Dear Dr. Romance:
Thank you for your article on "Apology and Forgiveness". The process of forgiving is powerful and extremely helpful. I have searched for such information many years and have truly believed that forgiveness is not something you just do. I am a Masters Candidate in pastoral studies in what is called a field education program where I have developed my own program in helping to develop leadership among high school students.
This program allows me to work with a group of other M.Div. candidates once a week to discuss issues that have arisen. My issue was forgiveness and I felt even through the discussion went well I was misunderstood because Christians often believe it is your Christian obligation and duty to forgive.
And if you do not automatically do so, you are doomed and you will not be healed and I tried to explain to them that forgiveness is much more difficult than just turning it over to God and letting God heal me.
I knew there was something more and your process gives me that something more. I tried to explain to them that I am a mid-life African-American male who has seen more pain and suffering in one life than anyone can imagine. I have been hurt by other men, almost raped, I have seen women raped, I have been poor. I have been hungry and I have been depressed from time to time. My faith has gotten me through these difficult time but I have never learned how to forgive myself and to forgive others. Now I believe I have the process. I have struggled with being overweight and struggled with racism and hatred My entire life.
I have tried to find the joy in everything and I believe one of the major issues I was missing was how to forgive myself and others. Your point about making sure you are in a safe place is powerful. I tried to explain that to my peers but they did not understand how can you forgive someone who has hurt you before and has hurt you again, and shows no signs of understanding that hurt and there is no evidence that he will not try to hurt anyone else in the future it is not a safe place. Please forgive me for the length of this e-mail as you do not know me from Adam, but I had to say thank you. I will work your process and I will do my best to no longer emotionally and physically harm myself by overeating. God bless you and I thank you from the depths of my heart.
Willie, thank you for contacting me, and letting me know the article was helpful to you. You made my day! This is exactly the kind of help I hope to give people. Here are some similar articles to help you and your colleagues learn more about forgiveness.
"Coping with Critics" has techniques for handling the criticism of others. "Comforting the Little Orphan Girl" will help you understand how to comfort yourself when the pain of the past survaces. "Drama, Trauma and Time Travel" is a powerful technique for resolving issues from the past. "Emotional Hygiene" is a program for managing your emotions on an ongoing basis, and "The Nail in the Fence: Healing Wounds" has informaiton about repairing relationships after damage has been done.
It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will show you how childhood trauma operates in your life today, and how to resolve the issues.
I wish you good luck with your Masters degree and your subsequent career as a minister. You'll do much good in the world.
For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com