Thursday, January 15, 2009

Forgiveness Often Does More For the Forgiver

originally published at modern molly mormon

Is it required of me to truly forgive someone who has altered my life so drastically?
In the January 1974 Ensign, Elder Marion D. Hanks said the following.
"What is our response when we are offended misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, passed over, hurt by those we love, our offerings rejected? Do we resent, become bitter, and hold a grudge? Or do we resolve the problem if we can, forgive and rid ourselves of the burden?"
"The nature of our response to such situation smay well determine the nature and quality of our lives, here and eternally."
Forgiveness can be one of the hardest steps that we have to take as victims of abuse. It is often a long process, which requires a lot of prayer and fasting. Often it seems unfair that the Lord would require us to forgive when we have been wronged. However, if we will remember everything our Father in HEaven requires of us is for our own good, we will begin to understand that forgiveness is really for us, the wounded ones.
Boyd K. Packer said it like this.
"This is my counsel to you. If you have festering sores, a grudge, some bitterness, disappointment, or jealousy, get hold of yourself. You may not be able to control things out there with others but you can control things here, inside of you. It will then be as though a cloudy, dirty film has been erased from the world around you' and though the problem may remain, the sun will come out. The beam will have been lifted from your eyes. There will come a peace that surpasseth understanding." (Ensign, November 1977)
And H. Burke Peterson summed it all up very well when he counseled,
"Forgiveness of others for wrongs, imaginary or real, often does more for the forgiver than for the forgiven." (Ensign, November 1983)
Forgiveness is something I am still working on. I still harbor some very negative feelings toward my abuser. However, I know the importance of forgiveness. And although it may take many more years, I will continue to work toward being able to truly forgive him for what he has done to me.


Enola said...

Lest I be accused of stalking :) I'm commenting. I'd love to add you to my blog roll and as a follower, if that's okay. Oh and the "fast pass to heaven" is reciprocal, so feel free to add me and follow my blog. I love your sense of humor.

Okay as to forgiveness, I have read and heard that forgiveness is giving to God the right to seek retribution. If that is the true definition, then I'm there. If it's anything more, I'm not. I have to confess to a feeling of joy and validation (and a true love of karma) when I found out my abuser had a major heart attack last year.

RVB said...

Hope things are going well this week while you are away. (((Hugs))) I'm sure it has been difficult, but hope you've found some peace.

As for forgiveness, I like Enola's definition and feel that though justice won't be served in this life, it certainly will in the next. I trust the Lord that everything will turn out the way it is supposed to. It also helps that I have no contact with my abuser. Seeing him on a regular basis would probably throw me for a loop and undo some of the healing that's occurred.

Thanks for your posts, even when you're away!

*Strong and Determined*

April said...

I have been trying for 20 years and still can't do it. Right now, I just can't forgive him.

Ethereal Highway said...

I think that if forgiveness for such unthinkable atrocities were natural and healthy, then it would not be so difficult and we would not feel wronged by the concept being applied to this type of abuse. I also find it interesting that I have run into countless 'definitions' for the same word. I have not encountered that for any other word, not even 'love'. I think this is because survivors already know what forgiveness means and they understand, even if only unconsciously, that it is inappropriate to their situation. The problem is, that instead of just saying, "No, I don't forgive this," people will fall all over themselves trying to come up with an alternate definition for the word 'forgiveness' so they can be seen as a forgiving person. That's because survivors know deep down on a gut level that the concept doesn't fit the situation, and because they are terrified of being seen in a bad light by being unforgiving.

Everyone will do what it is they will do, but I have found a really good measure of relief in just declining to forgive. I'm not going to invalidate the child that lives inside by putting a perp ahead of validating her truth. Personally, I think forgiveness is just a form of denial. It allows us to say that it wasn't THAT bad. If we have no choice but to forgive, then we had BETTER not admit how bad it was, or there will be enormous inner conlict and it won't stay under the rug. Forgiveness is a way to have no choice but to dissociate the truth of how it really was. It stands in the way of healing.