Chapter on Forgiveness

I wanted to recommend a chapter (6) on forgiveness in the book Going Through the Journey of Healing (2nd ed), by Sharon Lewis. It is a Christian book on healing primarily for a Christian audience, but I believe the discussion of the necessity of forgiveness to achieve healing is extremely well reasoned and argued, and it struck me as almost algebraic in its logic, irrespective of its Christian context. The author seemed to hold that divine assistance is requisite to effect the choice of forgiveness, but, in that Christians hold God to be Love itself, I do not believe the God of love would deny such a gift/grace needed, regardless of whether a person knew or believed in him. I have submitted this in the hope that it might be helpful to some. There is no intention to minimize the potential challenge and difficulty of anyone to arrive at a place in which they might be able to consider forgiveness as a step in their healing.
 
Hi Bartimaeus

First welcome to MS. Sorry for what brings you here. You have arrive with a positive action for us to do for ourselves, Forgiveness I believe can free you. Many don't see that the forgiveness is for you more than the predators that got to you, I find I have less time having them in control of my thoughts.

I have not been able to forgive some as I don't know who they are and I do not have memory past me getting into strangers cars. I am not sure how many there is, who they are or what they did to me. What I do know is it is a part of my life I have not been able to bring very much of it out.

I am not religious and don't see forgiveness as only a Christian Value/action.

Glad you found this place and I hope you find it helpful on your healing journey
 
Hi Bartimaeus

First welcome to MS. Sorry for what brings you here. You have arrive with a positive action for us to do for ourselves, Forgiveness I believe can free you. Many don't see that the forgiveness is for you more than the predators that got to you, I find I have less time having them in control of my thoughts.

I have not been able to forgive some as I don't know who they are and I do not have memory past me getting into strangers cars. I am not sure how many there is, who they are or what they did to me. What I do know is it is a part of my life I have not been able to bring very much of it out.

I am not religious and don't see forgiveness as only a Christian Value/action.

Glad you found this place and I hope you find it helpful on your healing journey
 

John67

Registrant
When I struggled with forgiving certain people in my life my 12 Step Sponsor gave me a quote I've chosen to live by"
"Forgiving you doesn't mean you are no longer an a-hole, I means I no longer dwell on what an a-hole you are."
 
Thanks for your greeting. I'll have to throw together an intro. Yeah it seems like the most desirable aspect of forgiving, if one can get there, is setting yourself free from the negative emotional bondage with the offender, and who doesn't want to be free of that (but I can't assume its easy for everyone). Best
 

AuthenticMe

Registrant
Hi Bartimaeus - Thanks so much for sharing this. Forgiveness can understandably be extremely difficult for survivors of CSA, but it's such an important step on the path of healing. A lot has been written and said about the importance of forgiving someone who has done you harm in order to free yourself from the emotional burden of hatred/resentment/etc., but I think an aspect of forgiveness that is often missed is that if we don't forgive others for the harm they've done to us, it's very difficult to forgive ourselves for the ways in which we've harmed others. And who among us hasn't?
 
Yeah it was recently pointed out to me that I needed to forgive myself for whatever acts or omissions I'd contributed to my own trials. I was surprised that I hadn't realized that dynamic previously. Like how did I miss that, but thanks for bringing it to my attention.
 
but I think an aspect of forgiveness that is often missed is that if we don't forgive others for the harm they've done to us, it's very difficult to forgive ourselves for the ways in which we've harmed others. And who among us hasn't?

Yes I would agree you have to forgives others for their actions but you also need to forgive yourself for the things you feel guilt or shame from. I believe we have all hurt others on our way through this. I know I destroyed lots for others. Just the way it went. I am sorry but I don't think I have forgiven myself for lots
 

AuthenticMe

Registrant
It can be so powerful when someone forgives us for pain we've caused. It doesn't even have to be the person we've harmed. I think this is one of the most important things a good therapist can do for us - to see past the act and non-judgmentally accept us for who we are.
 
Forgiveness is absolutely not a prerequisite to healing. End of story. Anyone who says that forgiveness is always necessary for one to heal from abuse is 100% wrong. It may be necessary for themselves, but to generalize and say that everyone must forgive their abuser(s) is actually harmful.
 
End of story.
Maybe end of story for you, lots of us find freedom through forgiveness. By forgiven I don't mean you have to find the person the wronged you and forgive them. Forgive them in your heart so you can maybe you can get free. To those that abused us they can go to hell, I am trying hard not to hold hate for them any longer. Holding hate can destroy you completely.

Everyone one is different Strageways and you coming and saying our view are 100% wrong is offensive. We come here to share not to tell others they are 100% wrong but to share our view maybe forgiveness is not important for you but it is for many of us. Maybe you think we shouldn't share.
 

AuthenticMe

Registrant
@Strangeways I was looking through the posts on this thread and didn't see anyone saying you have to forgive the abuser. Given that we're all here because we were made to do something against our will, I don't think anyone on the forum is interested in telling you or anyone else what they need to to do heal. I get that some of us have endured such horrendous abuse that forgiveness seems so beyond comprehension. Rather than letting the abuser off the hook, forgiveness can serve to release some of the hold that the abuser has had on us. Forgiveness doesn't mean having to forget or ignore what happened. It's an act of empowerment and freedom.
 
@AuthenticMe this is absolutely correct. And yet, it isn't necessary for healing.

@Esterio you have it all wrong. Nowhere did I say that people shouldn't forgive. For many people, it's crucial. But in this thread several people have said that everyone must forgive their abusers in order to heal. That's completely untrue and is a harmful message. People can heal without forgiveness of their abusers.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
I wanted to recommend a chapter (6) on forgiveness in the book Going Through the Journey of Healing (2nd ed), by Sharon Lewis. It is a Christian book on healing primarily for a Christian audience, but I believe the discussion of the necessity of forgiveness to achieve healing is extremely well reasoned and argued, and it struck me as almost algebraic in its logic, irrespective of its Christian context. The author seemed to hold that divine assistance is requisite to effect the choice of forgiveness, but, in that Christians hold God to be Love itself, I do not believe the God of love would deny such a gift/grace needed, regardless of whether a person knew or believed in him. I have submitted this in the hope that it might be helpful to some. There is no intention to minimize the potential challenge and difficulty of anyone to arrive at a place in which they might be able to consider forgiveness as a step in their healing.
Bartimaeus

I am glad you found you way here. We are all here to heal. I believe forgiveness is important in healing. For me forgiveness began with forgiving myself. I long believed the abuse was my fault as I went back and back as the priest abused me. Why because of his words and my fears of how others would react, would they believe me. These thoughts created guilty and shame within me that controlled my life, took life from me. I needed to forgive myself for believing it was my fault, shame and guilt. It took acceptance of the truth of the abuse to forgive myself.

As for forgiving the abuser and those that tormented me as I tried to heal is a different challenge. The abuser I have not forgiven and I do not believe I will ever forgive him, instead I have learned to accept he was flawed as are all human beings. Sadly his flaws caused me and others great pain and loss of self. This may not be forgiveness but it gives peace and acceptance. Those that tormented me is a different story. I feel for them, for their inability to see truth and live in a world of denial of my truth and their truths, their lives and the issues that shaped their beliefs. I pray for them and hope one day they can accept the truth of my abuse, their issues and lead a life that brings them happiness.

Thank you for your words. It is a topic that gives me time to look at myself.

Kevin
 

RobbieJoe

Registrant
@Strangeways I was looking through the posts on this thread and didn't see anyone saying you have to forgive the abuser. Given that we're all here because we were made to do something against our will, I don't think anyone on the forum is interested in telling you or anyone else what they need to to do heal. I get that some of us have endured such horrendous abuse that forgiveness seems so beyond comprehension. Rather than letting the abuser off the hook, forgiveness can serve to release some of the hold that the abuser has had on us. Forgiveness doesn't mean having to forget or ignore what happened. It's an act of empowerment and freedom.
I have forgiven my father's sexual transgressions. To some degree, I even miss those acts. That alone, freed my tainted self, and I was able to then grow through the stigma, and for whatever labeled level, did heal on my own.

On the other hand, I can not, in any way, forgive the extreme violence, meanness, emotional and psychological tortures I endured for so many years, at his hands.

I can forgive Jekyll, but I cannot forgive Hyde.
 

HenryD

Registrant
Like many others here, I cannot say the words "I forgive you." Nothing will ever make those events ok.

The most I can say is I understand HOW and WHY things happened. After all this time, I'm even able to accept WHAT happened, but honestly, that may be the best I can do.

Does that count as partial forgiveness?
 

AuthenticMe

Registrant
@HenryD Wherever you are in the healing process is absolutely fine. Forgiveness can't be forced. If it comes at all, it unfolds naturally and in whatever form is most healing for you at that moment. Forgiveness isn't acquiescence or acknowledgment that the abuse was OK. It doesn't erase the act or its impact on our life. It allows us, in the present moment, to let go of some of the emotional hold the abuse has on us. It is an act of self-compassion.

@Strangeways I hear you. Though there are some shared markers on the healing path, there is certainly no "one-size-fits all." When I say healing I mean feeling at peace with myself. For me, that involved forgiveness, but if peace can be reached without it, that's wonderful too.
 
Like many others here, I cannot say the words "I forgive you." Nothing will ever make those events ok.

The most I can say is I understand HOW and WHY things happened. After all this time, I'm even able to accept WHAT happened, but honestly, that may be the best I can do.

Does that count as partial forgiveness?
David Kaczynski, whose name I will never be able to spell without copying and pasting, aside from Jesus of Nazareth, obv, is really good at spreading the true nature of forgiveness, which has nothing to do with letting anyone off the hook. It is about letting you off the hook. I find forgiveness comes when it comes, if it comes, and telling someone they should forgive is only gonna create a totally pointless guilt complex, if it affects them at all. It is also a long process with many stages, the one that most ppl have the most trouble with is anger, you can't forgive without fully feeling the injustice, which is very hard to face. Our culture and our media spread pointless lies about forgiveness, influenced by Medeival Christian teachings of martyrdom and selflessness, coupled with our fascination for vengeance. Neither of these are helpful for me. Here is a good podcast that might clarify.

Interview with David Kaczynski

Thank you for the book recommendation Bartimaeus, I am adding it to my list :)
 
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