Saturday, December 01, 2007

Forgiving the Abuser

I think that often, when a victim says he or she "forgives" someone, they are just pretending that they aren't powerless to make the offender stop it or to get back what he stole.

Talk about "playing Pretend."

The reason I say this is because it's fashionable to forgive all sorts of unforgiveable things, and you hear people doing it every day.

You even hear people claiming to have forgiven a criminal while at the same time testifying against him in a hearing for imposing the death penalty.

How much farce can we take!

The word forgiveness has been totally bastardized by preachers and holier-than-thous. The nearest I can figure, they have all but corrupted it into meaning some kind warm, fuzzy feeling you claim to have toward someone you may nonetheless want to be executed for what he did.

Forgiveness. I know it's three syllables, but is it really that tough a word?

I'm in line with theologians on this (because they tend to think instead of just preach whatever sells). They will be the first to tell you that you cannot forgive an offense in progress, for example. It's bogus.

Can you forgive someone while they're trying to kill you? While they're raping you? While they're breaking into your home? Theologians will be the first to tell that this brand of "forgiveness" ain't real forgiveness and amounts to ALLOWING the offense. It's just bending over for it.

If you live with an abusive narcissist, you cannot forgive him or her. Why? Because they deny what they do to you, let alone that it is wrong. They show no remorse. The don't promise to stop. In fact they make a virtue of doing it and show that they fully intend to keep right on. That is an offense in progress. You cannot forgive it.

All you can do is lie by pretending to forgive it. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact. This is a little mental game you play with yourself to feel you have some control over the situation.

Again, for example, if someone has stolen from you and squandered the money, you may be able to forgive without restitution. But if he has the money in the bank, you cannot forgive him until he gives it back. Because that ain't forgiveness: it's extortion. You're just powerless to do anything to stop it and are deluding yourself to remain in denial of that fact.

It's the same if he stole something even more valuable, like your good name. It must be restored before you can legitimately forgive.

The truth is often painful. But not as painful as fleeing into denial of it. For, it is true: having the courage to know the truth is key, because the truth will set you free.

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19 Comments:

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Billy said...

Your blogs are filled with insight and I agree with so many of them. I have to respectfully differ a little on this one, though. I don't think forgiveness really has anything to do with how the perpetrator behaves. It's all about oneself. And you said that sounds like an illusion of control, but I really don't think it is an illusion. Forgiveness is basically releasing a grudge against the perpetrator so that you are given the capability to eventually come free from the perpetrator's snare. Who forgiveness really helps is yourself, not so much the other person. Holding unforgiveness inside poisons *you*, not them. In a sense, forgiveness is not allowing the other person to win or to ultimately affect your inner being.

Now, forgiveness is *not* looking the other way, denying or minimizing what happened, or even forgoing the chance for justice. Not one iota. It's also certainly not sticking around for more.

It's about naming the offense for what it objectively is, releasing a grudge against the perpetrator (which is not in any way a verdict of "not guilty"), and then finding how to get free so that you're no longer subject to abuse from a perpetrator. Forgiveness is about strength, not weakness. Without forgiveness on your part, the perpretrator in a sense wins.

As they say, "the best revenge is living well."

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous jan said...

Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for this article.

 
At 6:42 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Billy, Like I said, that's all "forgiveness" is to many people anymore - just a vague sentiment, not an action verb, not traditional forgiveness. I don't see where your idea of "forgiveness" is any different than my idea of being at peace with the fact that they will not let you forgive them.

You just call that "forgiveness," and I don't.

Have they changed the definition of "forgiveness," or what?

You know, as in forgiveing a debt. That is a deed, a thing you do. Not a mere sentiment.

Do you really think that you just have to say that you don't want your money and good name back anymore? That the N can just keep them?

If not, then you aren't forgiving them. If you are seeking justice you aren't forgiving them.

Actually, people have done away with forgiveness by reducing it to a fuzzy feeling. They really don't do it anymore.

What do you mean by "carrying a grudge"? Wanting back what an N stole that belongs to you? I do and always will and that ain't no sin: it's my right.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgiving people who are well aware of their deeds, donn't confess their sins, who donn't admit and take blame, donn't change their conduct, is not a sign of strenght. It's capitulating. It's going into denial. Look the other way.
There is no religion who forgives this way. Jesus didn't. The God of the Bible doesn't. Evil which is not confessed and asked forgivness for is punished
God holds a 'grudge' to everyone who keeps behaving this way. He wonn't forget and will judge them in the end. Allah does the same. With Boeddha you get condemmed to many difficult lives till you learn. In Hindoe it's the same.
And all this comes from real world, real feelings.
There is no God in any religion who smiles to evil people and without asking them to change forgives them. No, they are send to hell!
Holding no grunge is at the opposite no strength but fooling yourself and by that a weakness.
Feeling this anger and opposition against these people is your strenght to resist and to fight them. Forgiving them this way would be a sin, cause it would give them another carte-blanche to go on with no consequences.
Maybe Jan means that a ongoing state of personal grudge to someone that is not evolving in more awareness can keep you hostage and, in this way still a victim of the abuser.
But even then your anger is your strenght. It's a nessasary and very important step to more awareness. And the possibility of gradualy letting go most of the personal grudge.
But if this ever comes to the point of saying, 'I forgive you', to your abuser who never admitted or payed back, you're playing a trick on yourself that proofs for me your grudge is in fact still very deep.
Jezus only once said: 'Forgive them for they donn't know what they do'.
I donn't know exactly who he was revering to but it couldn't have been narcissist. Cause they know exactly what they do.

greetings, Gerard

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger Billy said...

Kathy,

Hi. Actually, I think we agree more than I first realized. :)

"just a vague sentiment, not an action verb, not traditional forgiveness."

I see what you mean. And in my definition, forgiveness is an act, not a feeling.

"my idea of being at peace with the fact that they will not let you forgive them."

Actually, in some ways that isn't so different from mine! :) But ultimately forgiving someone doesn't depend on their stance toward you IMO, although an apology from them can usually make forgiving them easier. But it's definitely about making peace for yourself on several levels.

"Have they changed the definition of "forgiveness," or what?"

In the modern world, perhaps.

"You know, as in forgiveing a debt. That is a deed, a thing you do. Not a mere sentiment."

Right. And that's very similar to what I think forgiveness is on an emotional level too.

"Do you really think that you just have to say that you don't want your money and good name back anymore? That the N can just keep them?"

No. I don't think you really have to stop *wanting* all that back in order to forgive someone. But usually you realize you'll never get it back anyway.

"If not, then you aren't forgiving them. If you are seeking justice you aren't forgiving them."

There is where we differ. For instance, if a drunk driver hits you and injures you, you can forgive the person while still taking them to court to sue for damages.

"Actually, people have done away with forgiveness by reducing it to a fuzzy feeling. They really don't do it anymore."

You're right. And it's a shame that's happened.


"What do you mean by "carrying a grudge"? Wanting back what an N stole that belongs to you? I do and always will and that ain't no sin: it's my right."

You know, the more that I think about it, it's actually kind of difficult to verbalize what forgiveness really is. Wanting back what an N stole from you is not a sin--and it is indeed your right.

As best as I can define it, it seems to me that holding a grudge is basically saying I am going to keep harboring bitterness and resentness toward the other person. It's very similar to hate. Now, I think it's find to hate their *deeds*, but not to hate the other person per se. Maybe that isn't a very good definition, but it's the best I can come up with at the moment. :)

Anyway, below are a few snippets of stuff I pasted from the Internet concerning how I would define forgiveness. (If you want the URLs, I can go back and find them.) And I'm glad that we actually don't really differ all that much about this matter in certain ways. :)

Sorry if this post runs too long.
--------------

Forgiveness is about forgiving people, not behaviors.

-------------
"Unforgiveness is a form of stress," says Dr. Worthington. "If we maintain this for a long time, we're going to experience cardiovascular disorders, stress-related disorders, and maybe anger-related disorders and fear-related disorders as well.'

If physical health isn't enough to convince you to consider forgiveness, consider the mental benefits. Put simply, unforgiveness just doesn't feel good. "It's really not a good state of mind," says Welshons. "In the end, you suffer even more." In other words, unforgiveness can hurt you more than it hurts the object of your emotions. Nine times out of ten, he or she could care less.
-------------
There's clear evidence that if people apologize, it's easier to forgive. Forgiveness, though, is not limited by that. You can forgive even if the person utters no conciliatory words and suffers no consequence, because forgiveness is always for you. You forgive by remembering what happened and you commit yourself to it never happening again. Or, you can remember it and say, "I'm not going to suffer any more. I'm going to bring some goodness to the people in my life." It's an active quality. It has nothing to do with forgetting. And it's a very powerful statement.

Forgiveness is about healing. In every class I teach I have to make the distinction between justice, reconciliation, condoning and forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean you condone the action. It doesn't mean you have to reconcile with or like the person who did it. You are perfectly able to say, "This was such a heinous act, I sever my relationship with them." And it doesn't mean you don't seek justice. These are separate acts from the inner healing that occurs. Forgiveness means that you don't take what happened as just personal, that you see it as a part of the bigger, ongoing human experience of hurt, resolution, conflict and negotiation.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I'm sorry but forgiveness is simply forgiving the debt. That's what it is. It's saying they don't owe you anything. That's what it is.

You are trying to do something else instead and then call it forgiveness. But that doesn't get you credit for forgiveness. In fact, bogus forgiveness of a debt you can't collect on anyway is no virtue.

Forgiveness has become nothing but a buzzword. I think it basically is being changed into meaning "Don't let your anger boil for the rest of your life." Okay, good advice, but that's not forgiveness.

When the family of a murdered person is so impressed by the remorse of the killer that they plead for leniency, that's forgiveness. It is a fine, fine, fine thing that shouldn't be cheapened by throwing the word around like this.

You cannot still be seeking damages from someone you say you have forgiven.

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I know whom Jesus was referring to - the men crucifying him. I don't know why everyone takes those words as forgiveness though. In other situations, Jesus said "You are forgiven" and/or "I forgive you."

Here he DID NOT say that these people were forgiven. He said, "God forgive them."

You won't find him using that phrase anywhere else.

"For they know not what they do" doesn't mean that they were innocently unaware. Those words could just as easily have been translated to convey the message that these men were "unknowing," being willfully blind.

Jesus often nailed people with the old "You have eyes but do not see" dig.

Indeed, when we say, "God forgive them" what do we mean? We certainly don't mean that we fgorgive them ourselves, do we?

We mean that it is unforgiveable. For sheer dread of that, we hope that God at least can somehow forgive them.

Same here. What they were doing was inforgiveable. And Jesus did not forgive them.

Was their not knowing what they were doing something that made them innocent? No! It is precisely what made them unforgiveable. They were UNKNOWING what they were doing. They were unknowing that they were doing anything wrong. They were acting like stupid, inhuman brutes.

Haven't you ever seen people do that? To unknow how bad a thing their doing, they act like it's noting. I can picture the scene: the crucifiers laughing and talking and checking out the chicks and eating their lunch.

Any theologian will tell you that "resisting the known truth" is the Unforgivbale Sin" because it is the unrepented sin.

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous W. said...

This is all interesting. I can forgive if the other party, that has caused me damage and pain, is willing to make amends, and then not by words, but by action.
If not, I cannot forgive, as then forgiving is a fake action on my part, meaning, Im not ok doing it as I feel I betray myself if I do.

I sometimes feel if people (N's in this case) have taken from me, a solution for me, emotionally is to say to them in my mind: "here, you can HAVE what you took from me, my good name, my money or anything else, you can have it, if it is so important for you to do that kind of sick stuff". In one way or another, it takes me out of the battle I feel I am (or have been )participating in and feel a sense of peace. Don't know how that fits in with forgiveness, as I am surely not forgiving the N.
Let me get back to this some other time and see if I can make more sense. Kathy, I love your blog, been reading for several weeks now and some stuff (well, most), but some stuff helped me get clarity about the narcissists abuse and to then get blamed for it myself by people and the N, a total reversal of reality, that left me in a painful prison for quite some time. Your posts on this abuse and your views on it really clarified a lot for me and helped me to gain strength. I have been taught I should bend over for abuse and those particular posts you made about that and the fact it is a RAPE opened my eyes I indeed have been morally/emotionally raped during my life, too often.
Anyway, thanks for your blog.

 
At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, 'resisting the KNOWN truth'. And narcissists know the truth very well. And they use this truth to willfully commit even more sins.
Pilatus resisted the known truth by washing his hands. He tried to release Jezus from the deathpenalty. He didn't act as a narcissist. Still he is not forgiven. So, if this is an example of the unforgiveble sin what must be the sin of a narcissist?
I know Jezus revered to the men who crucified him and asked his Father to forgive them, for he couldn't. Maybe it were narcissists, we'll never know.
I think Jezus would realy have loved to forgive them as he did to one criminal who hanged next to him. But this man confessed his sins and from deep within asked him to release him of his guild; to forgive him. Jezus -bij God- did.
This makes the big differance I think.
When he forgave people he always insisted on following him in his belief. This mend, make good what you did wrong and from now on donn't sin anymore. Live according the laws of God. And if you fale make it up with people and try again.
I love to forgive my abuser. But she wonn't let me cause she knows when she would ask me I will only forgive her if she undoes the wrongs she did. By starting telling people the truth for instance. Give me back my good name in them. She took their sympathy from me to her with lies. Offcourse I'll never can 'give' this stolen thing to her and let her have it without repayment.
That's why you 'for-give' and not 'give'. There must be a payback. It's allready in the word.
Giving someone a thing she/he stole from you is not possible. It cannot be 'giving'. It's a contradiction.
You can only 'for-give' in awaiting and demanding the repayment. To get even.
And this is still only the first step. Just to level up.

greetings, Gerard

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger Mata Hari said...

Kathy,

I personally don't believe forgiveness is necessarily the way to go. I know that for me - having been a very naturally forgiving person - only gave people the license to continue with their bad behavior because they thought "Oh she won't mind she always forgives me anyway."

It wasn't until I realized that forgiveness was new age bull-shit imo and started asking the narcissists in my life serious questions about their behavior that the light shone brightly on their evil sick troubled souls.

I never would have know the depth of their depravity if I had gone on forgiving them. In fact, I would probably still be in their clutches.

Although the process was painful I will never regret NOT forgiving the last few narcissists in my life for it has opened up a whole new world for me - the real world.

I don't believe I am holding a grudge against my special narcissists. However, when and if I ever do run into these twisted individuals again - I will make sure they receive some form of comeuppance and that they know it is by me.

Perhaps a little narcissistic but I am tired of bad guys winning. I think with patience and common sense I can eventually win this ongoing war against narcissists who I mistakenly forgave in the past.

The positive aspect of exposing the narcissist for what they are: fraud, sicko, cheat, grifter, scam artists, rapist, exploiter, repressed "whatever" etc....is that it ensures you will never ever entertain, befriend or fall in lvoe with any other narcissist again.

Thanks for your blog! I appreciate all the experience and knowledge you are sharing!! :)

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Billy said...

"I'm sorry but forgiveness is simply forgiving the debt. That's what it is."

Kathy,

Hi. OK, we'll have to agree to disagree. That's fine. Jesus never really commanded this kind of forgiveness, though, in my opinion. IOW, he commanded us to forgive the sinner, but not the sin itself. There's definitely a distinction. You can forgive a person their evil without forgiving thee evil per se. Of course, the upshot is that you're leaving any vengeance for the evil up to God.

anonymous wrote:

"There is no religion who forgives this way. Jesus didn't."

But Jesus commanded *us* to forgive unconditionally. He said that if we do not forgive, then he would not forgive our own sins.

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

>Jesus never really commanded this kind of forgiveness, though, in my opinion. IOW, he commanded us to forgive the sinner, but not the sin itself.< You're putting words in his mouth. He said no such thing. It wouldn't make sense. If you forgive the debt, you forgive the debtor. There is no forgiving one without the other.

You are treating the word "forgiveness" as though it is interchangable with the word "love." When you mush these concepts together, both lose any real meaning in the resulting confusion.

And love is another topic that has been mushed up. He said to love your neighbor as yourself. Your NEIGH-BOR.

What happened to the word "NEIGHBOR" in that three-word sentence? How come a billion Christians have failed to notice it in that 3-word sentence? How come they all think it means "Love everyone including the evil? including those out to destroy you for just existing?"

He and other religious thinkers of his day said to love your NEIGHBOR, not to love strangers halfway around the world. Not to love people attacking you. To love your NEIGHBOR. In the parable of the good Samaritan, he gets specific about who your neighbor (neigh-bor) is = Someone NEAR who doesn't become distant the moment you need help. You know - "near" as in "near and dear." Oh, how people love to love strangers halfway round the world. A safe distance away.

While hating (rejecting) their NEIGHBOR.

Who might NEED something or might be handy to look down on or whose friendship might be a liability when people are gossipping.

Jesus didn't command us to forgive unconditionally. It went without saying till the last few decades that repentance is a prerequisite for forgiveness.

You claim that it would be right for God to do things that it would be wrong for us to do. This is one of the most mind-boggling claims Christians and Muslims and Jews make. Anything goes under such a double-standard.

Logic asks: How can it be right for God to do a sin? What? cannot he live up to the same standards he sets for us? If he can't, then he's inferior to us.

Answer: ?

If a thing is wrong for us to do, it would be wrong for God to do. And vice versa. In imitating God, people cannot be doing evil.

Disagreeing with that carries some thundering implications.

Then Christians wonder why others scratch their heads at this stuff.

Even Thomas Aquinas (who never had an original thought in his head) assured us that God cannot make round be square or black be white. The truth must be rational.

If it is right for God not to forgive some offenses, it is right for us not to claim to forgive them either. People with moral sense know when it is appropriate to forgive. Decent people do not find it hard to forgive and need no commandment to forgive. They greatly desire to forgive the N. They just can't, because the N is obdurately unforgiveable.

What's more, forgiveness can only come from the offended party. Mushers have taken off with the doctrine that God too is offended by sins against people to act as though God is the only offended party and that the damaged human being sinned against has nothing coming from the offender to repair the damage.

Don't ask me to make sense of this all. It ain't my problem. Life with narcissists taught me to unload it and think for myself.

Funny how then suddenly the only one left who deserved and wanted forgiveing was me. I then found it easy to forgive myself for putting up with abuse for so long. Not that I haven't made a firm purpose of amendment never to do so again.

What a wondrous reconciliation with myself! So long as I am sorry that I betrayed myself to abuse and live up to my promise never to do so again, I am best friends with myself again.

Ah, repentance/forgiveness - what a precious thing! When it's the REAL thing.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

>Of course, the upshot is that you're leaving any vengeance for the evil up to God.<

Of course the upshot is that you must do nothing. You are to sit there in a destroyed heap and wait for God to come and punish the person who attacked you.

Of course the upshot is that protecting yourself by NOT letting offenders off scott free, is a sin.

Hey, if those are the rules, I want a fresh start in life so I can be one of the bad guys.

Indeed, I think N's like this rule. It makes it a sin for the victim to seek justice, reparations. It makes it a sin to do anything that would deter future attacks.

As Dante said, the bad guys, not the good guys, made up this stupid rule that paralyzes the just. For only in Hell is justice regarded an evil thing. He portrays the vast crass millions of souls there at the Vestibule crybabying about it at the tops of their lungs.

Oh, how mean and vindictive justice is in their eyes!

The Inquisitors tried this one on Joan of Arc, and she replied that taking up arms was necessary because "God helps those who help themselves." Not those who sit around crying that "God will get you for this." And she didn't invent that saying: it was already common in the 15th century.

So, according to the brand of Christianity popular today, Dante and Joan of Arc weren't such good Christians after all. Too logical, maybe?

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Billy said...

"You're putting words in his mouth. He said no such thing. It wouldn't make sense. If you forgive the debt, you forgive the debtor. There is no forgiving one without the other."

I'm not saying that He explicitly said that, but it seems to be implied based on a lot of other things He said.

"He and other religious thinkers of his day said to love your NEIGHBOR, not to love strangers halfway around the world."

Your neighbor is your fellow human.

"Jesus didn't command us to forgive unconditionally."

He did in Matthew 18:21-22. Also, in the Lord's prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

"You claim that it would be right for God to do things that it would be wrong for us to do."

Huh? We're not God. He commands worship. We can't do that. We don't have the same privileges He does, but that doesn't imply that He can do wrong.

"Ah, repentance/forgiveness - what a precious thing! When it's the REAL thing."

Amen to that. :)

"You are to sit there in a destroyed heap and wait for God to come and punish the person who attacked you."

Nonsense, Kathy. It doesn't mean you don't protect yourself--that isn't a sin. But that's different from enacting personal revenge. An example of personal revenge would be trying to burn down the N's house, or something similarly vicious. IMO, that *would* be a sin.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

>"He and other religious thinkers of his day said to love your NEIGHBOR, not to love strangers halfway around the world."

Your neighbor is your fellow human.<

I can just as well say that "up" means "down." In other words, your answer is invalid.

I can't make it more clear: your neighbor is someone near to you. See the word "neigh" in it? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, jesus asked who the victim's neighbor was. The answer wasn't the one you are giving, was it?

The English language is public property. Words mean what they mean.

>He did in Matthew 18:21-22. Also, in the Lord's prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."<

No he didn't. You are again putting words in his mouth. Forgive us AS we forgive others. This doesn't mean we must forgive even the unrepentant who keep right on offending to be worthy of God's forgiveness, because check your God out - he doesn't forgive the unrepentant either. It would be sinful of us to demand such forgiveness from God. This line simply prays for the same treatment we give others in this regard. It is no command to forgive the unforgivable.

Nothing Jesus said ever commanded that. People take it out of context and twist it to mean all sorts of nonsense. Like the nonsense that conflicts with the FACT why did he always (even when desiring to be alone) took at least three ARMED men with him? What for pray tell?

Does anyone really need to be told that the apostles served as his bodyguards?

Did he do this because he didn't believe in self-defense? According to many who worship the wimpy charicature they've made of Jesus, that's right.

They cheat his heroic deed in Gesthsemenie when he told them not to fight because they were too few and would just get themselves killed. They twist this statement of his into a commandment to never use a weapon in self defense.

"You claim that it would be right for God to do things that it would be wrong for us to do."

Huh? We're not God. He commands worship. We can't do that. We don't have the same privileges He does, but that doesn't imply that He can do wrong.

Right, like I said, you claim that it would be right for God to do things that it would be wrong for us to do.

No, it doesn't imply that he can do wrong, it asserts that he can do wrong.

>Nonsense, Kathy. It doesn't mean you don't protect yourself--that isn't a sin. But that's different from enacting personal revenge. An example of personal revenge would be trying to burn down the N's house, or something similarly vicious. IMO, that *would* be a sin.<

Me? "nonsense?"

And who was talking about that? No one. Just what do you think the difference between justice and revenge is? I really want to know. Is there any difference in your book? Or, is it justice if God does it and revenge if the victim does it?

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Not claiming to have forgiven the unforgiveable is NOT the moral equivalent of "wanting to burn down the offender's house."

Why is it always spoken of as such? Why are those preachers of forgiveness always making it out to be malice?

Normal people have no desire to burn down the Ns house. They have a desire to do only what will make the abuser stop. In other words, they want only PEACE.

What is peace? It is no longer coming under constant attack, that's what.

But to hear many tell it, you'd think peace is sitting around not lifting a finger to protect yourself, being blind, deaf, dumb, and in denial that you are under attack. So long as you are not fighting, they think you are at peace, even though you are under attack from all sides.

Sheesh.

As Joan of Arc said, the only place to find peace from bullies is at the point of a lance.

That's all normal people want to do - show the bully that you will fight back so that he leaves you alone.

And Christianity should STOP MAKING A SIN OF THAT!

As i have said before: we are like other animals in this. The moment we see that we have deterred the offender, that the predator is headed off, we are done. We are not even tempted to lay another hand on him.

And I really don't like the implication that people who don't proclaim that they forgive the unforgivable are guilty of any malice. There is no moral equivalence there whatsoever.

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Billy said...

As for whether I think there's a difference between justice and revenge--yes. If someone commits a crime against you, justice would be attempting proper resolution through the courts. Revenge would be committing some kind of personal attack against the perpetrator.

Thanks for your comments, Kathy. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. :)

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous gabrielsemmy said...

Hello,
I realize that I am more than a month late on this topic but I have just read it today. I want to thank all of you who wrote in about forgiveness as this has been a topic I have been struggling with in my heart for some time now and I think some of the comments have given me a better clarity of what I have been trying unsucessfully to express.
I was trying to explain to my would-be Christian marraige counselors that there is a difference between being able to forgive a man who was abusive for 30 years and being able to trust him to the point of complete reconciliation. I do not understand why there has been so much emphasis on reconciliation as proof of forgiveness... And I have to add that, I was only the "victim" in the church's view until he repented of his behavior; then the onus was on me to make things "right." It doesn't even register with the leadership that he has slandered my name by innuendo, that he has convinced otherwise God-fearing people to betray me, or that the whole situation of abusive behavior has been minimized. All this is denied and turned on me as being unforgiving.
Why would I want to forgive under the terms where it means to put myself back in the perpetrator's hands? Why would I subject myself to a community which sees me, a woman who was faithful and tried for 30 years to make the marriage work, as a villian? Why would I choose to allow myself to be treated as a leper who must prove herself clean again? If he is so clean and wholesome in his intentions toward me, then would he not fight for my ability to find emotional healing instead of contributing to further depression and physical disorders?
Please tell me that I am seeing this with the eyes of sanity! I do believe it is necessary to forgive, in fact I have been a very forgiving for a very long time, but I also believe that forgiveness can't be forced or demanded - God did give us free will after all.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Of course you are. People do that out of phoniness to be holier-than-thou. When their faith is put to the test, it proves itself bogus in ways like this.

 

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