Forgiveness : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Paramahansa Yogananda said:

"Today I forgive all those who have ever offended me. I give my love to all thirsty hearts, both to those who love me and those who do not love me."

This is a topic with which I have had great difficulty. While I believe forgiveness is the key to freedom, that holding resentment toward anyone inextricably binds me to them in a negative energy, I have still found it difficult to execute.

I have people in my life who have done horrible things(details excluded). I have been able to have a relationship with them, but I still feel anger, and have found it nearly impossible to let go completely.

Do you have folks in your life you will never forgive? Have you struggled with forgiveness even when you were willing to let go? Can you tell us a story of a situation in which you thought forgiveness would never come and it did? How? This is a topic close to my heart. My wife has recently experienced a situation in which she is sure she will never forgive some people. I was told about 5 years ago by a spiritual advisor to pray for the health and happiness of those for whom I held negative feelings. I have found this extremely difficult-but when I have been able to do it, a strange thing happened-the anger did subside, and in some cases disappeared. Any thoughts?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 02, 2000


I have the opposite problem. I can forgive and forget about people who do me wrong but I can't seem to forgive myself for doing wrong to others. It really bothers me how I have wrong people in my past and have no way of getting in touch with them to rectify it.

It's easy to forgive because I believe that "every dog has his day", karma, whatever you want to call it. But in the end, people will find balance somewhere. I don't want to be around to see the other guy get his just desserts, just knowing it will happen in some form allows me to forgive the wrong doing.

Just some thoughts.

-- Maria (, August 02, 2000.

Note: Forgiveness is always most difficult for Scorpios. It is almost out of character. Indeed, a challenge.

I believe final judgment should be left to God. Also, that forgiveness can be balm to the soul of the victim, especially when forgiveness is long overdue.

However, regardless of the wisdom of sages, saints and gurus, I prefer to remember that too much forgiveness only reinforces bad behavior. Consequences count.

-- Oxy (, August 02, 2000.

Ever heard the old joke; My wife ran off with my best friend and I sure do miss him? Well, I can attest to the fact that it's not *only* a joke as I was blind-sidedly slam-dunked with that very thing about 6 years ago. Can you imagine how that would feel? I felt angry, hurt, bitter, betrayed, and a dozen other negative emotions which I thought I'd never get past.

Some time after I learned of this, I was chosen as the company's "guinea pig" to attend and evaluate a 12 week "Dale Carnegie" course which, if productive, would then be offered/required for all members of the management team. Without a doubt, it changed my life in a number of positive ways. One of the topics the course focused on was controling stress and worry. Somewhere within that subject was advice on how to deal with letting go of negative emotions. Included was a required reading of the book written by DC; "How to stop worrying and start living". An excellent book which helped me tremendously.

Long story a little less long; Prior to taking that course I was bitterly holding on to a ton of emotional baggage and was causing myself a lot of uneccesary stress/pain. After taking that course I was able to let go of all that self-defeating crap and move on with my life. Do I forgive my ex-wife and my ex-friend? I doubt that "forgive" would be the correct word. Do I hold a resentment or allow the thought of them to in any way cause me pain? Nope! Not anymore.

Amazing... Was a time that I couldn't talk to anyone about this extremely "sore subject". If somebody brought it up I would feel my blood begin to boil and immediately change the subject. Now, not only have I no problem discussing it, but am actually posting this on the internet.

Note: No, this is not a paid advertisement for the Dale Carnegie course (grin). Yes, attendance of the DC course is now required for all levels of management at the company I worked for. Curious if any others from this forum have attended the course?

Carpe Diem!

-- CD (, August 02, 2000.

This is a big one. So many thoughts pouring in. I'll portion my thoughts out in bits and pieces as I have time.

The most important part about the process of forgiveness, IMO is not going to another individual and offering an olive branch. Forgiveness takes place internally first and foremost. Heart opens, recognition that the offender is a child of God seeps in, realization that Maya (Cosmic Delusion) has absconded with my consciousness with regards to this person/incident, knowledge that karma will mete out justice after the fact.

Oxy, forgiveness spoken aloud to another does not necessitate acceptance of bad behavior. One can say "I forgive you" and in the next breathe "but I will kill you if you EVER attempt such an act again". These two are not mutually exclusive. Far from it. Discrimination and forgiveness work well together.

I pray for people who trangress against me, who I perceive as having screwed me, hurt myself and those close to me. I have to because I love them as God's children. How can I allow Maya to defeat me? Any enemy whom I identify will be vanquished. Maya is the enemy which wears many cloaks. Forgiveness is a major weapon in my arsenal.

Maria, forgiveness of self is about love of self and acknowledgment that each of us is fallable. Effort, sincerity, endurance. We can't undo what has been done, but we can serve others that we might heal ourselves through right action.

Then there is the issue of detachment. No time now. Somebody pick up this ball and run with it, please.

-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 2000.


There are a number of ways we can make amends to those who we can no longer contact, whatever the reason. The one I have used most successfully is to write a letter expressing regret. In this process, it is helpful to analyze the reason why I behaved the way I did, and then work at removing that behavior from my life. Making amends while at the same time being unwilling to change the behavior that led to me doing harm is worthless-If the behavior is not removed from my life, then my "amend" goes into the category of so many worthless apologies I have had in the past.

As for the letter, if it is written to someone who is living, you can burn it in the sink after writing it, or dispose of it in some other way. You would be surprised at the sense of relief which comes from this.

If the person is dead and you have access to the grave, the letter can be left at the grave(unless you think someone else will read it) or again disposed of in the manner of your choice.

I too had the hardest time with self-forgiveness, until I realized how short life was, and how much that was holding me back from becoming who I wanted to be. Today when I behave badly, I analyze why, decide what would have been the best way to handle the situation, and then vow to behave the better way next time.

We all have our faults-we have all done things we wish we had never done-we ARE human-we act accordingly and that is that. If you have a desire to improve your behavior, then the world will be yours.


Great story. Thanks for letting us in.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 02, 2000.

The opposite of love is not hate. It's indifference.

Let me suggest that forgiving does not mean forgetting. If someone has buried a dagger in your back, you may forgive the action without forgetting it.

Should a wife who has been beaten forgive her husband? If she forgives him, does this mean she should return to the abusive relationship? A battered woman can "forgive" her abuser and still protect herself, phsyically and emotionally.

It is easier to forgive when one realizes resentment simply ties one to the past. Forgiveness does not mean you have to approve of the wrong, or the wrongdoer, or even forget. It simply means you will not your future be influenced by the wounds of the past. Bitterness, hate and fear are mooring lines best cast off.

If you want to talk about having a true enemy, that is a conversation for a different day.

-- Ken Decker (, August 02, 2000.

Well said, Ken. You make it sound so easy. =)

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 02, 2000.

Forgiveness in an abusive relationship is a complicated matter. Mostly, the act of forgiveness is bound up in the essence of the abuse itself. I would never hope that a woman would forgive her abuser within such a relationship or even recently removed from it. Should she so choose, further down the line and forever separated from that abuser, then so be it.

To understand forgiveness and abuse, consider this: The act of forgiveness is an integral part of the domestic abuse cycle. It is an active part of perpetuating the abuse. I am sure, if you look at the essence of forgiving, there are correlations to other types of injury and enablement, but I would like to address this problem just within the context of domestic violence.

When a man continually abuses a woman, the cycle is complex and predictable. Both become caught up within a series of tension- building and tension-relieving events that perpetuate the state.

Tension gradually builds in the abuser. The victim positions herself within the equation to appease him. Ultimately, there is nothing she can do to avoid displeasure. She is beaten. There is a release of tension. It is vital to this cycle that the man then feel remorse and ask for forgiveness. He promises he will never do it again. The forgiveness is a key enablement. The woman learns to forgive as a process in this cycle. There is another rush of physical hormones. Then things level out and the tension slowly starts to build again.

Two people even become physically dependent on this cycle of adrenalin and other physical and hormonal changes brought about by this sequence of behaviors and emotional states, including the forgiveness process. It is an incredibly addicting and often lethal formula.

Part of breaking the cycle of domestic violence requires dealing with the physical addiction to this abuse cycle, from absence of tension to build-up of tension to explosion and battering to forgiveness to reconciliation to absence of tension, to build-up of tension... etc.

One of the worst things a woman can do in the middle of this is to seek solace in religion and try to apply tenets of forgiveness and love. Rarely does she have a clue as to what is really going on. Professional intervention is often required.

Discrimination is a complex skill. No justice, no peace.

-- Oxy (, August 02, 2000.

**One of the worst things a woman can do in the middle of this is to seek solace in religion**

Careful there. It's one thing to despise religion, but quite another to try and convince others of the same. Are you so certain of yourself that you would risk the souls of many others, as well as your own?

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 02, 2000.


I do not despise religion. Far from it. I have just seen the damage done by trusting in part of a faith that is antithetical to one's self-preservation. I am talking about forgiviness and its role in abuse.

Been there. Done that.

-- Oxy (, August 02, 2000.


Oxy stated in the same paragraph: Professional intervention is often required.

Perhaps she feels it is more important to get to the root of the abuse in order to stop it as quickly as possible. Seeking solace in religion may not provide the necessary solutions in and of itself.

-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 2000.

Thank you, Bingo

-- Oxy (, August 02, 2000.

Thanks FS, I'm really hard on myself when I make mistakes.

Ken one should never forget about past events. We learn from them, possibly change our behavior because of them, put them into some data bank and recall them when needed. We should however, forget about the anger and the need for revenge. The anger only destroys the one possessing it, not the wrong-doer. When we do get the revenge it nevers seems as sweet as we thought it would be (I'm speaking from personal experiences).

Oxy, you're right consequences do count. When we purchased a house one time, the seller first told us that his loan was assumable. We rented first, started expanding (sinking $15,000 into it) and then the owner tells us that his loan really wasn't assumable. After the appropriate amount of time fuming, I decided on a course of action. Take him to court. Long story short, we won the case. The owner was a jerk and I didn't set out to get him, he did it to himself. The turning point in the court case was when his lawyer presented a note that said the loan wasn't assumable, dated prior to our doing the house improvements. The judge saw he was under an obligation to tell us right away. "Every dog has his day"

Another example: my son's teacher had "it in for" him. Yeah I didn't believe my son either. Afterall teachers aren't supposed to be like that. Well, after much observation, I concluded my son was speaking truths. I simply noted every time the teacher did something stupid or wrong and reported it. Patience. Eventually the teacher did himself in. After I reported that he flipped a student off (that's right he used his middle finger), the administration accepted his resignation. I didn't set out to get him, he successfully got himself. So, consequences do count and eventually the wrong-doer will see those consequences.

-- Maria (, August 02, 2000.

Lessons of the Forsythia, Chapter One:

To share Growth - the beauty of the flower buds reaching towards the sun, bursting forth radiantly;

To share Pain - the drying of the petals, the wind whisking them, fluttering down to the soil below;

The Realization - all will cycle around and around until at last each lesson is learned.

We are not alone...We are on our way home.

-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 2000.

That was beautiful, Bingo.

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 02, 2000.

>> I have been able to have a relationship with them, but I still feel anger, and have found it nearly impossible to let go completely. <<

FS, as others have already said, there is a real difference between the act of forgiveness and the act of letting go of your anger.

For me, anger is connected first to actively defending oneself from harm. In that guise it is wholly impersonal and wholly pure of heart. But, anger is also connected to righteousness. When it becomes personal and it is a mixed good. Righteous anger absolutely must be tempered by forgiveness.

Forgiveness is, for me, the act of penetrating the veil and finding in others your own weakness, blindness, faults and failings. As soon as I see that the act of the other is only a mirror of my own wretched shortcomings, then forgiveness comes suddenly like a ripe fruit falling from a branch.

The anger you feel over the horrible things done to you is perfectly natural. But it is probably long past the time when it could do you any good. To find out whether your anger is useful in the present is the key as I see it.

I'd try to figure out what triggers your anger. Does it only happen when you are sitting quietly and recollecting your past? Does it happen when you are with the person who did the horrible things and you can see they haven't really changed? Does it just seem to erupt randomly or with very little provocation (say, you hear a song lyric on the radio and it sets you raging about the past)?

In the first case (quiet recollection) I wouldn't see that as something to let go of. Your past happened. It is yours. Being angry when you recall certain things is only right. There is no point in hoping for a better yesterday.

In the second case (the person hasn't changed) then there are two nuanced possibilities. If the act that showed you they haven't changed also showed you that your relationship with them hasn't changed, I'd say you need to work on changing that relationship. But, if the act that showed you they haven't changed was directed elsewhere and purely incidental to your relationship, then I'd say keep working on forgiving them for their shortcomings.

In the third case (random eruption) I'd say that you have dangerously repressed your anger at them and you need to find a safe, soundproof room and just scream and kick like an enraged child until you exhaust your anger. There is only so much of it in there. Just keep going until it falls to the earth inert, like a spent bullet. Then walk away from it.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, August 02, 2000.

***great work exposing this hypocrite, Hmm. What a riot! Eat your words, baby doll.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 31, 2000.*** this the sort of forgiveness you are talking about?

I'm beginning to think you are a huge phony

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 02, 2000.

I'm beginning to think you are a huge phony.

Perhaps you should re-read what he wrote:

This is a topic with which I have had great difficulty. While I believe forgiveness is the key to freedom, that holding resentment toward anyone inextricably binds me to them in a negative energy, I have still found it difficult to execute.

In what way is he a phony?

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), August 02, 2000.

For myself, I have found that beneath the anger exists a profound sadness that only time will help heal.

-- LunaC (, August 02, 2000.

cin, thank you for your kind words.

As to FS, he's no phony. What you see is what you get. Lots of beauty in that man. A good portion of darkness as well. Perfection doesn't shine through unbridled in any of us. It is in there, just filtered through desires and karma. You've seen some of my warts, cin. No claims on perfection here.

This thread is about forgiveness. Let's take advantage of the door opened by our friend FutureShock. Why don't we each make strong efforts to forgive trangressions today? No better time than the present.


-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 2000.


Sorry you feel the way you do. I am not sure I understand why you feel that way. You apparently went through some effort to find that quote, which seems out of context here. I beleive in that thread I was referring to the poster who was recently banned from SLEZ. Yes, I was caught up in the moment-and hey, maybe I do owe that poster an apology-I will take that under advisement.

I just think it is sad that you would take this to a personal level and try to degrade my character, and question my integrity. In all my comments to you on the Food thread, I did not once say anything denigrating-I simply questioned feeling glee over an incident in which food served in public was compromised. I apologize if you took it personally. I am a passionate person, and the trust that is necessary to run this world, including the trust I have to have, without going completely paranoid, in the food supply is important to me.

Hmm and Bingo:

Thanks, people. Bingo, you seem to be "on" today. Special "plug-in"?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 02, 2000.


As usual profound. I will think deeply on your words.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 02, 2000.

Two very special plug-ins, FS. One, you quoted the first love of my life, Paramahansa Yogananda, in your initial post. JG

Two, the most precious of all loves, forever in me, inspires me, moves me to fill voids, heal hurts, stand tall, reach for the sun.

-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 2000.

Maria, "every dog has his day". Arf, arf. When I am trespassed against, I usually manage to forgive the trespasses. It is the other person's burden. Living well is the best revenge.

Where I personally have the most problem is in forgiving myself for flouting God's gifts to me (or in accepting that he forgives me for having been a buffoon)

-- Lars (, August 02, 2000.

Beautiful thread.

-- lisa (, August 02, 2000.


Good to see you again.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 02, 2000.

What had brought the usually thick-headed apostles to the point at which they recognized their great need of faith? It was one of the most simple, mundane situations of life. Jesus had just told them to forgive each other. He had said that if their brother sins against them seven times a day and returns asking for forgivemess seven times, they must forgive him.

In a similar account in Mt. 18, Peter had come to Jesus and asked a question something like this : "Lord, if my brother sins against me seven times and I forgive him seven times, then can I deck him?" Peter probably felt that his brother Andrew had reached his limit of allowable offenses. He was probably proud of himself for being willing to forgive his brother seven times. But the Lord looked at Peter and said, "Seventy times seven."

Jesus was telling His disciples to forgive and forgive and forgive again, 490 times a day if necessary. And their response was, "This is going to take some faith. Lord, increase our faith."

"Increase" is prostitheme (greek lit.) Tithemi means "to place." Pros means "face to face" or "before." Prostithemi was a banking term which meant to make a deposit. They were saying, "Lord, we don't have enough to handle this; we need you to deposit more faith to our account." Why? Because He was requiring of them a most practical thing: forgiveness.

Faith is practical. It relates to every issue of life, and one of the greatest areas of need in our lives is in personal relationships. We have to deal every day with people who make us mad, who exhaust our patience, who take us to our limit. The Lord's solution is not for us to change other people's behavior, but for us to learn grace. If we want to learn to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us (Eph 4:32), we will need faith.

praying we will all learn to forgive.

-- (, August 02, 2000.

FS, I'm not sure of the profundity of my remarks. Just trying to say something helpful.

Emotions (including anger) are strange items of mental baggage. In an infant, emotions appear to leave no more trace than a wave on the sand. The next wave erases whatever mark the previous wave left.

As we grow and make mental models of the world, emotions can be tremendous teachers, forcing us to correct our dangerous or harmful social behaviors, in the same way that pain forces us to correct our dangerous or harmful physical behaviors.

But when the social relationship is broken and can't be fixed (like an abusive parent-child relationship) the instructive power of emotions goes awry. The emotions keep exerting their force on us, but because their natural outlet is blocked, all that results is that our minds become scarred or warped in strange unaccountble ways.

There should be a Repetitive Emotion Syndrome that doctors recognize as analogous to Repetitive Motion Syndrome.

Since emotions are a normal and useful part of our lives, as well as a sometomes warping and limiting influence, I think it becomes important to learn some diagnostic skills to apply to them when they get out of hand. I want to figure out what the healthy meaning of the emotions I have might be, and to segregate out their harmful effects. I am trying to relearn new habits as an adult to replace the less adaptive ones I learned as a kid, back when I had more limited options.

At least, that's how I look at it.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, August 02, 2000.

bygrace...thank you for that =o)

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 02, 2000.

cin - Thank God! so much to be thankful for.

-- (, August 02, 2000.

A new day dawns!

"Sun is shining and the weather is sweet!" - Bob Marley

We cannot control the weather in any environment with the lone exception being the internal; our inner weather patterns do come under our control. Let us begin the day with hearts afire. Let us seek to perform right actions, to use self-discipline in our communications with others. Shall we smile from our hearts or frown and snarl from our places of pain?

I say embrace the love we feel, nurture it, allow it to bubble up and overflow into our everyday dealings. Not feeling love this morning? Then take a moment to reflect on something, someone, which by the mere thought of generates a smile. Work to expand that sliver of loving feeling. Perceive it as a golden sphere if this makes it easier to manipulate.

Bring those closest to you into this visualization. Spread your love to them, envelope them, wrap them in your golden sphere of loving energy. Continue to expand this feeling, connect with friends, neighbors, pets, enemies, trees, mountains...until your smile becomes an ear-to-ear grin with eyes sparkling behind their lids.

Revel in the peace this meditation has brought to you. All it takes is a few minutes to create a place of calm and love from which to operate throughout the day. As feathers become ruffled during the coarseness of the work day, take a minute to go back to this meditation. Pick up the golden sphere and expand it as needed to rejuvenate yourself. Always, always make sure to place yourself within the circle of love.

Where there is unconditional love, anger cannot exist.


-- Bingo1 (, August 03, 2000.

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