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Forgiving Others and Mending Relationships

Updated on March 8, 2015
Heidi Vincent profile image

Ms. Vincent is an M.B.A graduate, Business Consultant and health, wellness & natural healing enthusiast, who reads a lot on those subjects.

Gandhi's Words of Wisdom on Forgiveness
Gandhi's Words of Wisdom on Forgiveness | Source

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!

Healing Life's Deepest Hurts: Let the Light of Christ Dispel the Darkness in Your Soul
Healing Life's Deepest Hurts: Let the Light of Christ Dispel the Darkness in Your Soul

In this book the author emphasizes that our own best efforts cannot release us and lead us to forgiveness. It is to hard to do by ourselves but we can with God's help if we accept it.

 
Jesus Forgives on the Cross
Jesus Forgives on the Cross | Source

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.

Do Yourself a Favor...Forgive: Learn How to Take Control of Your Life Through Forgiveness
Do Yourself a Favor...Forgive: Learn How to Take Control of Your Life Through Forgiveness

Joyce Meyers explores how unforgiveness affects every single area of our lives, even though most of us will not admit it.

She shows how it spills over to affect our physical health; an already well-researched fact in the medical world.

She doesn’t pretend for one moment that the pain you are experiencing is unreal or trivial but she brings us back to focusing on ourselves let we allow the person or persons who hurt us to continue hurting us without ever coming near us again.

Make a gift of this book to yourself or someone you know who is being eaten up by unforgiveness, hurt and anger.

 
Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness | Source

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:

1. ‘Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’

2. ‘Forgive & Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships'

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)

Healing is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You from Making Them
Healing is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You from Making Them

When the hurt resurfaces, you will learn how to make the conscious decision to choose to forgive in that 70 times 70 fashion Jesus spoke about.

 
Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage
Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage

As the years of marriage increase, so too do likely circumstances that can bring hurt whether by words, infidelity or other thoughtless actions.

'Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage' walks couples through a very manageable step-by-step process of understanding different styles of conflict resolution and then encourages them toward forgiveness and healing.

 

Forgive and Love Again

This is the 2nd of the 2 books that has been helping me deal with my unforgiveness.

Forgive and Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships
Forgive and Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships

Whether you're an individual struggling with forgiveness, a pastor looking for ideas on teaching or preaching about forgiveness or a counselor looking to learn about helping others forgive, you will find this book a very useful and helpful resource.

It offers an explanation of the essentials of true forgiveness, provides guidance through the process of forgiveness and answers some frequently asked questions about confronting the person who wronged you and reconciliation.

 

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

Man presenting flowers - Apologizing - Saying sorry
Man presenting flowers - Apologizing - Saying 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!"

HOW MANY times did Jesus say that we should FORGIVE others?

See results

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.

When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse
When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse

Love is supposed to beautiful but the reality is that some one who should love you is may be abusive. Learn about those confusions feelings ad actions and how you can heal yourself or some who has suffered abuse at the hands of someone they love.

 

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."

Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven
Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven

Let T.D. Jakes offer you his usual down to earth advice to help you with forgiveness.

 
Life's Healing Choices: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits
Life's Healing Choices: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits

Using the Beatitudes of Jesus as a foundation, Senior Pastor Rick Warren developed and shares 8 choices to forgive that we can make in this book.He also uses real and powerful life stories men and women whose lives have been transformed by living out those 8 choices of forgiveness i their own 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."

See results

Visit the Catholic Contributor for great reviews…

delicious recipes, winning gift ideas and inspirational Catholic & Christian articles at http://www.thecatholiccontributor.com

Useful Guides on How & Why to Say SORRY!

© 2012 Heidi Vincent

What are your thoughts on forgiving, and/or forgetting?

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    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 2 years ago from GRENADA

      Thanks for sharing your powerful testimony on forgiveness, Nancy! You are way ahead of some of us. Thanks for visiting and have a blessed week!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Forgiveness is important for each of us. Anger corrodes the vessel in which it is kept and in the end makes us miserable, while it doesn't affect the object of our dislike or hatred. I once asked God to take the burden of hate from me because I was so tired of carrying it, and the result was instantaneous. I felt immediate relief and knew that I no longer carried that destruction inside me. Your article is absolutely right. Thank you for sharing.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @junecampbell: It makes a lot of sense, nightcats. It's exactly what the authors of both books are saying in effect. So you are ahead of many of us in being able to truly forgive. I hope to get there soon. Thanks for visiting and sharing. Have a beautiful Sunday and a very blessed weekend.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I'm not saying that forgiveness is easy, because all too often it is very difficult. However, what I have learned through my spiritual practices is that forgiveness of others is something I do for myself. Holding resentment, hatred or grudges damages me spiritually, emotionally and physically. It also allows old scripts to be replayed over and over, meaning that without forgiveness, past events affect current relationships in a negative way -- and more innocent people get hurt because of it. From a strictly practical viewpoint, forgiveness is crucial. I hope this makes sense. :-)

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Rhonda Lytle: I am glad you can honestly admit, like me, that you are still working on it :) I don't know how God does it :) God always knows best. Thanks for visiting and sharing your own experience with forgiveness with us. Have a blessed weekend.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I know I should forgive everything but some things are so much harder than others. Still working on it. Honestly, I think we humans tend to hold onto things we would be better off letting go. The Bible tells us to forgive perhaps not only so that we may be forgiven but also because God knows it's what's best for us, our own hearts and minds.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @GrammieOlivia: Thanks so much grammieo! :) Have a blessed week.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Wish I could like this again, alas once is all I can do! Very powerful and true!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Great article, I'm always forgiving, what happened yesterday is gone and forgotten. I live for today not yesterday, it only kills your soul if you don't move on in life.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @RuthieDenise: I also liked your forgiveness lens :) Glad you liked mine also, karendd123, and that it has impacted you positively. Thanks for visiting and have a blessed week.

    • RuthieDenise profile image

      RuthieDenise 3 years ago

      I love this lens. It made me think. I have some fences that need mending. I think your suggestions will help. Thank you.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Brite-Ideas: Really nicely put Brite-Ideas. Thanks for your visit and this beautiful sharing. Have a blessed week.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      true forgiving means you completely let something go, never to mention it again - in fact true forgiveness may mean never really getting to a point where forgiveness is needed - in other words we just recognize shortcomings, mistakes, terrible deeds as a soul struggling at a different level of growth than we are - thus understanding that we're all at different places of 'soul learning' is all that's needed - hard to do - but very freeing when it's mastered I suspect

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you so very much grammieo! Have a blessed week.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Jerzimom: Thanks CherylFay! Nicely put by you. Have a blessed week.

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      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Great lens FreshStart7, powerful in ways that cannot be put into words......forgiveness can become a way of life, if we choose it to be!

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      What a nice lens! I really like it! Sorry and Forgive are an important part of any relationship. If we cultivate hard feelings in ourselves its bad for our health. It's hard to let go and move forward. Forgetting is hard but with forgiveness makes it easier to to move on.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @tonyleather: You're welcome tonyleather. Glad you liked it. Enjoy the rest of your week.

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      tonyleather 3 years ago

      What a very interesting and informative lens! Thank you!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 3 years ago from United States

      This is, of course, excellent advice and great recommendations. While we may view forgiveness as an act we do for others, in reality we forgive others for ourselves. It isn't always easy to forgive. It is even harder to forget, but we all live a much healthier and happier life when we can do both. I will say though, that forgetting only can go so far. We can't allow others to keep hurting us. That is when we have to do something that I find even harder, forgiving, but not forgetting and learning not to pick it back up as an pain.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @adammuller003 lm: Thanks adammuller003 for visiting and sharing the value of forgiving in your life, Have a blessed week.

    • adammuller003 lm profile image

      adammuller003 lm 4 years ago

      Forgiving has been one of the most influential things in my life that has brought me peace. Great lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Onemargaret LM: So true!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @JoshK47: Thanks JoshK47 for visiting and sharing your thoughts on forgiving and forgetting.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Onemargaret LM: Thanks Onemargaret for visiting and sharing your thoughts on forgiving and forgetting.

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      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Definitely forgive, and forget to an extent - after all, if the same person keeps doing something damaging to you over and over, you may wish to start avoiding them a bit. But always forgive.

    • Onemargaret LM profile image

      Onemargaret LM 4 years ago

      Forgiveness is the easy part. Forgetting is extremely hard.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @JoleneBelmain: Thanks Jolene_Belmain for visiting and sharing your thoughts on forgiving and forgetting. Have a blessed weekend.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      After things are done, you will truly never forget about them, but forgiving is an important thing, especially for your own peace of mind. You don't have to like what was done, or said to forgive, but learn to move on from that event.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @newbizmau: Thanks for your visit and very insightful comment newbizmau. Have a blessed weekend.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

      We are all one body having a separate human experience. So to judge or not forgive another is to not forgive yourself. You are them and they are you. -Blessed

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @captainj88: Thanks leahjsongs for visiting and bravely sharing on this difficult topic

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      There's that other HARD passage right after Jesus teaches His disciples to pray where He says if we forgive others their sins, the Heavenly Father will forgive ours. BUT... It is so important to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Unforgiveness really is a salvation issue.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @Stacy Birch: Nice to meet you too Stacy. Thanks for visiting.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Good lens, it's nice to see good Christians here on Squidoo.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @anonymous: Thanks TeamSTM for visiting and sharing your wisdom on forgiveness.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Holding things close to your Heart or in your Mind Isn't Good, Forgiveness is Letting Go and Letting God. The Best thing We can do is Get Out of the Way, the Less we become, the more God becomes within us!! ;DSo Forgive and Enjoy the New Peace of Mind that Comes with Forgiveness!! ;)

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @SteveKaye: Thanks for visiting and sharing Steve.

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Forgiveness begins by forgiving one's self. Then this moves to forgiving others. Then, if the harm continues, we move on.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @Magda2012: Thanks Magda2012 for visiting and complimenting my lens.

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 5 years ago

      Forgiving means to forget. This is one of the best lenses I have read so far.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @squidoopets: Interesting analogy squidoopets. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

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      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      We can forgive the poison ivy for being what it is. That doesn't mean we prance around in it and expect not to get a reaction. So we forgive all past reactions, and avoid the poison in the future.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @anonymous: Thanks Tipi for visiting and sharing.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @funbee lm: Thanks for visiting and sharing funbee.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @TolovajWordsmith: I agree because not forgetting makes you wiser. Thanks for visiting and sharing Tolovaj.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      From what I have read in Scripture, we must forgive if someone has changed and turned the other way. Otherwise, well...that's tough. :)

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      funbee lm 5 years ago

      Forgiving is good, letting go is important and remembering God is the most important of all.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Forgiving is liberating experience. I believe we should learn to forgive, but not forget.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @aesta1: I am still struggling with it but you are right aesta1. Yes we can try. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is such a hard thing to do but we can always try.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @siobhanryan: Thank you siobhanryan for visiting and commenting. I am happy you enjoyed the lens. Have a blessed weekend.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Enjoyed this lens

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Enjoyed this lens

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @sandi_x: Thanks Sandi for your compliment on my lens and for visiting.

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      sandi_x 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      @JoshK47: Thanks Josh for visiting my lens and commenting.

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Good lens - forgiveness is definitely very important.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 5 years ago

      It may seem hard to forgive and forget but eventually we must realize that things get better if we do. We go on with our lives without holding grudges and having bad relationships with others.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Thanks AgingIntoDisability for your oh so true comment. As much as we feel otherwise, forgiveness is indeed for yourself not the other person.

    • AgingIntoDisabi profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 5 years ago

      It's a hard lesson to learn, but forgiveness is for yourself, not the other person.