atmosphere was created in which participants could confess what they had done or be candid about what they had endured. The desired result of mutual responsibility for moving forward in a more positive way was achieved by facing reality, while not denying justice. Those responsible for their actions received whatever penalty was necessary. Yet, that wasn’t the end of the story. Those who were sincere in their confession were forgiven and welcomed into a higher level of meaning in interracial relationships.

It was through a commitment to these kinds of meaningful endeavors that Desmond and I became involved in the initial days of the International Forgiveness Institute. Desmond declared, at our first national conference, the message that drove his lifelong ministry: “Without forgiveness there is no future.”

This is the central message of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI).

Forgiveness is an opportunity to accept that gift for ourselves, liberating us from whatever harm we have experienced and the freedom to offer it to others. Desmond knew well that this doesn’t necessarily lead to reconciliation or to the denial of justice. Those who commit harm deserve a just penalty. However, through forgiveness the equation is vastly changed. A never-ending problem of harm that challenges us can become an opportunity for growth, renewal and regeneration of life.

The Archbishop was someone who was effervescent in personality, continually joyous and always with a twinkle in his eye. This was a hero who was continually committed to walking the hard road to achieve the common good. I always found him to be looking forward rather than backward. As the saying goes, he always had his eye on the prize.


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu


I firmly believe that Desmond Tutu provided a template for how all of us can lead a meaningful existence—one that celebrates the bonds of our humanity and grants to each we meet our thoughtfulness, consideration and esteem.

We at the International Forgiveness Institute pay homage to this marvelous man and are honored by his years of commitment to forgiveness and as an honorary IFI board member.

Roy Lloyd
President, Board of Directors
International Forgiveness Institute
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Endnotes:

_____________________________________________________________
About Roy Lloyd:

In addition to being the long-term President of the IFI Board of Directors, Roy Lloyd
is an IFI founding director and contributing writer. He is a retired communications executive with
graduate degrees in education, communications and theology. Before retiring to Springfield, MO, Dr. Lloyd was a regular commentator on all-news radio station 1010 WINS in New York City and he appeared with Desmond Tutu on Good Morning America, CNN, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Live with Regis and Kelly, and other programs. His
high-profile career activities included his service as media officer for the Jesse Jackson trip to Belgrade in 1999 that gained the release of three American soldiers held by the Milošević regime. He has also served as executive producer of numerous network television programs and as producer and host of Public Television’s “Perspectives” series. He can be contacted at: roytlloyd@gmail.com


 

 

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Do I always have to reach out to the one who hurt me? What if this person was tremendously mean to me such that I am re-traumatized when I meet this person? Would it be better then not to interact with this person?

You need not reach out directly to the one who hurt you if you are re-traumatized by meeting this person. You can reach out indirectly by donating some money to a charity in the person’s name or by saying a kind word about the person to others. When you forgive, you need not reconcile with the other if in doing so you are harmed.

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