My boyfriend and I have had a rocky time of it lately. I asked his forgiveness and all I got back was a lot of anger. How do I handle his anger and how can I get him to understand that I want his forgiveness?

First, you are showing courage by asking for forgiveness.  So, please realize this.  Second, your boyfriend is near the beginning of the forgiving process (anger is part of the beginning) while you are very far along on the seeking-forgiveness path.  Please see this discrepancy between where you are on your path and where he is on his path.  There is nothing wrong with both of you being at different places on your respective paths.

I would urge you to be patient with him and see that he is just at the beginning of forgiving.  It will help if you express understanding to him. Let him know that his forgiving is his choice.

When you see that his heart is soft toward you, gently—gently—bring up again the idea of his forgiving, with the addition that you know it is his choice and that you are willing to wait for him to get used to the idea of forgiveness.

With time and perseverance, he is likely to join you in the process of seeking and granting forgiveness.

Parents Forgive Hit-and-Run Driver for Killing Their Girls

examiner.com, Denver, CO – Susan Dieter and her husband Tom Robinson are suffering from a heartbreak that is difficult to comprehend. The couple lost both their 6-year-old daughter, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, and her 11-year-old stepsister, Abigail Robinson, to a hit and run driver on October 20, 2013.

Less than two weeks later, the couple told a television reporter that they forgave the teenage girl who ran over their two young daughters.

Authorities said the girls were playing in a pile of leaves near theSisters5 street outside their home in Forest Grove, OR, when an     18-year-old female driver “intentionally” drove through the large pile and “felt a bump” but failed to stop.

<a href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/cdg.examiner2.long-island-ny/nws/pos3/article;tt=top%20news;plc=long%20island;tablet=o;chn=news;subc=top%20news;sect=top%20news;nid=67173496;top=news;top=top%20news;top=top%20news;top=hit%20and%20run;top=accident;top=forgiveness;top=tragedy;top=oregon;ed=long-island-ny;uid=6286272;etid=449932;pgtp=article;tile=3;pos=3;dc_ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examiner.com%2Farticle%2Fforgiveness-over-tragedy-parents-forgive-hit-and-run-driver-for-killing-girls;sz=300×250;kw=;ord=778203116?” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/cdg.examiner2.long-island-ny/nws/pos3/article;tt=top%20news;plc=long%20island;tablet=o;chn=news;subc=top%20news;sect=top%20news;nid=67173496;top=news;top=top%20news;top=top%20news;top=hit%20and%20run;top=accident;top=forgiveness;top=tragedy;top=oregon;ed=long-island-ny;uid=6286272;etid=449932;pgtp=article;tile=3;pos=3;dc_ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examiner.com%2Farticle%2Fforgiveness-over-tragedy-parents-forgive-hit-and-run-driver-for-killing-girls;sz=300×250;kw=;ord=778203116?” width=”300″ height=”250″ alt=”” /></a> DDDDespite the horrific accident, the parents of the two young girls say they have already made their peace with the teen who killed their girls.

“I can’t change what happened to my girls,” said Susan Dieter. “I’ve said many times I just want to wake up, reverse the clocks, but I can’t change it.”

Family friend and Pastor Eric Schmitt of the Sunrise Church said the couple’s reaction may be unusual, but that their forgiveness is an example to all of us.

“By their actions, by their behavior, and by their character, that’s who we’re all supposed to be,” Schmitt said.

Read the full story: “Forgiveness over tragedy: Parents forgive hit and run driver for killing girls.”

My father is always working. He sees nothing wrong with this, but I am resentful because he is putting all of his energy into work and little into our family. When I told him that I forgive him for his absence, he said that I am wrong, that there is nothing he has to apologize for. Is there anything you would suggest I do to move him toward seeking forgiveness and changing his behavior?

You might want to first ask him how his own father behaved in this regard—the balance of family and work.  If his own father overworked, which I suspect was the case because your own father sees it as normal, then please ask your father how he felt as a child when this happened. The similarities between his own feelings as the child and your feelings as your father’s child might become apparent to him.  He then might be ready to seek forgiveness.  Even if his own father balanced well family and work, first forgive your father and then have a heart-to-heart talk with him (after you forgive him) about what you see as unfairness here. I would use the word “unfair,” not in an accusatory sense, but in a sense that this is the truth and you would like him to see this truth.

What If My Trust Is Damaged?

When we have been treated with distain, our trust is likely damaged. What is sad is this: We not only lose trust in the one who was cruel but also we tend to lose trust in people in general. To make matters worse, we tell ourselves a new story about how the world works and that story reinforces our fear of others as we tell ourselves and believe, “No one is worthy of my trust.” Then we find that those we should trust the most, a spouse, for example, are the ones we now mistrust the most, even when they are not the grave offender who damaged our trust in the first place.

How do we work our way out of this? We recommend Broken Trustthree approaches. First, forgive the one who hurt you. This will lessen your anger, which you might be displacing onto others, possibly straining other relationships and thus damaging your trust further.

Second, forgive the person for damaging your trust. This is a secondary wound that we rarely realize we have. It should further reduce your anger.

Third, choose one person who is reliable and focus on the little things in that relationship that legitimately allow you to trust that person. Take time to abide in that person’s reliability and kindness. Then combine your forgiveness, your reducing anger, and your growing trust in that one, kind person and be aware of small steps of trust as they grow in you. It will take time, but it is time well spent. In time, you may see that your general trust in people returns.

As a final note, if the one who originally damaged your trust remains a danger to you, then you need not reconcile with him or her. That reconciliation may come in time as the person behaves in such a way as to earn back your trust.

Robert

Why do you think so many people get mad at the idea of forgiveness? When I mention forgiveness to some people they seem to tighten up and want nothing to do with it.

In my experience, there are two basic reasons why people bristle at the word “forgiveness.”  First, some are actually confusing the term forgiveness with other terms such as excusing, caving in, being a wimp, and automatic reconciliation without protecting oneself.  In other words, they actually are not upset with forgiveness but with a misunderstanding of it.  Second, some people are so resentful of others that they want to push forgiveness under the rug and not discuss it.  As long as they do not try to prevent others from forgiving, then this is their choice, which may not be their final word on the matter.  In other words, some day they may change and want to try forgiving.

Mother of Amish Schoolhouse Shooter: “We are Called to Forgive”

The Huffington Post – Religion, Lancaster, PA – The mother of the gunman who killed five girls at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania says she learned from the Amish how to forgive her son after the 2006 massacre.

Just over seven years ago, Charles Carl Roberts IV barricaded himself inside an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, PA, tied up 10 girls and opened fire, killing five and injuring five others before committing suicide as police closed in.

The Power of ForgivenessThe Amish responded by offering immediate forgiveness to the killer — even attending his funeral — and embracing his family.

Roberts’ mother, Terri Roberts, could have gone into hiding to nurse her pain, like many parents of mass murderers have in the past. Instead, she broke with convention. She forgave, too, and now she is sharing her experience with others, saying the world needs more stories about the power of forgiveness and the importance of seeking joy through adversity.

“I realized if I didn’t forgive him, I would have the same hole in my heart that he had. And a root of bitterness never brings peace to anyone,” Roberts said. “We are called to forgive.”

Roberts has delivered that message to scores of audiences, from church groups to colleges, and is writing a memoir. At the same time, she stays close to her Amish neighbors.

Once a week, Terri Roberts spends time with a 13-year-old Amish girl named Rosanna who sits in a wheelchair and eats through a tube. Roberts bathes her, sings to her, reads stories. She can only guess what’s going on inside Rosanna King’s mind because the girl can’t talk. Roberts’ son did this to her. She is one of the five schoolhouse shooting survivors.

Terri Roberts’ weekly visits with Rosanna force her to confront the Amish school teacher 2damage her son caused. But Roberts says she also finds peace as she spends time with Rosanna and provides some relief to the teen’s family, if only for a few hours.

While the Amish were celebrated for how they responded to the massacre, they also acknowledge that forgiveness doesn’t always come easily or automatically. Rosanna ‘s father, Christ King, said the Amish are like anyone else, with the same frailties and emotions.

“We hope that we have forgiven, but there actually are times that we struggle with that, and I have to ask myself, ‘Have I really forgiven?'” King said. “We have a lot of work to do to live up to what we are bragged up to be.”

Yet Terri Roberts says she learned from the Amish that “none of us needs to live in the saddest part of our lives 24/7.”

Read the full story: “Terri Roberts, Mother Of Amish Shooting Perpetrator Cares For Her Son’s Victims.”

I am a very reserved person, kind of shy actually. I need to ask someone to forgive me, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Do you have any suggestions for me so that I can get this done?

You already are showing courage in wanting to ask for forgiveness.  So, please be aware of that.  You do not have to ask face-to-face.  Have you thought about starting with a mailed letter or email?  In this way, you have the opportunity to write out what you did, why you think it was unfair, and your awareness of its effects on the person.  You can then write out the apology and ask for forgiveness.

I have forgiven a friend for rude, inappropriate behavior a couple of times and he keeps at the rudeness. I am beginning to wonder if he sees my forgiveness as weakness. Should I hold back on forgiving the next time so that he gets a different message—that I really mean it when I want him to stop the rude, mean ways?

I think the issue here is reconciliation rather than forgiveness.  You can forgive from the heart and then, with your anger diminished, ask for fairness from the other person.  As you stand firm in the request for justice, you are giving the kind of message that I think is your intention, that the behavior is inappropriate.  So, consider forgiving as soon as you sense anger arising in you from the injustice.  Then have reconciliation in mind by pointing out the behavior that you would like to see him change so that you can again come together in mutual trust.

Why Our Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program Matters

“Bullying will not be tolerated in this school.”

“You are entering a no bullying zone.”

Consciousness raising is good precisely because it challenges each of us to be our best self, to do good for others.

Yet, sometimes some students are so emotionally wounded that their anger overwhelms the attempt at consciousness raising.  The students are so very wounded that they cannot listen well.  Some are so wounded that they refuse to listen.  Even others are so mortally wounded that they find a certain pleasure in inflicting pain on others.  It is when it gets to that point—others’ pain equals pleasure for the one inflicting it—that we have a stubborn problem on our hands.  No signs, no consciousness raising, no rally in the gym, no pressure to be good is going to work…..because the gravely wounded student is now beyond listening.

Yet, we have found a hidden way to reverse the trend in those who are so hurting that they derive pain from hurting others.  It is this:  Ask the hurting students, those labeled so often as bullies, to tell their story of pain, their story of how others have abused them.  Tell Your StoryYou will see this as the rule rather than the exception: Those who inflict pain over and over have stories of abuse toward them that would make you weep.  In fact, we have seen the weeping come from the one who has bullied others, the one who has inflicted serious pain onto others.  He wept because, as he put it, “No one ever asked me for my story before.”  His story was one of cruel child abuse from an alcoholic father who bruised him until he bled.  And no one ever asked him about this.  And so he struck out at others.  Once he told his story, he began to forgive his father and his pain lessened and thus his need to inflict pain on others slowly melted away.

We all have a storyThis is what our Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program does.  It aids counselors and teachers in bringing out the stories in the pain-inflictors so that their own pain dramatically decreases.  As this happens, through forgiveness, bullying behavior is rendered powerless……because in examining their own hurt they finally realize how much hurt they have inflicted…..and with their own emotional pain gone, they have no desire to live life like this any more.

Come, take our anti-bullying curriculum and save the life of at least one child and help prevent inflicted pain on countless others.

Robert

Rape Victim Meets Attacker to Forgive Him

BBC News UK, London – A rape victim who met her attacker in prison in order to tell him she has forgiven him called the visit a “great” experience to seek “peace and forgiveness together.”

ForgivenessLondon resident Katja Rosenberg, 40, was cycling home after work when she was attacked by a 16-year-old stranger. He was eventually captured and jailed for 14 years after admitting to that attack and another rape of a 51-year-old woman shortly afterwards.

Rosenberg said she felt she could forgive soon after the 2006 rape, believing things must have gone wrong in her attacker’s life. “You wouldn’t ever do that if you felt happy,” she told BBC Radio 5 live.

Rosenberg said she had always felt in the years since that she should meet her attacker. She finally visited him in prison last September–a meeting arranged through a restorative justice program.  Rosenberg said she was partly motivated by a wish to assure her attacker that “life’s not hopeless, that he knows he’s got a future”, she said.

“I just felt I could give that. I also thought the exchange would be good for me to somehow get some kind of closure – I mean, I didn’t really need a ‘Sorry’, but it was somehow just good to see that you walk into the same direction of peace and forgiveness together.”

Read the full story: “Rape victim meets attacker to forgive him.”