The Long Road To Forgiveness

by BurnTheShips 49 Replies latest jw friends

  • snowbird

    Letting go of anger and forgiving don't necessarily have to go hand-in-hand.

    For instance, I've forgiven the U.S. and the State of Alabama for their part in enslaving my ancestors, but my anger still simmers just beneath the surface. It only takes a small slight for it to boil up and over.

    Your point about the hypocrisy of your actions are all too true of many of us. We expect others to forgive readily, but it's an entirely different story when it comes to us!


  • NanaR

    Thanks Burn.

    This is why my favorite part of the Our Father prayer is: "forgive us our trespasses, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS against us"

    As we forgive, so we are forgiven.

    Anger and hatred will destroy a person from the inside out. I know. I was angry with God for many many years. The anger was so deeply buried that I could not even see it was there -- but I could feel the bitterness that it engendered.

    I had to learn that the God I was taught to worship was not the God who came to earth to save me. I could not remain angry at the suffering God on the Cross.

    I needed to read this this morning too.

    Love you, Burn.

  • Mr. Majestic
    Mr. Majestic
    Letting go of anger and forgiving don't necessarily have to go hand-in-hand.

    I was under the impression that what forgiveness means is to let go of the anger.

    I am sure that even if you have achieved forgiveness in your life, if you think about the situation you would feel anger and that it would be appropriate. But it is the letting go of the anger and resentment that was achieved with the state of forgiveness........??

    Don't quote me on this. I struggled with this point for years...........

    Edit to add:

    My philosophy was more:-

    "forgive us our trespasses, but eliminate those that trespass against us".

    Wouldn’t be out of place with the god of the OT would it……..??

  • Rapunzel

    I understand the point that Narkissos makes, and I agree with him.

    I sense - and when I say sense, it means that I feel but am not able to easily verbalize or put into words [at least not easily at the present moment] - something manipulative and even a little sinister afoot here. I sense a group with a - dare I say it? - "political" agenda.

    This woman's ability to forgive is extremely admirable; and in this respect I do not doubt her sincerity at all.

    I am highly distrustful of the expression, "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior." In fact, I often feel a low degree of nausea when I hear it, and for several reasons.

    1.) Often [not always, but often], there is another phrase, either explicitly stated or implicitly "hinted" at, that if a person [ I or anyone else] does not accept Jesus as one's personal savior, the consequences will be eternal damnation and perdition. This idea I find offensive in the extreme. The notion is that all other people, all Buddhists; Hindus, Moslems, Jews; Sihks; Jains; and others stand condemned in God's eyes simply because of their own sincere beliefs. This is a hateful, and essentially hate-filled, idea that is too disgusting and absurd to even respond to.

    2.) Often, [again, not always, but often], the phrase "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior" is uttered by smug and ignorant people who know little, if absolutely nothing, about Christianity or other religions in the world. All religions offer a path to the Transcendent Divinity, if that is what people are looking for. All religions are equally good in that they allow their followers to transcend their selffish and self-centered egos and reach a higher realm beyond quotidien cares and preoccupations. In short, if there exists an Infinite Godhead, it is only logical to assume that there are an infinite number of paths available to reach this Transcendent Being. But it is also logical to assume that the path that a particular person chooses should best fit the local conditions in which a person finds him or herself. Religion is just part of a greater social and cultural matrix or reality, Religion is connected to history; to art; to literature; to philosophy; to music; and to language. All these things "come together" and are interconnected. My basic point is that it is probably best for a person to adhere to the particular religion and culture into which he or she was born. Of course, I am not against conversion per se. If a person wants to change religions, then he or she should most definitely be free to do so. But there is always a danger that a person can become "disorientated" if (s)he strays out of his or her own religious tradition. And besides, there really is no pressing need to change one's religion, given that all religions lead to the same "place" ultimately. I have read that this is the attitude of the Dalai Lama. When people ask him, "How can I become a Tibetan Buddhist?", he responds, "Why would you want to? You already have Christianity [or Islam, or Judaism, or Hinduism, whatever the case may be]." This leads to the third reason for my distrust and suspicions.

    3.) I am especially leery of people uttering the phrase, "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior," if these people are coming from a tradition other than a Christian one. Given that they have left their own tradition and entered one which is "alien" to them, I feel that they are "ripe for" abuse and manipulation. Of course, the reverse is also true - Those who leave their own Judeo-Christian religious tradition to become Hindus or Buddhists or whatever, are prone to being abused and manipulated by dishonest characters. Every religion has its "bad strains," its abusive and unsavory aspects. Even Tibetan Buddhism has its negative elements. People need to be extremely careful when choosing a "guru,' or a savior/messiah.

    What I do not understand is why this lady could not be content with her own Buddhist tradition. Buddhism also offers a wonderful "template" or model for forgiveness. In its essence, Buddhism is a wonderful religion that teaches peace; reverance for life; and forgiveness. There was really no need for her to leave her tradition behind and adopt the "alien" Christian religion. And Christianity is decidedly an alien religion for far Eastern people. Far Eastern people are born and raised in an entirely different cultural "constellation" of philosophic; artistic; literary; folkloric; aesthetic; and musical norms.

    When this lady says, "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior," I tend to feel that she has been manipulated by charlatans. If anybody says that there is but one way to salvation, they are a liar and a fraud. Such an attitude is not compatible with any true essence of religion,

    I understand Narkissos' point that the "factory" that produced the napalm is the same one that gave issue to the phrase "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior." Whereas each may have been produced in different and separate "shops," they were both evidently produced in the same American "factory." Too often, the phrase in question constitutes a mindless cliche; it reflects the ignorant babbling of American hypocrites. The lady herself is obviously sincere. Nonetheless, there remains the strong suspicion that she has been manipulated psychologically.

  • BurnTheShips
  • BabaYaga

    Narcissos: Forgiveness is a selfish act. It is an act of pure love that is actually self-preserving. If she had chosen a road of hatred and revenge, it would have eaten her up. Like I said before...

    Hatred (and obsession with revenge, for that matter) is like DRINKING POISON AND WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DIE.

    She is NOT deluded with her "Christianity", she is truly at a point where she has made peace... whatever label you want to paste onto her jar. These things cannot happen immediately, and anger is a healthy part of the process, but it is not the end.

    Acceptance and forgiveness does not mean that one has no self-preservation. To the contrary... it IS self-preservation.

    And Dinah: This is not about the Vietnam war, or any other war. This is about rising above and moving beyond what happens to us.


  • llbh

    Thnaks for posting this Burn

    i remember this potograph very well it is an iconic image.

    What a powerful message


  • Narkissos

    Baba Yaga: Do I really need to explain that I didn't intend to make any criticism about this person nor the path she took -- not to mention the ordeal she went through?

    I was just pointing to an objective and, to me, rather disturbing fact: her way to "forgiveness" led her away from her own culture to submission to the "god" of her (collective) tortioners. This is by no means unusual if you consider that the majority of Christians, Moslems, etc., historically embraced the religion of their conquerors.

    About forgiveness, I very much agree with your statement, but I'll add that I have equal respect for the people who "unselfishly" refuse to forgive and perhaps suffer more, for the sake of justice and memory for instance (this has been a long and painful discussion between Jews and Christians ever since the shoah, for instance). I don't believe in one way for everyone, and I think the opposite attitudes on this issue (as on many others) derive any meaning they may have from each other. Forgiveness is only meaningful because it is neither a duty nor a norm. In a world of universal forgiveness it would be meaningless.

  • trevor

    Some very good points have been made and I found the comments by Narkissos well thought out. To me forgiveness is one of those words that needs to be explained. Like spirituality, mystical, god or miracle.

    I prefer to use the word acceptance. If we can accept something that has happend, we have come to terms with it and can and move on. If theoretically, say, god forgives us our sins because we believe in Jesus and then we change religions, the forgiveness is withdrawn.

    Humans forgive but the forgiveness is still in subtle ways conditional. Whereas with acceptance we move on but if we are wronged to many time we can decide that acceptance is no longer possible and encourages wrongdoing. Then we take action and demand recompense.

    Nothing has to be withdrawn, no emotional position has to be changed. To my pernickety mind acceptance makes more sense than forgiveness.

  • BurnTheShips

    You say:

    I don't believe in one way for everyone

    Hence my perplexity at:

    I was just pointing to an objective and, to me, rather disturbingfact: her way to "forgiveness" led her away from her own culture to submission to the "god" of her (collective) tortioners.


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