Author Topic: Forgiveness?  (Read 1553 times)

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Offline Beautiful_Dreamer

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Forgiveness?
« on: Sun Sep 03, 2006 - 19:18:17 »
Does forgiveness necessarily mean you have to forget about what happened to you? And what it what happened is something that has shaped the way you see things?

For instance, I have an ex who was abusive in many ways. Mostly emotional/psychological, but partly sexual too. It took me a long time after we broke up to fully realize that what he did was abusive, because I thought someone would have to hit you to be abusive. I was really naive. While I really hold no ill will toward my ex, some things make me think about what he did to me and the things that went wrong in our relationship and the way I should have ended things much earlier.  When I think of these things, sometimes I get angry or fearful all over again. I don't know if this means I haven't really forgiven him or not.

I tried to get back into contact with him to see if he had changed and to try to forgive him a few years ago, but I learned that he had not really changed all that much in the way I had hoped and that he was not someone I wanted to be in contact with. I just regret a lot of things about our relationship and that I wasted so much time with him, but the thing about abusive people is that they have you thinking you deserve it or that you somehow brought it on.

So, does thinking about what had been done to you or getting angry about it (not at the person, but about what happened in general) mean you have not really forgiven? And do you have to let this person back into your life again, or have to forget about what happened? And what if you cannot forget it, does God then not forgive us? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and would appreciate a few answers. Sorry if I am not making a whole lot of sense.

Shannon

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Forgiveness?
« on: Sun Sep 03, 2006 - 19:18:17 »

k-pappy

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #1 on: Sun Sep 03, 2006 - 20:22:35 »
I have been dealing with this myself, it's a long story, but what it boiled down to for me was forgiving the individual first and then praying about the residual anger.  When you are wrong is such a big way, such as an abusive spouse, you can forgive them, but the anger does not go away at once.  That does not mean you have not really forgiven him or her though.  I think the best thing to do is continue to pray about the entire situation until you feel at peace.  Eventually that will occur, I promise.

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So, does thinking about what had been done to you or getting angry about it (not at the person, but about what happened in general) mean you have not really forgiven?


No, like I said, the forgiveness does not mean the emotions go away...that takes extra time and prayer.

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And do you have to let this person back into your life again, or have to forget about what happened?


Absolutely not.  I was harassed and my life threatened.  I had to change all my contact information, eventually getting a lawyer and filing complaints with the authorities.  I forgave the man, but I will never have contact with him again.

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And what if you cannot forget it, does God then not forgive us?

God's patience is infinite, he does not give up on you, and so long as you confess your sins to Him, He will forgive you.  I would encourage you to bring the entire matter up with Him, and continue to pray on it until you feel at peace.  I will be praying for you as well.  If you want to talk more in depth, PM me and I will give you my e-mail address.

KP

Offline msbradley

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #2 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 00:16:34 »
I, too, was in a very verbally/psychologically abusive marriage.
About 5 years after we divorced, I started praying for him and his wife.
About maybe 6 or 7 years ago, my oldest son (not of that marriage) told me I was just hurting myself by not being able to get over the past. That my ex had gotten on with his life, but I was allowing myself to still be controlled by this man's abusive behavior toward me. I still continued to pray. When my minister would have a sermon about divorce, I felt so ashamed. I was the one who made the decision to marry this man. I had said no to better, but something must have been wrong with me to have said yes to this one. I say I have forgiven him. I still don't trust him or like him, and I do wish he was no longer on this earth (just being truthful here). But I am a much better person,now. First, because I am a Christian and I wasn't back then. But also because I know I was not to blame for our bad marriage or divorce. He is still a miserable man. He thinks he is better because he has now been married for over 15 years, and I never remarried, but I know it's because she is of his likeness (not nice, either). I have God on my side and He provides me the strength I need to get through the things this man tries to get me down about and I know I will always come out victorious when I let God be my protector and healer.

Offline Beautiful_Dreamer

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #3 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 11:00:26 »
Thanks. I mostly have decent feelings toward him, or none at all. I hope positive things for him, like I hope he has grown up and is happy. But sometimes I still think about what he did.

A friend of mine once said that to forgive you *have* to think about it, because you can't exactly forgive something that you do not recognize happened.

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #3 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 11:00:26 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

kalen

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #4 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 14:53:53 »
Forgiving someone is not for the other person, it's for yourself.

I've known people who harmed me terribly -- some who even did the harm under the pretence or belief they were doing the right thing.  I was angry for a time, but I had to work THROUGH the anger to a place of forgiving the other person -- not for them, but so the anger wouldn't eat me up inside.

And JAIA is right, forgiveness and forgetting aren't the same thing.  God gave us the ability to remember and learn from pain.  If I touch a hot skillet and burn myself, I'll remember not to do it again -- I hold no ill will toward the skillet, but I will remember that it has the power to hurt me, should I approach it under the wrong circumstances (when it's been on a hot burner).

That may be oversimplification, but I believe our relationships with others work in the same way.  Guarding our hearts (the wellspring of life) has a great deal to do with boundary issues:  we let the good people into our lives and refuse access to those who have shown they can and will harm us.  Not allowing certain people into my heart is a wise and God-given action having nothing to do with not forgiving someone, but with protecting myself from getting burned.

As for remembering things and feeling uncomfortable emotions (anger, sadness, etc.), that may have a great deal more to do with forgiving yourself.  I know when I remember the way others have mistreated me, I often find anger resurfacing, but if I truly think about it, what I'm feeling is anger at myself for allowing others to walk all over me (for not having sturdy boundaries).

Finally, I often pray a prayer that helps me with forgiveness issues: "Lord, bless [insert name] and change me."  This is difficult to pray at first, especially if you're still in the anger phase, but I've found if I stick with it, I'm able to let go of what I cannot change (the past, other's faults, etc.) and open myself up to God's grace -- which is really the best thing I can do, no matter the circumstances.
« Last Edit: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 18:32:26 by kalen »

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #4 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 14:53:53 »



Offline seekr

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #5 on: Mon Sep 04, 2006 - 17:45:05 »
I think with everything, some anger is healthy. It takes God in us to forgive. I just hand my willingness to Him and aske Him to work it out in me. An anology though that I have used before is that it is like someone who ran you over on purpose and asked you to forgive them and you say "yes", but that doesn't make the bruises go away nor will it stop the bleeding. Healing from pain sometimes just takes awhile.

seekr

twd

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #6 on: Tue Sep 05, 2006 - 10:28:23 »
JAIA and Kalen pretty much covered what I would have said.

Offline yogi bear

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #7 on: Tue Sep 05, 2006 - 18:16:17 »
I too agree with all three of you

HRoberson

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #8 on: Tue Sep 05, 2006 - 22:41:15 »
Umm...God doesn't "forget."

He forgives, and treats us like He loves us, but He doesn't forget.

Nor does He entrust the universe to us.

HR

Offline Beautiful_Dreamer

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #9 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 18:24:26 »
Okay, I have another, sort of related question. Suppose you did something that would really hurt someone, but they don't know about it. Such as an affair or stealing money or something. When you repent, do you have to repent to that person or is repenting to God enough? What if it is not possible to repent to that person (i.e. they have died or you do not know how to get into contact with them), or to tell them would cause them unnecessary hurt and would make things worse? I hope that makes sense. If not, ask me to clarify and I will try to.

Offline spurly

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #10 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 18:27:19 »
I don't hold grudges.  I don't have long memories.  I forget offenses real easily.  I realize others don't have that gift, but it is really precious to me.  It keeps me away from bitterness and allows me to minister more effectively to those who might have something against me.

Offline mandalee65

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #11 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 18:45:59 »
I learned very recently something amazing about forgiveness. When you truly forgive, it is the most freeling thing in the world. I had been wronged very deeply by someone. For a year, I stewed and sputtered - all the while praying God would give me the strength to let it go. Finally, I knew I'd come to a point where I could forgive. I wrote a letter to this person, and it seemed that with every word bitterness and anger melted away. I did give the letter to her, and she was appreciative of it. But had I not given it to her, the release of emotions would have been the same. It was so freeing!

But that doesn't mean that I don't still hurt over what happened. It doesn't mean that there are times when it crosses my mind. The difference is that now it doesn't dredge up a sea of anger and bitterness like it once did.

Offline janine

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #12 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 20:29:58 »
Beautiful_Dreamer asked
Quote
... Suppose you did something that would really hurt someone, but they don't know about it... When you repent, do you have to repent to that person or is repenting to God enough?

What if it is not possible to repent to that person (i.e. they have died or you do not know how to get into contact with them), or to tell them would cause them unnecessary hurt and would make things worse?...

Is the sinful thing I did over and done?

Have I taken steps to make sure it's over and done?

Have I shifted into a proper "Christian Lovingkindness" mode toward the one I wronged?  Meaning, have I determined as best I can how to heal or cleanse the problem I caused to my victim?

If I've kept these things in mind, then why do I need to go to the one I hurt and re-hurt them?  Just so I can get my conscience salved?

If they don't know I stole money from them (for example), and the situation would be non-hurtful to them if I 'fessed up now, maybe that's best.  If the situation would somehow hurt them to find it all out now, maybe there's a way I could get the money back to them without re-opening the whole incident.

Suppose I had a torrid affair with some guy from work.  (Ye gods and little fishes, that's unimaginable... but it's a "fer-instance", OK?)

Suppose I grew convicted about it, ended the affair,  sorrowed to God about it... Now five years later I've worked it all through and dealt with it and finally feel some peace about it.

Why would I want to stir up everyone else's peace just to make me feel like I'd covered all may bases?  Better to have naked bases for the rest of my life than to slash everyone else's heart wide open just so I can feel better.

IMO you have to look at the situation, at the needs, of the one you hurt.  Sometimes it might be the best thing for all the sordid details of your gossip or your imbezzlement or your affair to be flayed open and discussed on Oprah.  Just as often, I bet, it's best to do what you can to heal the situation without dragging the victim back into reliving being your victim all over again.

Many folks here are probably black-and-whiters who would say you ain't got your forgiveness from God until you splay your repentant self across the feet of your victim to beg their forgiveness as well.  I  can understand that view.  I just don't always subscribe to it.

Well, maybe I'm a Rahab then.  Not everyone all around me at all times needs to know every detail of all the whole truth of everything I've ever done concerning them.

Offline janine

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #13 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 20:38:50 »
Oh, I should also add this:

If you do decide to BARE ALL, if you do decide to make sure and confess in Technicolor Detail to anyone you've ever wronged exactly what you did to them --

You will get at least a few "I forgive you" replies, that's nice --

And you will have the advantage of being Un-Blackmail-Able!  That's a plus.  No profit in spreading gossip about you if everyone already knows all about what you did!

But my concern as stated above still stands -- think of the hurtful can-of-worms.  Don't go hurting folks in the name of getting your own forgiveness, IMO.

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Re: Forgiveness?
« Reply #14 on: Wed Sep 06, 2006 - 22:03:19 »
Okay, I have another, sort of related question. Suppose you did something that would really hurt someone, but they don't know about it. Such as an affair or stealing money or something. When you repent, do you have to repent to that person or is repenting to God enough? What if it is not possible to repent to that person (i.e. they have died or you do not know how to get into contact with them), or to tell them would cause them unnecessary hurt and would make things worse? I hope that makes sense. If not, ask me to clarify and I will try to.

First, one does not repent "to" anyone. One repents.
Second, one may confess "to" someone, but there is no absolute requirement to so do in Scripture.
Third, if it doesn't bother you not to confess, and if there has been no real harm done, then don't.

HR