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Marva

Carmen,

I think forgiveness is tough... period! It's hard to forgive others when they hurt us, and it's hard to forgive ourselves when we're in the wrong. The thing I have found though, tough as it may be, is that forgiveness is freeing and it's certainly in God's will, so it's the right thing to do. I think about how God is able to forgive me all my sins, and it gives me the courage and strength to try to do the same. When I can forgive, I'm able to move forward and get rid of stuff that's just holding me back, otherwise I'm miserable and giving too much time and energy to negativity. Just my thoughts...

Brandy

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to give and even receive. Along with trust.

carmen

Absolutely. And can you trust someone if you can't forgive them? Do trust and forgiveness go hand in hand?

Pondering, pondering.

Anna

I can't post over there, easily.
My heart aches for you, for your struggles with this issue. I hope that there *is* forgiveness, someday.
I have so much more to say, but it's not making sense. The future is not the same as the past, but is influenced by it. See? It's not working.

Headless Mom

I know someone that has some ISSUES, serious issues, in all areas of life-and they ALL stem from not being able to forgive herself for something she did as a young adult/teenager. It is really ruining her life but she won't do anything to change it. I wish that she could move on; it is very hard to watch.

As Christians we are to receive the blood of Jesus as forgiveness for all sins, and in that forgiveness we are to become new in Christ every day. We are forgiven once, and for all sins. We are not required to forgive ourselves, but if we can't move on from one thing (after asking for or giving forgiveness) then we are not really believing that Jesus made the sacrifice for us.

Forgiveness is hard, but not having Jesus is harder. Having Jesus wipes the slate clean-it is a gift!

(I'm not sure I really answered any question here but this is what I think of when I think about forgiveness. Hope I don't start a firestorm here, so delete me if you need to.)

mary

i think forgiveness does not involve forgetting. it involves giving up the idea of having revenge on that person. my revenge if choice is the same as yours - not speaking to the person. knowing about forgiveness/revenge and actually stopping it are pretty hard for me - i am currently not speaking to one of my sisters. last year for lent, i sent a note, but i still could not (choose not to?) be friendly with her. i'm impressed that you gave it up after 15 years.

Varinia

Forgiveness is such a difficult thing in our lives right now. How do you forgive people that create lies serious enough to potentially cost you your family? Your children? How do you forgive the people who had the most influence standing by and just watching? How do you forgive that the first most precious months of your babies life were filled with the anxiety that they would be taken away?
It is easy to say those people are sick, and need emotional help. But the truth is that they are not so much mentally unstable as just mean spirited. And deluded in their notion that this was their "intervention" to force a convertion of faith.

Their lies and conspiring, their ability to do the unthinkable and suggest all sorts of horrible things without any conscience, without regard as to what they were doing to my children; without ever having any first hand knowledge of what happens in my home their gall at doing all these things and then hiding behind their faith as an excuse... It makes me unable to forgive them.

It does not matter that all the allegations were cleared... or that the few people that know what happened have completely cut them off in digust.... they left a permanent mark on my oldest, from having had to witness this... they took our ability to enjoy the first year of our new babies life...and filled it with fear and dread. They almost completely crushed my husband's spirit at having to defend himself. An imperfect man on many counts, but an amazing father at all times. Our children are our lives... everyone knows that.

So yes, forgiveness is a difficult subject in our lives. I cannot forgive. I cannot forgive them, I cannot forgive their parents for standing by and refusing to stand up for their grandchildren... I cannot forgive any of them and I refuse to be near them or allow my children near any of them, for fear that they may be manipulated or hurt again.
And I hope that God can forgive ME for being unable to forgive them.

I guess I rambled...sorry about that.

beth

http://www.forbetterlife.org/be_inspired/quotes.asp?search=process&search_quote=&search_author=&value=21&submit=Search

I love this website and what they are trying to accomplish... Here are their collection of quotes about forgiveness.
I don't have the energy to be that insightful this morning.... I'll just pass on the words of wiser people than myself!

Megan

I read this awesome awesome book called "Left To Tell" By Immaculee Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the Rwandan holocaust. Her message is all about forgiveness.

Even though I am a devout cradle Catholic, I never fully realized how truly freeing forgiveness is until I read her book. She forgave the killers of her entire family. She went right up to them and FORGAVE THEM. It blew me away. Her freedom and love are so inspiring.

I figured if she could forgive that horrific ordeal then any thing I endure is pittance in comparison.... (yet, she is sooo not preachy about it! I highly recommend that everyone read her amazing story)

Although, I still struggle, of course! It's so hard to just let any injustice go. But what we are really doing is crippling ourselves, and in a sense, bringing ourselves down to the level of the person who wronged us.

How wise your priest-friend was!

kalisa

Here's what I've learned in 41 years:

Forgiveness does not equal approval.
[Just b/c I forgive you does not mean I APPROVE of what you did.]

To not forgive only hurts you.
[Rarely is the person about whom you are carrying the grudge the least bit inconvenienced by it.]

ster

i don't even know what to say. i mean, i think that forgiveness is SO important because it truly only affects US when we don't forgive. we sit there, harboring so much anger and resentment, and it's not like the person you haven't forgiven is living with those feelings. only you are.
in the situation with my dad, i'm not angry anymore about what he's done. i feel truly indifferent and i just have nothing to say to him, so i don't speak to him. does that mean i haven't forgiven? i'm not sure. i'm not holding onto anger or bitterness or rage or anything like that- but how do you define true forgiveness? are you supposed to act as if nothing was done wrong and carry on like before the event occurred? i can't believe that to be true. so i'm trying to find balance for myself. because i believe that he did not and does not care about my feelings, that i have to be the one who does (dur)...... so i search for what is right for me. i don't want to hold on to anything negative, but i'm not sure i've let it all go yet either.

i am making no sense, but i do love to ramble.

amy

Every single time I have been so angry that I vowed not to speak to someone again, I have realized that the energy I put into being angry was absolutely not useful and in fact was hurtful to me. That being said, I do think it depends on what the person did to you or your loved ones. There are some lines that cannot be crossed. On the other hand, if you can forgive, it is best to do so. I am much happier when I let go. I also protect myself better from those sorts of people though so I can prevent the hurt from happening again.

Patricia

I'm not entirely sure we are asked to forgive evil or not to react to it. Even Christ raged against money changers in the temple. We know he lead a blameless and perfect life -- thus one can not conclude that this rage was a sin. That said, when you react to evil -- true evil are you lacking forgiveness, really?
Backing up, here's my basic story. I have an evil mother in law. Yup, she's evil -- no other way to put it. I'd love to joke that she's the butt of every mother in law joke, but frankly she's abusive emotionally to everyone around her. After the birth of our child, and a month of her abuse, we chose to not put up with any longer. We cut her off 4 plus years ago and rarely look back.
She's called begging us to forgive her, but without real change I'm hard pressed to allow her back in my life.
I don't see this as a failing to forgive, but more as protection from evil. Wrong? harsh? perhaps, but she hurt me, threatened my relationships, and hurt my husband. I feel angry still when I think about it-- but frankly, I mostly feel sorry for her. However, my pity doesn't open a door to be hurt again.

keira

this is a topic i struggle with daily. i have a brother who i haven't spoken to in over 6 years and i really don't want to again. i haven't forgiven him for the things he's done, and i don't know if i ever will. i KNOW that i should, that i need to... but i'm just not there yet.
forgiveness is so many things but never easy.

Jennifer

I write this to Carmen because I too am Catholic and this has helped me. In the Lord's Prayer we say "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". There. Nobody is perfect, we are all sinners and broken people. We have to start to see the other as Christ, warts and all, and pray that we can love them. We also have to remember that we will be judged by how we treated others. How can you expect the Lord to forgive your sin, when you haven't forgiven your neighbor's sin against you? I found a wonderful tape on forgiveness by Fr. Benedict Groeschal. It's worth listening to (EWTN library?). I also think going to Confession helps tremendously to take away the burden of the sin and receive the grace of the sacrament. If all else fails, here is a great quotation: "Happiness is a long life and a short memory". For your own sake, for your own happiness, let it go.

Jen

by not forgiving, we give the other person power. we do not forget, but we let go of the hatred and the ugliness. forgiving the man that raped me was one of the most difficult and freeing things i've ever done...

Catherine

I don't agree with Headless Mom--forgiving is not once and for all. It happens over and over, because people sin over and over. That's what Confession is for. That's what grace is for. I have had a bad relationship with my sister for ten years now. I have forgiven her many times for the same hurtful things that she does repeatedly, but I haven't necessarily forgotten all of them. I don't think forgetting has to mean having amnesia; forgetting means letting go of the pain caused you, letting go of that feeling that "I have the *right* to be angry," and giving it all over to God. You may remember the offense for a time after, or you may actually forget it--the important thing is that you have let go. (Nota Bene: an incredible book involving forgiveness is *The Hiding Place.* It is Corrie Ten Boom's account of her involvement with the Dutch underground and their attempt to help the Jews during WWII Nazi occupation. She was imprisoned in a concentration camp, but ultimately survived and forgave her tormentors. Awesome read.)

Chris

i just wanted to say that you should be proud of yourself. by forgiving him, you have taught your children a great lesson about compassion, forgiveness, humanity, compassion, etc.
i am not a christian, and i wanted to point out that agnostics and atheists also believe that these are incredibly important lessons to pass on to future generations.

Backpacking Dad

What might the difference be between forgiving and forgetting?

An easy, and incorrect, answer would be that forgiveness is just voluntary forgetting; that we make a choice to behave as though nothing happened and in time it becomes almost a truth for us.

I think forgiveness is instead a giving of yourself, and a giving up. When we forgive we don't forget what has happened, we confront it as often as possible and then choose to (1) behave as though we believe that whatever happened has no bearing on the future and (2) give up our need to correct, right, and battle with the person over it.

Sometimes people say that "statistics lie" or at other times "that statistics tell the truth". In fact, the only truth in statistics is what the samples themselves are; we can say "on average so-and-so is the case" but all we can really know for sure is that "within this sample these instances manifest these symptoms or behaviors".

To bring this back to forgiveness:

When we forgive someone we choose to be moved by their past only to the extent that that one instance warrants; we choose to not treat it as implying anything about their character, or future behavior. We do, however, recognize that it happened. But we choose to only give that the import that it deserves, rather than the import that we feel we have a right to give it.

Gina

We don't have to forget, we just have to remove the anger from our heart. Of course we have to protect ourselves and loved ones from harm. We, however, do not have to feel anger hate and resentment. Obstacles come into our life so we can learn a lesson. It is so difficult to find the lesson until we make the intention to forgive. When the hurt is gone, amazing things can happen. Anger is not power, anger is just pain and fear posing as power. I truly believe that to live a life devoted to God, we MUST forgive everything. It doesn't happen over night and it does take work, but it is something we have to do to live our best life, the life God intended for us.

Katie

Wisdom from my beloved Gram,
Forgiveness does not make the other person right, it only sets you free.

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  • Carmen Staicer is a whirlwind of energy and execution, who never sleeps and drinks way too much coffee. She works from home as Social Media Programs Manager for SheKnows, and is the mom to six kids, most of whom play instruments, sing or dance and all of whom are much smarter than she will ever be. In other words, her house is never ever quiet or still. A concentration of asthma, food allergies, spectrum disorders and learning disabilities means that she spends an awful lot of time second guessing herself and Dr. Googling, as well as learning to cook everything the family might like to eat. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, boxing (she has her Black Belt in Muay Thai), sleeping, exploring coffee shops, photography, ballet class and cooking. She excels in being a smart mouth and has her major in sarcasm, with a dual minor in BS studies and avoiding laundry.