You have a remarkable and important insight: Your father’s inappropriate behavior when you were 14 has affected each of your important relationships ever since. I recommend working on forgiving your father first because it is central to the rest of your life’s story. Please consider the material in Chapter 12 of??The Forgiving Life??book, which centers on forgiving one’s parents.
Now, once you have walked that path of forgiving your father, you have a very important question to ask yourself: How has my own behavior toward others been affected by my father’s inappropriateness? You may be tossing your own angers and disappointments onto others who had nothing to do with the abuse you suffered. If this is the case, I recommend two approaches. First, work on forgiving yourself through the exercises in Chapter 10 of??The Forgiving Life. Then approach those whom you have hurt and seek their forgiveness. These issues are discussed in Chapter 14 of the book. That chapter walks you through the somewhat complex path of forgiving, seeking forgiveness, and reconciling.
We always post questions without identifying who asked it. Privacy for the question-asker is a high priority for us at the IFI.
One powerful motivator to forgive is this: Try to assess the amount of pain that your own resentment is causing you. Are you more tired than you need to be? Clinging to resentment might be playing a part here in your fatigue level. Have you been distracted lately? Preoccupation with another’s injustice may be playing a part here. Have you become a more cynical person? Is the glass half-empty for you rather than half-full? Your resentments may be playing a part in your seeing the glass as continually half-empty. Forgiveness can reverse the fatigue, the preoccupations, and the cynicism. Let your awareness of your inner unrest motivate you to begin the forgiveness process.
First, I am sorry for the pain that you have. We have to very clearly distinguish between your reconciling with and forgiving your husband. There are important differences. The most immediate issue is reconciliation, which is when two or more people come together again in mutual trust. The basic question is this: Can you trust your husband now and if so, what is the evidence? Trust usually is won after a series of steps to rebuild that trust.
The second issue is forgiveness. You and the children can begin today to forgive your husband/their father. When you forgive, you are working on reducing and even eliminating your resentment toward him and offering mercy, which may or may not include a welcoming back to the marriage.
We have??resources in our Store for children and early adolescents who wish to learn to forgive. My book,??The Forgiving Life, may be helpful in your forgiveness journey. I recommend that you forgive your husband for each injustice that particularly has wounded you.
Forgiveness is a journey that can take time, so please be gentle with yourself and please allow the children time to be angry and to grieve because for some time now their family has not been intact.
Manila Bulletin, Beirut, Lebanon -??Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that mankind should reject vengeance and instead pardon the offenses of others, as he urged the Middle East’s Christians and Muslims to forge a harmonious society through forgiveness.
Those who desire to live in peace must have a change of heart, and that involves “rejecting revenge, acknowledging one???s faults, accepting apologies without demanding them and, not least, forgiveness,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI, on a three-day visit to Lebanon, met with and spoke to??the country’s political and religious leaders as well as the diplomatic corps. His address focused on the universal yearning of humanity for peace and how that can only come about through community, comprised of individual persons, whose aspirations and rights to a fulfilling life must be respected.
Lebanon is a multi-faith country in which Muslims make up about 65 percent of the population and Christians the balance. The pope came to bring a message of peace and reconciliation to it and to the wider Middle East, which have been torn by violence, often sectarian, over the years.
“Only forgiveness, given and received, can lay lasting foundations for reconciliation and universal peace,” he added in an address on the second day of his three-day visit to Lebanon.
Read the full story:??Pope: Reject Vengeance, Forgive Offenses.
The Kansas City Star??-??11-month old Autumn Humphrey, while being held by her grandfather, was struck by the out-of-control car of an 88-year-old driver and she was killed.??As the Rev. Tiger Pennington prepared to conduct her funeral, he heard something that restored his strength ??? and moved him to tears.
Autumn Nicole Humphrey???s parents asked to meet with the 88-year-old man who was driving the car.
Then they forgave him, Pennington told reporters Saturday outside the First Baptist Church of North Kansas City, and they asked him to sit with the family during the service.
Read more about this extraordinary act of forgiveness:??Forgiveness flows at girl’s funeral after church accident.
Have you ever forgiven someone who punctuated your gift with, “OK…..What for?”
It can be unsettling and more than a little annoying. So, if the other person does not want your forgiveness, for whatever reason, is it better to withhold it rather than give it?
Perhaps the answer lies in how one gives forgiveness rather than in the questioning of whether or not to offer it. After all, forgiveness is a virtue, a gift of goodness to another who has been unfair. Even if he perceives that the actions were justified, and therefore forgiveness is unnecessary, your forgiving is a gift.
You can offer forgiveness without telling the other, but instead by showing it. The other is not likely to reject kindness, but even if she did, kindness is always good.
Unwanted-forgiveness? Sometimes people do not know what is good for them, so we give it in ways that are more acceptable to them. Forgiveness as an act of virtue is always good.
I just came up with this idea of “future-forgiveness” this week, after almost three decades of thinking daily about forgiveness. I think it is an important idea.
By “future-forgiveness” I mean an attitude you cultivate in moving into the future. As you forgive people for past injustices, forgiveness comes to be a part of you. You begin to see that you can love those who are cruel to you, and if you can do that, then you can love those who are interacting pretty well with you. Then you come to realize that this is how you can live your life—loving others as a way of life—no matter what life throws at you.
“Future-forgiveness”—committing to going into your future with love for others no matter how they treat you—is a joyous way to live.
As you meet people today, please look at each one and say to yourself, “This particular person is probably wounded in some way. He (she) is not showing the wounds, but is trying to get through the day with these wounds…and they probably hurt.”
And then add this: “A person is a person, no matter how wounded.”
And one more thing, please be sure to say this silently about yourself.
Enjoy seeing the personhood in all.
WMBB.Com, Panama City, FL.??The Gant family today mourned the loss of Everett, a husband and father of one child, who passed away on Monday from a gunshot wound. In July, Everett approached the home of a man who allegedly used racial slurs. Everett’s intention was to help–specifically to talk with the man in the hope of ending his statements which hurt many in the community. The man allegedly shot Everett, who lost his battle for life on September 17.
Everett’s uncle, Cas Gant, told a News 13 reporter that as the family mourns, it also forgives. “We forgive as a family. That’s just who we are. We’ve had this discussion many times, but in the midst of that discussion, we forgive.”
On July 30th, Everett Gant approached the apartment of 59 year old Walton Butler in the Pine Ridge Complex of Port St. Joe, FL,??to discuss racial slurs Butler allegedly made to children in the community.
It would be Gant’s final act of bravery. He was shot at the apartment and died from that gunshot wound on Monday.
In the months since the shooting, many have asked why Everett Gant confronted Butler. According to Cas Gant, Everett’s uncle, it’s just who his nephew was.
“That’s who he was. To know that he was going to help, that he spent his whole life doing that…we wouldn’t expect anything else,” said Gant.
Read more about the family’s act of forgiveness:??Remembering Everett: Gant Family Honors Life, Discusses Forgiveness.