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Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Jolanta, May 3, 2007.

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  1. Jolanta

    Jolanta Member & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    "Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!" This thread is about God. Consider yourself forewarned.

    Last week my Church had a lesson in forgiveness. The Bible teaches, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15 (King James Version)

    When I was a teenager, I had a stepfather. Without going into all the gory details, let me just say that the minute I turned 18 I ran away from home and joined the Army. I hated (I know that is a very strong word.) him for a really long time. That hate took its toll on my mental health. Could be the reason I'm bipolar. I don't know. I have come to terms with it and accepted my teenage years as a fact of life I cannot change. I have since learned more about my stepfather's childhood and he had it worse than I did. I don't think that excuses the way he treated me.
    The catch is I didn't know whether I could forgive him. He had hurt me so badly in so many ways. Today I went to a new psychologist for the first time and she gave me the following advice.
    Forgiving does not mean having to love the person. Forgiveness means accepting that the person is a child of God, whom God loves. It means accepting that there may be reasons we don't understand that lead to their behavior. It implies Never believing that it was my fault.:eek:hmy:

    I had never thought about it that way before. It took such a load off of me that it bears further consideration. Any thoughts on the subject? I'd like to hear others' opinions.
  2. Nelka

    Nelka Member

    This is a very good perspective on forgiveness and I find it very comforting. The act of forgiveness doesn't mean that what happened in the past was acceptable. I believe this is a reasoning that prevents a lot of people from moving on.

    There is a book by Wally Lamb entitled "I know This Much Is True." It's a very good story, involving a stepfather and similar issues involving forgiveness.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  3. sadsong

    sadsong Staff Alumni

    I've read that book by Wally Lamb and it's brilliant.

    That's a great way to look at forgiveness and I hope it's made it easier for you to deal with your stepfather.
  4. Jolanta

    Jolanta Member & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    Thank you Nelka and sadsong. I will look for the book "I Know This Much is True" and see if it helps me. Knowing that I don't have to love my stepfather any more than I love any one else is removing some of the guilty feelings from my heart. I don't deserve to feel guilty; i didn't do anything wrong.
  5. Jolanta

    Jolanta Member & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    I forgot to say, my stepfather is now deceased. I couldn't bring myself to cry.
  6. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    had a really similar situation Jol and I did forgive..now all I need to do is forget.
  7. ybt

    ybt Guest

    IDEALLY, we could all forgive, and marshall forwards towards a goal without people deterring you

    but realistically, sometimes it's best not to forgive

    (it's not just religion, it's philosophy!)
  8. Jolanta

    Jolanta Member & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    :hug: Forgiving was a great thing for you to do but I don't believe there is any way to ever forget these things. I wish there was. I would be happy to forget.
  9. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I believe that forgiveness is as much, if not more so, for the forgiver as for the forgiven. IT's about letting go of injustices and freeing yourself of desires for revenge and punishment. Some injustices are never punished in this life. Life isn't fair, it just "is". Forgiving doesn't necessarily mean forgetting either. It doesn't mean you should open yourself up to more hurt and injustice from the oppressor or others who would oppress or wrong you.

    There is an International Forgiveness INstitute based in MInnesota (it may be in Wisconsin) that explores Forgiveness in detail, and not just from a religious perspective. One example is a mother whose daughter was murdered. THe killer was caught and sentenced to life in prison. THe mother could do nothing but mourn for her lost child and seek vengance on the killer. SHe developed numerous health problems: back pain, headaches, and so forth. She somehow came to the decision to visit her daughter's killer in prison. SHe forgave him and told him so, and realized that her hating him was only destroying HER life and would never bring her daughter back. AFter forgiving him and accepting what had happened, her health improved and she found the strength to go on with her life.

    I read this quotation somewhere a long time ago. "Forgiveness is the fragrance of a violet on the heel of the one who crushed it." Food for thought.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2007
  10. Jolanta

    Jolanta Member & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    Thank you, least, for that insight. :hug: Not forgiving my stepfather was SO bad for my mental health. I could not bring myself to trust any man. I could not see my own self worth. Now I leave justice in the hands of God. It's not my problem. God has promised to take care of it for me and I thankfully let him. I haven't forgotten my stepfather's actions but its a fact, like the sky is blue. The most important thing is that I am free to go on with my life.
    Some months ago (I forget exactly when) in an Amish community, a man went into a school and shot some little girls. Some of them died and some of them were wounded. Naturally there was much grief in that community. After a short period of mourning, the people there did something totally unexpected by the rest of the world. They went and forgave the man who did the shooting. I speculate that they realized that hating him could not bring their children back to them. I speculate that they realized that hating this man could only impede their progress to heaven. Still, I stand in awe of these people who could forgive the murderer of their beautiful children. I would that I could be that strong.
    My Church teaches that Jesus has said, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." It is God who supplies the justice.
  11. Panther

    Panther Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, this is a very interesting subject to discuss, for me because I was a Christian and went to church for 15 years and you have pointed out the relevant bible verse. From a Christian point of view I guess forgiveness is more important 'because Jesus forgave you'. I have read books about forgiveness.

    Now I am no longer a Christian, forgiveness is no longer that important. It's good when you can forgive, but if there is little chance of a reconciliation with someone who has hurt you, then I am not likely to forgive but over the process of time not worry so much about it.

    However, if someone has been really badly hurt like you have, that is a different issue altogether. I'm not really qualified to make any comments about forgiving someone who has abused you or murdered a relative.

    I'm not saying you are in this category, but I do think sometimes that people SAY they have forgiven someone when they really haven't - ie. they still talk about that person negatively and tell you to stay away from them.

    I hope this thread has more posts, because I would like to make some further comments.

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