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What I Have Learned About Forgiveness


Mister Pappy
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"Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past."

The last three months of my life have been the most difficult, by far, of any I have walked through during this life. I have been attacked from all sides by friends, family, and even people I barely knew. Some here know the details - some don't, however, the lesson is not in the details. It has been in learning how to survive hate on a psychological level. To hate brings death in so many ways, and I now have my merit badge - nothing I am proud of.

 

I will keep this introductory post simple by pointing out only the bottom line. Forgive with vigor, because it is unforgiveness that kills you and allows your enemy to win. I have adopted forgiveness as the simple process of "letting go". Letting go of the past and what has been "done to me" by whomever it may be. Inside the "bubble" of letting go, I am invincible. Only the vile puke that I allow to reside WITH me, does me harm. This is working for me right now in my particular situation. I believe it must work in all.

 

Pappy

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I agree 100% with the letting go part. It's not the same thing as letting the perpetrators off the hook. For example, the people that have stolen my play from me - I'm letting it go. Not because what they did was right. And not because I don't have the money to sue them. Even if I did have the money, I wouldn't, because they've already stolen enough from me. Time is the only real currency we have, and none of us knows how much of it we have, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let them steal that from me as well.

 

I don't know if I really understand your statement, "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.' Are you saying we try to rewrite the past? And what you're letting go of is the hope of doing that? Or are you saying something else?

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I think it's good to both fight and forgive. I think forgiveness is one of the most powerful options you can use on an enemy and so for that reason, it is best to use where it is right to do so. It's not a soft option, because that means certain people will cease to be real to you, only your future and your wellbeing lies in front of you and your beloved. Far too many people think forgiveness is a sugar n' unicorn option where people forget and love the person who wronged them. Actually, it's more ripping off a band aid and getting on with life. It's essentially, "Farewell, I know you hurt me, but I forgive you. The only thing is for you do is to forgive yourself, but if you hurt me again, there might be no forgiveness next time. As for myself, I will not forget but I will let you and your power to hurt me." et finite. That's all to it. It does take a long time to say these simple phrases, though because there's a depth of feelings and illwill willing to be let go.There's a reason that the cliche "Sorry is the hardest word." exists, it has to be on both sides in order for true forgiveness and rebirth to occur. Until that happens, that's hard to let go and that's how revenge or suicide occurs in some cases. Crime really is horrible. But there's ways to cope with it and forgiveness is one of the greatest coping mechanisms of all.

 

Honestly, there's nothing truly like a second or even a third chance. It's even more tragic if the forgiven wastes them. But miraculous if they made the most of it. :)

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I don't know if I really understand your statement, "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.' Are you saying we try to rewrite the past? And what you're letting go of is the hope of doing that? Or are you saying something else?

I am saying that forgiving is letting go of the past - of what has happened to us. Dwelling in the past and those who have done us wrong will not make the past any better. It only makes the future more bleak by robbing us of our ability to move on.

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I find it rather synchronous that this song has been my recent favorite.

 

Welcome back.

Very cool stryper! Forgiving really isn't giving up. It is letting go ... the song is right. I have learned so much about this process in the last months of my life, and it is good to be back.

 

Thank You,

Pappy

 

 

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Good advice. Just wish I could forgive myself sometimes. :)

It really is about whether or not you wish the part of yourself you have a hard time forgiving to be a part of your future or not.

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Forgiveness is the only protection anyone has, for you become whatever it is you cannot forgive. - P.M.H. Atwater

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I am saying that forgiving is letting go of the past - of what has happened to us. Dwelling in the past and those who have done us wrong will not make the past any better. It only makes the future more bleak by robbing us of our ability to move on.

 

So true! Glad you're back, Pappy. I hope each day gets better and better for you.

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glad to have you back pappy! I missed you.

 

The more I learn about evolution and humans as animals - the more I seem to be able to accept all the 'cave man' behaviors.(I still don't like it, but I accept it a bit better)

I also seem to be able to let go of the things I have done in my past - when I look back now - it does look like 'monkey' behavior'! :shrug:

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Christianity distorts forgiveness, as a result it took me a long time to work out what you have written; that to forgive is to let go and give up on trying to change or justify the past.

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Hi, Pappy! Good to have you back. One of the sermons that I still have on CD around here somewhere talks about forgiveness and how it is actually something that you do for yourself and not the person who wronged you. Unforgiveness is like acid, it's only eats away the container that is holding it. Glad you are coming to a place of forgiveness.

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Forgiveness is the only protection anyone has, for you become whatever it is you cannot forgive. - P.M.H. Atwater

I love it ... very true quote!

 

Glad you're back, Pappy. I hope each day gets better and better for you.

Thank you buffetphan ... I appreciate those kind words, and the good news is that, every day is getting better and brighter and lovelier and more full of joy. I am grateful to be alive and to have "lived" while having taken up space on this planet.

 

glad to have you back pappy! I missed you.

Thank you sweet Margee. I missed you too!

 

Christianity distorts forgiveness, as a result it took me a long time to work out what you have written; that to forgive is to let go and give up on trying to change or justify the past.

Christianity does an excellent job of turning forgiveness into some kind of martyrdom, when forgiveness is it fact an act of self preservation.

 

Hi, Pappy! Good to have you back. One of the sermons that I still have on CD around here somewhere talks about forgiveness and how it is actually something that you do for yourself and not the person who wronged you. Unforgiveness is like acid, it's only eats away the container that is holding it. Glad you are coming to a place of forgiveness.

It is very good to be back Eugene .. thank you. The coolest thing about forgiving someone is that, when you do it, you effectively NUETRALIZE the harm that has been intended for you, and your enemy has zero defense against your forgiveness. It is the equivelent of dropping the H-Bomb ... perhaps we should call it the F-Bomb for short? WendyDoh.gif That's it folks ... drop the F-Bomb (forgiveness bomb) on your enemies and wipe out everything they have attempted to destroy you with. This is the true lesson of forgiving! I only regret that it has taken me 44 years to figure this simple shit out .... what a dumb ass I have been.

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I have always been a forgiving person, seventy times seven and all that jazz. I always realised that forgiveness was as much about me as it was about the other party. Until.....

 

Someone did something to me that I couldn't forgive. I forgave my father's violence and alcoholism, my mother's violence both physical and psychological, the physical and psychological abusers from school, my sister's lying to me and stealing from me and being a drug fucked pain in the ass, my first husband's violence, my second husband's emotional violence, the cult who betrayed and abandoned me and pushed me into a breakdown, the men who had fucked me over. I even managed to forgive myself for god knows what crimes I dreamed up to charge myself with.

 

But this betrayal at the hands of a person who I thought understood me, who cared for me as a christian friend - when he turned on me to save his own ass and lied and continued to push me emotionally after I tried to take my own life, this man I cannot forgive. This man stands in my mind as an example of everything I hate about christians, everything that is false and cowardly and pathetic in the human race.

 

Not being accustomed to unforgiveness I asked my therapist what she thought. She said that exploring unforgiveness after my previous attitude was probably not a bad thing. Chances are I will never forgive this person, because he thinks what I did is so much worse than what he did. But it isn't. And if there is one thing I have learned about christians, it is that they will do everything but tell themselves the truth.

 

And as for the letting go thing - I wish I had a switch in my brain to make that happen, I can't just decide to let something go - it just takes time.

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I have always been a forgiving person, seventy times seven and all that jazz. I always realised that forgiveness was as much about me as it was about the other party. Until.....

 

Someone did something to me that I couldn't forgive.

"Forgive" is a tetchy sorta verb. It is hard to talk about with precision.

 

My fiancee is a very forgiving, non-judgmental person, as people go ... but she too has one person in her life whom she cannot and will not "ever" "forgive". It was for an egregious, incredibly over the top cruelty that's generally similar to what you describe. It has caused terrific damage to her and her children and she's probably going to have to deal with the fallout, to some extent, for years, if not indefinitely.

 

But I'm not convinced that she is actually being unforgiving. She does not obsess on it or dwell on it. She does not sit around plotting ways to get back at this person. It's not picking apart semantics to say that she simply sees no way that this person could ever win her trust or be even provisionally off of her personal threat list. I don't think that's the same thing as unforgiveness. Nor do I think unforgiveness equates to having a visceral anxiety, fear or anger reaction to a person who has harmed you. I think this is just simply post-traumatic stress.

 

Not allowing someone back into your circle of trust isn't the same thing as not forgiving them. Often, it's just plain smart.

 

Unforgiveness, to me, is when you feel the offending party owes you something -- suffering-in-kind, perhaps, or death, or submitting to you for a good pummeling, coupled with the belief that the discharge of this debt will somehow undo or fix the wrong done, or give you some kind of closure. I think you're not harming yourself so long as you acknowledge that the harm is done, it can't be undone, and let go of any concept of revenge. Not that you won't have vengeful thoughts, but just at least a mental assent to the fact that to act on those thoughts would do considerably more harm to you than to the offender, and indeed, may well not exact any real justice on the offender, either.

 

I daresay that anytime someone is sociopathic and/or narcissistic enough to harm you that badly, they probably are pretty much immune to any sense of guilt, any effective punishment, and are incapable of remorse, anyway. That understandably enrages the victim, but I am not willing to label that "an unforgiving spirit". My fiancee would be a fool to ever trust this offender and does not owe her any trust. The offender had the opportunity to earn it, and blew it, and it's just that simple.

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"Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past."

The last three months of my life have been the most difficult, by far, of any I have walked through during this life ... I have adopted forgiveness as the simple process of "letting go". Letting go of the past and what has been "done to me" by whomever it may be. Inside the "bubble" of letting go, I am invincible. Only the vile puke that I allow to reside WITH me, does me harm. This is working for me right now in my particular situation. I believe it must work in all.

 

Pappy

Pappy, how good to have you back! I have thought of you often these past few months. Am I right, that your family is reunited? If so, how sweet that is!

 

--Bob

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Not allowing someone back into your circle of trust isn't the same thing as not forgiving them. Often, it's just plain smart.

I completely agree with this. In fact, letting go, often is about letting go with a desire to have the old "imaginary" great relationship back with the person who did you wrong. Going one step further, I think it is entirely possible that a great percentage of the hate felt towards someone we trust who betrays that trust, is for the offense of "stealing" from us the love that we once felt from them. Letting go of those relationships, in these cases, is the ONLY way to completely forgive and recover from that sense of loss.

 

Pappy, how good to have you back! I have thought of you often these past few months. Am I right, that your family is reunited? If so, how sweet that is!

Thank you Bob! I have thought of all of you here often as well. For a large portion of these last months, coming on here to rehash the hurt was more than I could bare, so staying away was the only viable option.

 

As for your last question, the answer is that we are jumping through the final hoop in this dog and pony show. I have learned that I can do tricks like "roll over", "fetch", "sit down", and "shut up". These are all talents which I did not possess prior to this experiment in human behavior modification. silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

 

 

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I think forgiveness is the same as prayer - you do nothing but pretend you have.

 

I'm not against it, but I absolutely hate what I have dubbed the "Forgiveness Fascism" that seems to be everywhere. Everyone just has to get in your face and basically order you to forgive or you'll be cursed for eternity. Whatever.

 

A good opinion piece onj the issue:

 

TO FORGIVE IS GOOD, BUT SOMETIMES I WANT TO STAY MAD - Bob Brody

 

Some years ago, a barrage of thumping, galloping noises routinely issued from the apartment upstairs as if baby elephants were competing in the 50-yard dash. I went up one day to politely inquire. "No, nobody's making noise here" the husband and wife both insisted. It must be coming from elsewhere in the building." Two children about five years old, each holding soccer balls, stood right beside their parents. "Could the thumping be your kids running around, perhaps playing soccer?", I asked. "Oh no, we never let the kids play in the house."

 

For months, the pattern continued: the thumping and galloping above, our delicate check-in, the denial. It got so that every time I saw the couple, I glared without a word of greeting. When they moved out of the building, the thumping stopped.

 

I supose I could have forgiven my neighbors this infraction and spared them the glare. After all, forgiveness is in, a trend spawning best-selling books, foundations and research institutes. The notion has gone well beyond spiritual leaders advising that forgiveness is good for the soul and that hard feelings will turn us bitter and hostile. Now the medical community cites studies showing that forgiveness can prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure and even ease depression.

 

I may be outnumbered, but I still believe in the healing power of the grudge. I've deployed grudges with an equal-opportunity sense of fairness - against teachers and classmates, bosses and colleagues, family and friends. I've chosen to stop speaking to certain people permanently and occasionally even spoken ill of them - but more with incredulity than a sense of revenge. I'm neither proud nor ashamed. But I've discovered that nothing feels quite as satisfying as a grudge well nursed.

 

I had a boss who took a dislike to me from my first day on the job, even though she hired me. There were no complaints about my performance, but I later learned she'd lied to co-workers about me. Without explanation, she laid me off after only ten weeks, just before Thanksgiving. I had a family to support. Was I to forgive her? Should I now? GIve me one good reason. My grudge against her balanced out that injustice, somehow righted the universe. It has kept me warm on many a cold night.

 

Under the new mandate of blanket absolution, should I forgive the cousin who invited us to dinner only to make an Amway pitch? Or the friend who sent me a public relations client and then harrassed me for months for a 10 percent finder's fee?

 

I'm not against forgiveness per se; I have forgiven people for rudeness as well as for deep misunderstandings and have done so without holding on to hard feelings. What I deplore is the propaganda about forgiveness. No longer an option, forgiveness is an edict. Forgiving so democratically cheapens the very act.

 

A long standing grudge suggests that we hold certain standards, that we respect ourselves enough to reject bad behavior. Failure to forgive can be just as righteous, just as honorable as forgiveness itself.

 

When someone apologizes, however, with sincerity, not calculation, it can make a difference. I had a close friend in high school who ditched me after college and has avoided me for all the decades since. At our 15th high school reunion, I had the chance to ask him why. He said that I had always made him feel inferior, as if he gave offense.

 

And he had a point: I'd made fun of him - I'd thought good-naturedly - until he withdrew. Face-to-face at our reunion, I apologized. He declined.

 

I know how it feels to go unforgiven. And guess what? It feels deserved.

 

What I love most about this article is his honesty at the end. We all want to be forgiven for things we've done to others, but sometimes it just isn't possible and that needs to be OK.

 

For me, the blanket forgiveness that I've shown certain people over the last few years has been detrimental to me because deep down, I really didn't forgive the person all of the way. I forgave them "enough" to play nice, but the action that I was supposed to have forgiven would still lay there, dormant until another incident occurred.

 

I can easily forgive little things like phone calls not returned, forgotten birthdays, someone doing some harmless venting about me behind my back, silly little misunderstandings. I don't need apologies for those things because we all do them. We all are insensitive, moody, pissy or clueless at some time or another.

 

My issues are the things that go to the core of who a person is. Disloyalty, brazen backstabbing, a lack of respect for my feelings, taking someone for granted or taking advantage of another....those are the things that I can no longer turn a blind eye too.

 

I feel good about it.

 

 

Don’t Judge My Grudge…Forgiveness Is Over-Rated

http://builicious.blog.com/2010/07/23/don%E2%80%99t-judge-my-grudge-forgiveness-is-over-rated/

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Reading some of these has promted me to think about my relationship with my father.

 

It wasn't until I wrote out my testimony that it dawned on me just how much of my religious life revolved around him. Finally, one night I wrote him and email after about four years of no contact and laid it out. I realized that what I was doing besides cutting off direct contact with him was letting go.

 

I don't think I could ever forgive in the standard connotation. What I feel I did do was take control of my future and any future contact with him. It also released the delusion of the father I wanted vs the father I got. There was something very freeing about that.

 

I can only specuate Mister Pappy that may have been part of your experience.

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As for your last question, the answer is that we are jumping through the final hoop in this dog and pony show. I have learned that I can do tricks like "roll over", "fetch", "sit down", and "shut up". These are all talents which I did not possess prior to this experiment in human behavior modification. silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

 

 

 

That's it Pappy, sometimes you just gotta 'obey' the master dog trainers of the world (and their rules of 'rights and wrongs') to get along in life.............sad, but true.

 

I am so glad you are a good little trained dog now!! :grin: Ruff, Ruff..........

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