Newest Member: applepie123

Thoughts On Forgiveness

submitted by Erica with Dr. Shirley Glass, Ph.D.

Here is the simplest definition of forgiveness that we received from our Christian Therapist.

Forgiveness means turning away from our own justice and letting God deliver His justice.

If you no longer want to seek revenge on your spouse or pay them back or even the score, then I would say that you have forgiven them.

It doesn't mean that you have forgotten or that you are healed or that you are not in tremendous pain or that you are no longer angry.

Forgiveness doesn't need to be asked for, in order to grant it. It is a gift we give ourselves.


What Forgiveness Is

Old resentments and failed expectations often interfere with the enjoyment of our lives -- try to identify the pain and move on.

Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. If you are a parent, you can provide a wonderful model for your children by forgiving. If they observe your reconciliation with friends or family members who have wronged you, perhaps they will learn not to harbor resentment over the ways in which you may have disappointed them. Even if you are not a parent, forgiveness is still an extremely valuable skill to have. In the movie Avalon, the uncle stopped talking to his family members for the rest of his life because they started Thanksgiving dinner without him after he was excessively late for the zillionth time. What a waste of energy it is to stay angry for decades.

Forgiveness can be a gift that we give to ourselves. Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:

  • Acknowledge your own inner pain.
  • Express your emotions in non-hurtful ways without yelling or attacking.
  • Protect yourself from further victimization.
  • Try to understand the point of view and motivations of the person to be forgiven; replace anger with compassion.
  • Forgive yourself for your role in a difficult relationship, then decide whether or not to remain in the relationship.
  • Perform the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing. If the person you want to forgive is dead or unreachable, you can still write down your feelings in letter form.

What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness is not simply forgetting.

Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn't happen. It did happen, and we need to retain the lesson learned without holding onto the pain.

Forgiveness is not excusing. We excuse a person who is not to blame. We forgive because a wrong was committed.

Forgiveness is not giving permission to continue hurtful behaviors; nor is it condoning the behavior in the past or in the future.

Forgiveness is not reconciliation. We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether to maintain our distance.

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