Forgiving Others and Mending Relationships
Forgiving others and mending relationships. Is it possible?
I was communicating via email with a now retired high school teacher of mine, who is actually a St. Joseph of Cluny nun, and trying to convince her to write for my Catholic Contributor niche.
She did confess that she did not want to be an active part of my writing community, but being the always supportive friend that she is, she volunteered to provide me some of her written thoughts on various Catholic and Christian topics from time to time.
Guess what! Within a considerably short time period after our email conversation she sent me her first contribution, which expressed some powerful thoughts on FORGIVENESS. I'll share her thoughts with you later on in this article.
Added to that, as an everyday Catholic Christian, I will be sharing some of my own thoughts on forgiveness since I have struggled with it in the past and I am still struggling with it today. I'll also share with you two (2) books that have started me on the road to healing.
Then there are those who feel that 'they are too big' to say sorry or that saying sorry makes them appear as being weak. So they refuse to say sorry. I'll speak to those sorry souls.
Finally, I'll give you an opportunity to speak your mind on the subject, since I believe that we can all learn from each other and help each other in this important area of forgiveness which so many of us struggle with - Catholics and non-Catholics - especially when we have been hurt by persons we consider loved ones.
HEALING for Your Hurt and Pain!
Thoughts on Forgiveness by Sister Bernard Ngfan
Do you count your blessings, the graces that you have received from God, your loving Father? What do you do with them? Do you share them with others? Do you give love, and not only at Christmastime? Do you try to spread joy wherever you go?
Well, what about forgiveness? Have you not received the beautiful, wonderful, incredible, undeserved, unconditional, indescribable gift of forgiveness from your Father in heaven? Yes, Yes, Yes!!! We have all been forgiven 70 times 7 times.
Do we share it with those who need it, and maybe need to hear it from us? Or do we say, “I’m only human, how can I forgive so-and-so?” Yes, we’re human, but not only human! We are children of our heavenly Father, prodigal children whom He clasps to his bosom whenever we return. Jesus is our elder brother who left His Father’s house to go in search of us, His lost sheep.
Let us begin to share this precious gift of forgiveness. The world needs it, our families need it, the Church needs it, and it is in our power to give it.
My Own Experience and Struggles with Forgiveness
At two (2) very different periods in my life, when I was struggling with forgiveness and still wounded and deeply hurt by the offenses committed against me, I ventured to purchase two (2) books on the subject of forgiveness:
Neither of these books is for the faint hearted. The first time I read them, I was really angry with the authors. I kept saying to myself (or rather, screaming at the authors), "Why do I have to forgive if I was the one wronged?" I ventured to read them a second time, after a protracted period of time I must say, and maybe I can say now that I am beginning to grasp what is being said.
The truth is, however, I still think that I need to pick up those books again at some point in time because I know that I am not completely healed. I know it will be hard but I know that I can do it.
If you’re in a similar position like me, struggling with forgiveness, then I encourage you to take this difficult challenge of purchasing and reading one or both of those books in order to begin your healing.
This is the 1st of the 2 books that has been helping me deal with my unforgiveness.
Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve
The first book - Forgive & Forget – speaks about the four (4) stages of forgiveness – Hurting, Hating, Healing Ourselves and Coming Together. It also speaks about some of the things that forgiving is not.
The author then looks at some of the ways various people forgive, such as ‘slowly’, ‘in confusion’, ‘with anger left over’ etc. All of which helped me put in perspective how I had approached forgiving others and how others had forgiven me.
The concluding four (4) chapters, then speak to ‘why we must forgive’.
Additionally, there is a whole section titled ‘A Reader’s Guide’ and some excerpts from the author’s spiritual memoir. The Readers’ Guide contains 29 questions and exercises that can be used for self-reflection, as a family meditation/reflection tool or for spiritual group study sessions.
The Forgiveness Song (Mark Madsen and Anne Achenbach)
Forgive and Love Again
This is the 2nd of the 2 books that has been helping me deal with my unforgiveness.
Forgive & Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships
The second book - Forgive & Love Again - treats with love and forgiveness in platonic as well as non-platonic relationships.
The introductory chapter, which is titled “Hope for the Wounded Heart” tells the story of someone struggling with forgiveness, introduces you to how you can begin healing your inner wounds and poses some tough questions which many of us have asked at varying points, if we have struggled to forgive.
The other fourteen (14) chapters are subdivided into two (2) main parts which speak to ‘choosing to Forgive’ and ‘Learning to Forgive Again’.
It’s so practical, that you can really relate to it. For example, the first of these chapters is titled ‘When Your Heart Screams No’ and I know that I have heard that blood curdling scream before in my own heart.
The best line ever:
Let's be real and admit that if we wait until we feel like forgiving, it will be a long time coming or it might never happen.
For Those Who Won't or Can't Say Sorry
Maybe you're here because you have wronged or hurt someone and you are struggling with how to say sorry!
Well this is a good step in the right direction! Or maybe you know that you’re wrong but refuse to say sorry.
Saying "Sorry" can be a very humbling experience, especially if you were so adamant about something and then realized later that you were wrong. Or you saw the hurt in someone’s eyes when you said or did something to them.
But let's face it, what good can come of you holding on to your position even after your conscience and subsequent events tell you that you were wrong? Or you know, that you know, that you know that you should not have said or done what you did? That's just stupid pride if you refuse to say those simple, but humbling words – ‘I Am Sorry!’ – which can bring healing to another person and possibly mend a broken relationship.
Saying "Sorry" to someone you hurt, whether by your words or deeds, makes you a 'bigger person' in the eyes of that person and can very often lead to a restored relationship that is stronger than ever.
So the next time you are aware that you hurt someone, please, own up to your fault and do the right thing - say "I am Sorry!"
Say "I'M SORRY" with any of these classy gift items
HOW MANY times did Jesus say that we should FORGIVE others?
Forgive How Many Times???
As you'll learn in these pages forgiving doesn't always mean you need to restore a relationship that is definitely bad for you.
How to Let Go of the Hurt!
"Forgiveness is a big idea and it works best when it is invested into people who have the courage to grasp the seven-foot-high idea of what's best for their future rather than the four-foot-high idea of recompense for what has happened in their past," Jakes writes in Let It Go.
In his book, T. D. Jakes offers "specific and clear actions for readers who seek to apply [forgiveness] in their daily lives."
The Bible on Judgement
Where in the Bible is the following scripture text taken from:
"Do not judge lest you be judged yourself. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you."
Useful Guides on How & Why to Say SORRY!
© 2012 Heidi Vincent