Have you forgiven someone for a major transgression against you?

I forgive nothing, I forget nothing. I’m not proud of it, I’m just wired that way.

I think you mean to reply to a different thread.

Not to say that it isn’t a moving response, you understand…


This is an amazing story and I just needed to acknowledge it.

That’s a beautiful story and I’m sorry for your loss.

“Not an adversary but sisters in adversity” is a haunting description.

This. Moving on is for the offended, forgiveness is for the transgressor.

I don’t understand why you think the other family did anything to you. They didn’t take your husband from you - the driver who fell asleep at the wheel did, and he was dead. Unless you think they put him up to it, they did nothing to be forgiven for. Is guilt something that’s carried by blood or marriage?

I’m happy that you were able to set your anger at that other family aside, not only because carrying it would have been bad for you, but because it was misplaced.

Intentional transgressions? No. Never have. never will.

This is how I feel, and have always felt. If I’m a victim of a legitimate mistake, there’s nothing to forgive. If someone purposely tries to harm me thru malice or gross negligence, forgiveness isn’t an option… And if I can manage legal retribution, I will do so in the most vicious way possible.

I agree wholeheartedly. Revenge is much preferable. I’ve only managed it once, but nothing makes you sleep better than listening to the cold rain blow against the windows and knowing your attacker is out there somewhere… broke, homeless and shivering. It is the best feeling in the world.

Forgiveness, to me, is irrelevant.

I will draw conclusions if someone causes me grief. The conclusions may be as mild as " she’s likely to be late: meet her in a place where waiting won’t be a problem" to less mild like “i had better be sick the next ten family Christmas dinners to avoid her, but walking receptions are okay” to as severe as: " this person is a psychopath, and i should make sure he’s arrested". In that sense, i don’t forgive at all. Past behavior in certain situations is a likely indicator of future behavior.

On the other hand, once i’ve drawn such conclusions and still want to hang out with that person, i don’t even need to forgive anything. I just don’t mind. Should i forgive the cat from barfing? It’s just what it does, and it is my job to make sure the floor is easily cleanable.

There are people that do believe in that, but I also was confused by this part.

Honestly I don’t see what there is to forgive in an honest mistake or accident, it wasn’t like the driver who fell asleep intentionally killed either himself or someone else.

Same here. No one purposely caused harm and the harmer was dead anyway. There is no logical reason to be angry at his family.

I guess anger at the situation often just lands on the nearest people, regardless of whether they played any role in the situation. Recognizing that they are not to blame is good, but doesn’t sound like forgiveness.

I have, but that result came after good amount of if/then requirements. There was sincere regret, significant behavioral change, and a public apology involved.*
*Not all people qualify for forgiveness. Many may ask, few will get…

I haven’t forgiven, at least not yet, the man who killed my father. He looked down, while driving, to put in a CD, an ran into my dad. That better have been some important music. May he remember my dad’s pain every time the theought of the music crosses his mind.

I’m so sorry about what happened to you, and so appreciative that you wrote this beautiful short piece about it. What you did was perfect, and the way you describe it all was also perfect. I can’t say for sure I completely understand (it’d be up to you to weigh in on that), but what you wrote certainly makes me feel as if I do. I think you’re wonderful, thank you.

Not sure if this counts, as the forgiving happened pretty fast, or else I never hated him for it, but –

When I was 12 my father took his life. I also learned that he planned to kill me at the same time, but was prevented from doing so. As near as I can tell in looking into my own heart, I don’t hate him or resent him or blame him for trying to do this to me, or for doing this to himself. I’ve heard that suicides often want to take people they love with them, perhaps to rescue their loved ones from whatever they think makes life and living a thing to flee.

Note, I’m really really happy to be alive. It would have been a great shame if he actually had killed me. Intellectually I think it’s terrible that he planned this. I just forgive him for it, while also being glad he didn’t manage to kill me. And I forgive him for deserting me. It’s all very sad, but I have no anger or resentment toward him.

Yep. Exactly.

I’ve had three people I can say seriously or egregiously offended me; what I would call a major transgression. Two have been forgiven and one died before I could bring myself to that point. I did get there eventually but to me it was basically a moot point. There are two others who rose to that level against my wife since I have known her - haven’t forgiven either of them. I’m a lot less understanding to those who hurt the ones I love than I am those who hurt me.

No, obsessing just keeps you from moving on. As the say, the best revenge is living well. It gives the transgressor a lot of power to allow them to occupy so much of your headspace rent-free. Better to make them powerless over you. If you allow them no control over you, the impact will be a lot bigger on them than you. And isn’t that the way it should be?

I have, and will continue to do so. To level set a bit, though, it looks a though people have different ideas about what forgiviness entails. I don’t believe forgiveness precludes consequences and I don’t believe that forgiveness means I have to continue to accept or return to the action, situation, etc. If someone hits me everytime I come near, I can stop being near. That doesn’t mean I don’t forgive them. Forgiveness, to me, means I hold no ill will about something that is done and over with. I don’t dwell or on it, obssess over it, lord it over the other or day dream about revenge.

For an example involving a criiminal act, I can forgive AND also do one or more of the following:

  1. Have them prosecuted to the full extend of the law (forgiveness tempered with justice)
  2. Refuse to press charges or lobby for a lesser sentence (forgiveness tempered with mercy)
  3. Give them more than what they stole (forgiveness tempered with grace)
  4. Continue to associate with them, but only when I’ve done everything possible to remove the opportunity to repeat the transgression (forgiveness tempered with common sense)
  5. Never associate with them again, especially if it was a repeat offense (forgiveness tempered with the realization that they will likely never change).