My mother robbed me of trust when I was a child by her continual neglect. I never have experienced a mother’s affection and this is affecting my adult relationships. I do not trust others very readily. How can I establish affectionate relationships now when I did not learn this as a child?

First, I am very sorry that you have had such a difficult childhood.  Your thought about affection now being a challenge for you is very insightful.  A key is to start, when you are ready, to forgive your mother.  Let a sense of compassion for your mother come to you, even if this develops slowly.  Try to see how emotionally wounded your mother was to have not given you affection.

As you see her woundedness, try to be aware of even a small amount of compassion building in your heart for her.  This compassion, emerging out of forgiving your mother, can be the building-block for compassion toward other adults now in your life.  That compassion will help you to build stronger, more trusting relationships.  If you think about it, you now have the opportunity to be a deeply compassionate person because of your past pain.

How can a little anger be beneficial to someone?

When you have anger that is temperate and not excessive, you are showing yourself and the one who offended you that you are a person worthy of respect.  You are showing the other that you are aware that he or she was unfair to you and so you are giving him or her a chance to change.  Excessive anger can consume your energy and your happiness and destroy relationships. Anger within reasonable bounds and expressed reasonably is good and should not be suppressed as something bad.  I am presuming that such anger is short-lived when I use the word “reasonable.”

Israeli President says “A society without forgiveness is not a humane society.”

The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Israel – The Ofek detention center at Sharon Prison is Israel’s only detention facility for offenders under the age of 18. Now, thanks to the incorporation of forgiveness and repentence, the center is touting its successful rehabilitation strategy.

Treatment staff at Ofek uses creative treatment methods, that include animals, soccer games, scout activities, and a full day of studies that focus on both forgiveness and repentence. The goal of the methods is to help these adolescents rehabilitate themselves and to prepare them for life outside prison. And the methods seem to be working to a very great extenisrael-prisoners3t.

At a recent “celebratory seminar” held at the home of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, three boys from bad neighborhoods and poor families spoke of how someone suddenly taking interest in them, and noticing them and their needs, had made each of them rethink his options for the future.

They said they regard Ofek as more of a school than a detention center, and they are grateful to their teachers and social workers for their patience and faith in them, and for instilling them with hope and motivation. For those imprisoned with minimal schooling, Ofek staff helps them complete high israel-prisonersschool.

President Rivlin observed that while the concept of forgiveness is wonderful, it is not easy to ask for forgiveness, nor is it always easy to forgive. “And yet, a society without forgiveness is not a humane society,” he said. “It is a society in which we are doomed to be forever chained to the past, without the possibility of looking to the future.”

Youth justice policy in Israel is a problem-solving, individual-treatment, adopting welfare model. While in many Western countries juvenile justice has moved from a welfare approach to a punitive model, policies in Israel have modified and changed while retaining the traditional view that juvenile delinquents are to be treated and rehabilitated rather than punished.

On page 39 of your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you say, “Forgiveness is free, trust must be earned.” Doesn’t forgiveness come with a cost? It is hard work. How is it “free”?

Forgiveness is free in that the one who forgives may do so unconditionally whenever he or she is ready.  There is no need for the offending person to apologize or to make recompense of some kind before you allow yourself to forgive.  If you had to wait for the other to show remorse or to say certain words, then forgiveness is not freely given…….and then you are trapped in unforgiveness until others decide to do what you think they need to do to set you free.  Is this not another injustice against you?  You are bound in unforgiveness until the other lets you out of that cage of resentment.  So, you are right that forgiveness is hard work and that is the “cost” to which you refer, but forgiveness is “free” in that you may do so when you are ready.

Forgiveness Crucial to Middle East Peace

Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN News) New York City, N.Y. – Christianity is at a crossroads in the Middle East, and only a dedicated campaign of aid and activism can help Christians survive as a merciful, forgiving influence in the region, according to the head of the Knights of Columbus.

“Either Christianity will survive and offer a witness of forgiveness, charity and mercy, or it will disappear, impoverishing the region religiously, ethnically and culturally,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight and CEO of the Knights of Columbus, said Oct. 12.

Supreme Knight Dr. Carl A. Anderson, The Knights of Columbus –  Source: Peter Zelasko/CNA

Anderson’s remarks came at the awards banquet for the Path to Peace Award. The Knights of Columbus received the award in recognition of its work in the Middle East and its humanitarian work throughout the world.The Knights’ support campaign began in 2014, raising millions of dollars for Christians and other minorities suffering from war or persecution in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria.

Anderson said Christians have lived “heroically” in the Middle East for 2,000 years. “This is the history of Christians indigenous to the Middle East. They forgive, and by doing so they open the path to peace,” the Supreme Knight continued. “Today, they have given up everything but their faith, for their faith. But even having lost so much, they have given a great gift, to their fellow citizens and to the world. The gift they have given is the example of forgiveness and mercy – the fundamental building blocks of peace.”

Previous recipients of the Path to Peace Awardpath-to-peace2 include U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines, and former President Lech Walesa of Poland. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity, has about 1.9 million members worldwide. The Knights’ relief fund for Middle East Christians and other minorities is accepting donations through its webpage at

Do you think that much of the bullying in school stems from a past experience of being bullied? For example, a 5th grade boy bullies a 2nd grade boy because the former was bullied at that age?

I am not sure that the reason for bullying gets so precise that a person bullies another based on the year in which he first was bullied.  Yet, it is our hypothesis that many of those who bully have experienced such unfair treatment by someone (or more than one person) that they are very angry.  Their anger, from past hurts against them, now is displaced onto unsuspecting others in their lives.  A son who is treated cruelly by his father, for example, may bring his pent-up anger to school and start to exhibit bullying behavior.  He needs to forgive his father if his bullying is to stop.

Leaving a Legacy of Love in the World

Think about this: Long after you are gone, your love could be alive and well and living on this earth in the minds, hearts, and beings of others. You can begin to leave a legacy of love by how you live this very day. In all likelihood, you will meet others today. If your heart is filled with love rather than with bitterness, it will be much easier to pass that love to legacy-of-loveothers. Do you see why it is so important to forgive? You are given the joyous opportunity to shed bitterness and put love in its place for the one who hurt you and then more widely to many, many others, as you are freed to love more deeply and more widely. The meaning and purpose of your life are intimately tied to this decision to leave a legacy of love.

Enright, Robert (2015-09-28). 8 Keys to Forgiveness (8 Keys to Mental Health) (p. 225). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.