Forgiveness

Posted on 2007-10-31. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |

More quotage from Shame and Grace:

Forgiving is difficult; this is the first thing we need to know. The second is that the first and often the only person to be healed by forgiveness is the person who does the forgiving. The third thing we need to understand is what we actually do when we forgive someone. Consider forgiveness as a personal drama with five scenes.

Scene One: We blame the shamer.

We hold him or her accountable. If we do not hold people accountable for what they did to us, we will not forgive them. We may indulge them, perhaps, as if it did not matter much, or we may excuse them, as if they could not help doing what they did. But we will forgive them only if we hold them responsible for what they did to us.

Scene Two: We surrender our right to get even.

We take our natural right to a balanced account – a right to fairness, mind you, that is all, only what we deserve – we take it in our hands, look it over,consider its possibilities, and then surrender it. We agree to live with the score untied.

Scene Three: We revise our caricature of the person who shamed us.

When we taste our resentment, we roll it around our minds the way we roll a sour lozenge around our tongues, and, as we taste it, our minds draw a caricature of our shamer. We turn him into a monster who is what he did to us. We see him;  we feel him; we define his whole person in terms of how he shamed us. However, as we move with the forgiving flow, we gradually change our monster back into the weak and faulty human being he is (or was), not all that different from ourselves.

Scene Four: We revise our feelings.

As the frozen tundra of resentment melts, a tendril of compassion breaks through the crust. Sorrow blends with anger. Sympathy softens resentment. We feel emerging in our consciousness a hesitant desire for the other person’s welfare.

Scene Five: We accept the person who made us feel unacceptable.

In the last scene in the drama, we offer our shamer the grace that God has offered us. We not only pardon him; we also accept him. We take him back into our lives as a fellow member of the human family. Chances are that we are not able to restore the special relationship we had before. But if we cannot be reconciled, it will not be our resentment that prevents it.

 —

 After that section, there’s another section which I won’t repeat here. I’ll only write down the headers to remind me.

 Some Advice to Those Who Want to Forgive Their Shamers

  • Try Understanding First
  • Separate What You Can Put Up With From What You Need To Forgive
  • Don’t Be Hasty
  • Don’t Wait Too Long
  • Be Concrete
  • Do Not Wait For Your Shamer To Repent
  • Do Not Forgive Out Of A Sense Of Duty
  • Begin By Pretending If You Need To
  • Settle For Silent Forgiving If You Must

 

Father, please help me to follow this path of forgiveness. Help me learn how to walk in grace. Thank you.

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2 Responses to “Forgiveness”

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That I agree and would follow this same path to forgive those who have shamed me. Amen

[…] time, I relive my own journey. And I think back to one of my prevailing thoughts during that time: Forgiving is difficult. And sometimes it seems to be impossible, even though called we are to forgive. And if forgiveness […]


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