1. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles

    How do we know we've truely forgiven - what is forgiveness?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by erebh, May 21, 2015.

    Have you ever been wronged? I mean seriously been struck smack on the side of the head with a 10 ton wrecking ball?

    Did your best friend and business partner flee with your company accounts?
    Did your spouse cheat?
    Were you molested by an uncle - a family favourite?
    Or were you raped by someone you loved and trusted?
    Or had some other unimaginable thing happen to you by someone who has and will always have an inextricable and close connection to you?

    They say forgive but don't forget - how do you know you've forgiven that person if you are reminded every single day - even for years after? Even if you still love that person amid all the lingering pain?

    Is it only when that suffering completely leaves you that you know you have forgiven that person? How long must you go without thinking of the wrong - a year? 5? 10? Or is forgiveness something else? Is it just a word for "I'm over it - move on" even if you're kidding yourself? Can humans, wronged by someone closer than close ever truly forgive or is forgiveness something to strive for but only attained by a higher order?

    Can we forgive while never forgetting? Is it possible to forget?
     
  2. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Oooh, I love threads like this!

    To be honest, I don't think you ever really know whether you've forgiven someone. Sometimes, what they did had breeched the breaking point that deep down you believe they don't deserve any forgiveness from you. Even if you could forgive them, could you forget what they did? I think it depends on the individual person and the thing the perp did.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  3. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    It's been nearly two years since you broke my heart, Erebh, and I have NOT forgiven nor forgotten you.
     
  4. Ben414
    Offline

    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    974
    Likes Received:
    785
    Join the club. Seriously, we made a Facebook page.
     
  5. Stacy C
    Offline

    Stacy C Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
    Never. "Forgiveness is the scent of the flower left on the boot that crushed it."
     
  6. ladybird
    Offline

    ladybird Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    81
    I don't believe it is possible to forget. Certain memories are imprinted on the fibre of our being with indelible ink. I believe once trust is broken in a relationship of any kind you will never trust that person again. It's about loyalty and respect.
     
  7. Masked Mole
    Offline

    Masked Mole Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2015
    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    284
    Forgetting (in the phrase forgive and forget) does not mean literally being able to never think of the wrongdoing again. It means don't bring it up with the offender unnecessarily, and don't become bitter by dwelling on past transgressions. Sometimes it is impossible to literally forget something. Perhaps someone permanently injured you (physically or emotionally), and you have to deal with it forever. The main concept to remember is a forgiving spirit that covers over another's wrong.
    "Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" (Matthew 18:21-22)
     
    Mckk and ladybird like this.
  8. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Does forgiveness actually exist, or is it more like, the anger and resentment has finally worn off and you just can't afford to care anymore? Sort of like forgetting on an emotional level.
     
  9. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,911
    Likes Received:
    10,103
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I think there are too many factors in play to ever give just one answer. My answer would be different if the person who wronged me was a parent or child than it would be if the person were a spouse or lover.

    ETA: Also the degree of heinousness of the act would matter. The OP mentions some acts that are strewn rather far along an arc.
     
  10. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I think it's possible to forget but never forgive. It's sort of what you said: you'll never forgive the person, but you're not going to spend any more energy dwelling on what they did.
     
  11. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    Forgiving does not mean forgetting because if you forgot (in any sense of the word) what is there to forgive?
    Forgetting does not mean you forgive, unless you forgave before forgetting. Does the water stop running if you forgot to turn it off? You do not spend time or energy thinking about the water, but when you come back, you will find that it is still running.

    The only way to forgive is to be aware, accept it as a part of you, and learn to let it go. The wrong-doings that you have endured are a part of you now, so hating on things that cannot be changed only means hating on yourself. A good indication that you have truly accepted something is when you can talk about it whenever, even joke about it, without it bothering you in the slightest. If you are normally fine but become upset when someone tries to talk to you about the situation, then you have not forgiven.
     
  12. ladybird
    Offline

    ladybird Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    81
    You make a good point, Wreybies. I could forgive my children anything, but my spouse no. My husband is very Victorian in his outlook and if I strayed, even if it was even with someone of the same sex (yes, I was approached recently at a party (highly amused) because I was egged on by a couple of gay friends who wanted to watch!), he would never have spoken to me again and our marriage would have been over.

    ETA: What I'm trying to say, by way of an example, it really depends what you would like forgiveness for.

    Older children can also be very judgmental and not very forgiving.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  13. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    I'm sorry I always have to be the one to shoot the elephant in the room, but @erebh , for the last two years every once in a while you come back here and put up some cryptic post which to me seems highly suggestive about something in your domestic life and I'm not going to pretend I'm not very curious about what is going on.
     
  14. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    nobody mentioned hate, hate is not on the table, and acceptance should come pretty darn quick whatever the wrong. But becoming upset when having to talk or even think about it is maybe a measure of forgiveness - especially if talking to the actual perp about it. Or is it?

    Example - Twin A murders twin B over a girl - twin A serves his 10 years and gets out of prison to return to his parent's house - they take him in. But while everyday they are courteous and try to help him and try to look him in the eye, that elephant is always there. Over periods of time does the elephant get smaller? Is it possible for those parents to ever love him again the way they used to before the fight no matter how much remorse he showed? Even if they completely accepted that he was truly sorry could they ever hold him tight again?
     
  15. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,911
    Likes Received:
    10,103
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    They may. They may not. If they don't then they've lost two children, not one. If they do, then they have to find some way of reassembling a relationship that allows them to function together. I don't know what it is to walk a mile in the moccasins you propose, so I won't pretend to know how to do that or what form the new relationship would take, but I'm sure it happens.
     
  16. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    One could make the argument that the parents had already lost their children by this point. One of them was murdered and the other decided to go from a sweet, innocent guy to a taker of a life. It would be entirely up to them.
     
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,911
    Likes Received:
    10,103
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Agreed, but with forgiveness there is the chance of salvaging something from the loss. And, again, so many variables... Was this a crime of passion with no prior history, out of the blue? A horrible end to a fight that no one intended to end in murder? Was it that last act in a long play of many acts of forgiveness that were shat upon as meaningless and for granted? So many variables...
     
    Mckk and Link the Writer like this.
  18. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    True, true. My gut reaction upon reading that scenario was, 'If I were the father of that monster, I would've told him he could never come home. He could go anywhere else in the world but as far as I was concerned, he was a complete stranger, never allowed onto my property ever again.'

    But you're right, there are so many variables in this that, quite honestly it's all up for grabs. Interestingly enough, how would that have made hypothetical!me look, if I up and rejected/disowned my hypothetical!son for an incident he was clearly sorry for, and clearly had no intention of doing in the first place. I'd be the asshole, wouldn't you think? :p But yeah, so many variables.
     
  19. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    Forgiveness is when you no longer let the person or people who did you wrong have power over you. You've accepted what has happened and integrated it into who you are without anger, regret, judgment etc. I've reached that point with some things, and it goes the same way with self-forgiveness and shame.
     
    ladybird likes this.
  20. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    And by the way, EMDR by a good therapist can get you to that place much faster than you could have expected, if you were ever wronged really hardcore in the past and seem to be stuck because of it. It worked wonders for me.
     
  21. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I wouldn't agree with that statement - that may just mean you've accepted it happened - the person who did it is a piece of shit, you're over it and you just don't care anymore.

    My intention was to figure out how to love someone who wronged you the way you loved them before. Is that particular gift bestowed only upon angels and saints or is true forgiveness your key to the Pearly Gates leaving it impossible 'cept for the chosen few? How do those parents who loved both equally before forgive what he did?

    PS - it could have been a stupid drunken argument or a family feud, the why's don't matter - what is of concern is the fact that an hour before that fatal moment, Mom and Pop loved John and Bob - that now Bob is gone due to a fatal blow from John, they can choose to disown John and with no other children, lose their family or somehow find forgiveness to salvage what's left. With John now moved back in they have decided to learn to live with what's happened and keep together what's left. But will they ever love John the way they did?
     
  22. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,911
    Likes Received:
    10,103
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    No. I think they can learn to love John again, or they can reassemble the love they still hold for John into something more whole, but I do not think it will be the same-same. Have you ever loved two people in quite the same way? I haven't. I think the same paradigm would rule here.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,993
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I don't think it has anything to do with forgetting, or whether you still suffer, or whether you trust the person again, or whether you let them in your life again. As I see it: John did something horrible to you. Later, you hear that John has been hit by a bus. What does your brain say? Not your words, but your unfiltered emotions.

    If it says, "Oh, that's too bad," you've forgiven him.

    If it says, "Oh. Hey, what's for dinner?" I think you've still forgiven him.

    If it says, "Good," you haven't forgiven him.

    (For this to be accurate, you have to assume John had somehow been rendered harmless to others before the bus hit him. The "good" above is not about "Oh, now the world will be safe", it's about your own gut feeling about something bad happening to John.)
     
  24. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    Integrating compassion toward the offender is, to me, advanced forgiveness. Not like, I like you and were cool, but I get that you were in that place, or the circumstances were such. Being stuck in resentment is a form of self oppression. This is just my take on my own experience, not a one size fits all.
     
  25. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    This is actually a fairly new concept for me, recognizing that the offender might have acted the way they did due to circumstances. My forgiveness process is usually resentment, then forgetting. I still never really forgive.

    Um, depending on what was done of course.
     

Share This Page