If someone close to you were killed in a horrific accident, don’t you think you’d be angry and lashing out? Logic has nothing to do with it. She came to see the whole picture and forgave pretty quickly.
For the life of me, I don’t understand why people don’t get that.
It’s easy to hold a grudge, yet ‘move on’ in the sense that you don’t seek to dwell on it - but when that person’s face floats up out of distant memory for some reason, you still feel the anger. You might not want to dance on their graves, but might still think it would be pleasing if a hundred cow pies landed on them. Then you think of something else, forget them again, and go about your life as before.
That’s moving on without forgiveness. I’ve done that. Beats not moving on at all, but it’s still less than ideal.
You are very right. Like many people experiencing a loss, I got angry and was looking for someone/anyone to blame. I’m a fighter, it’s how I’m put together. You knock me down and I come up fists blazing, not worrying if I’m throwing punches at the right target. That comes later. I’d have calmed down and realized I had nothing against that family, and eventually I’d have realized that about the other driver, too. That realization came to me more quickly when I met the family in the chapel.
I’ve held onto nothing except sadness regarding my husband’s accident. I’ve never crossed paths with that family again, but I have wished them well mentally and will continue to do so. And I’ve forgiven that poor over-worked husband and father. Again, I’d have done so eventually, the meeting in the chapel just accelerated the process.
I’ve had some pretty big things that I’ve forgive, though nothing on the order of dead children.
However, I would emphasize that the forgiveness is lot like the grieving process. If a loved one has died, you never cease to feel some grief or sadness about them. The “end result” of the grieving process is that you can have a healthy appreciation for the dead person’s role in your life, and you can return to normal functioning in other areas of your life.
In the same way, someone who has forgiven someone isn’t necessarily free from emotions about the perpetrator of the crime. Forgiveness just means that you are not going to let these emotions drive your actions. You’re not seeking revenge or stewing in your desire for it. You have simply acknowledged that the thing has happened and that there is a need to move forward without further repercussions to any party. I think part of it is also the acknowledgment that all people occasionally do stupid, neglectful, hurtful and even hateful things.
I disagree. Forgiveness to me is telling somebody you don’t blame them for something.
That’s fine if the person is blameless. Or even if the person was to blame but now recognizes he was at fault and repents what he did.
But if you murder my grandmother, I’m not going to turn around the next day and forgive you. You’ve done nothing to deserve forgiveness. And you should be facing repercussions for what you did.
I’m not going to seek personal vengeance; I won’t be shooting you on the courthouse steps. I’ll let the legal system handle you. But I don’t need to forgive you in order to accept the fact that my grandmother is dead and grieve over it.
In 2001, a guy that was drunk and stoned drove him pickup truck through the picture window of my house, hitting my wife and dog in the process. Wife had a dislocated hip, and the dog shrapnel wounds. The damages to the house were roughly $35k.
It was the driver’s birthday, and he was celebrating. Despite numerous previous DWI convictions, he had a good lawyer and skated on the charges. I should also say he was a raging alcoholic.
For several years, I fumed at how he got away with less than a slap on the wrist, and would send him a birthday card with the message inside, “When you ever get to the part of a 12-step program where you ask your victims for forgiveness, the door is open.” Well, that obviously wasn’t forgiveness, but a passive-aggressive attempt to rub his nose in the situation.
Only after moving out of Indiana and losing track of the guy did I lose my venom. Now, it’s merely a tale to be told.
As for accidents taking a loved one? Easily forgiven–I know I’m not perfect and I don’t expect perfection. But sustained abuse is never an accident.
I like to say I’ve forgiven my mom and my ex (totally different scenarios!) but if I’m honest, no. I have moved on and to a great extent they are both powerless to harm me anymore and I almost never have the bad dreams anymore. But I’ve never let them know I harbor no ill will for them for their various wrong against me. Because that would be a lie. I still get physically ill when I have to interact with either of them, and that shames me.
I let go. I forgive, but I don’t forget. Not forgiving is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die. I need to live my life, and I want it to be a happy one. There is nothing beyond this life, so any time I give to hate, is time I lose.
Very well put and close to the way I feel. I don’t necessarily, consciously forgive but I do let things go. Many years ago I was the victim of a sexual assault. The defendant wrote me a long letter of apology, which I find to be a load of crap that his attorney must have put him up to. I carried the letter around in my wallet for a few years and then one day I was able to throw it away with no feelings whatsoever. That’s not even what I consider the worst thing that has ever been done to me, and there is currently no one that I have a grudge against.
This has happened and no, I was not angry at anyone.
Still, I get that being angry is a normal reaction. I even get that one may not be thinking rationally at such a time. What I don’t get is the notion that the family, who had absolutely no level of culpability, could be “forgiven.” They didn’t do anything to forgive. Maybe the person’s parents could be considered responsible for him being born in the first place, but even that is a stretch.
Realizing that the target of your anger has done nothing that harmed anyone is not forgiveness.
Maybe you’re using blame in a different context, but you can still blame someone for something you forgave them for. “You killed my grandmother” will be a true (or false) statement whether you forgive someone or not.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that you forego any repercussions. A sociopathic serial killer is not someone we can forgive and then put back on the street like nothing ever happened. We can recognize that these people are a menace to themselves and everyone around them.
As for grieving, I’m not saying that forgiveness has to be part of the grieving process. I’m just saying that you don’t ever reach a point where you feel no emotion about the event. It’s simply that you reach a point where you are not overwhelmed or controlled by that emotion.
I forgive and forget. It’s just not such a big deal to me, this offering of my “forgiveness.” Hell, even with my no-good molesting step-brother, it’s just a piece of my history. I simply don’t have time anymore for that kind of bullshit. I’m ready to move on as quickly as humanely possible.
If a transgression has been done to me, I never forget and seldom forgive. That being said, I don’t dwell on them.
My philosophy is this: revenge is a dish best served cold. Just be patient and when an opportunity arises, then act.