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March 10, 2013 - 10:00 am

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Click to submit book suggestions for the new daily feature at PJ Lifestyle. Sunday selections focus on religion, spirituality, mysticism, and the Big Questions of Life.

 

A book recommendation often with excerpt(s), usually attempting to fit the daily theme. Family and Relationships on Monday, Practical and Technology on Tuesday, Laughter on Wednesday, Culture on Thursday, Intellect on Friday, Health and Fitness on Saturday, and Religion and Ethics on Sunday. Image courtesy shutterstock / robert_s

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All Comments   (11)
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I discovered that my husband has a mistress, seven months ago. He was sorry, that he got caught, I mean. He would have rather continued with his double life and has made no effort to repair the marriage. There are many other reasons I should have divorced him years ago. Divorce is the right solution, it will free him from being "trapped" by me, and the truth will come out and heal the situation. No Christian ever thinks that he or she will learn the lesson of praying for their enemies through the breakup of their marriage. An enemy is a destructive and damaging person, therefore you can't have a close relationship with them. Thus the name, enemy! But we are commanded to pray for our enemies. At first I would just pray his name, and say, there, I did it. Then I would pray, "YOU love him, Lord." That is a true statement, and I made progress with that. Now I am determined to divorce because he needs to start a new life as much as I do. I hope he does the work necessary. I still punch the air, thinking of the past, but it is less than before. Forgiveness is a process. It takes time. Eventually, scars are painless, even numb compared to the uninjured flesh adjacent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Testing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's fine to forgive, but it still makes sense to remember and not fall for the same tricks again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, that whole seventy times seven things.....forgiveness is not "de nada." It's saying that, even though wounded, one forgives. It can be a terrible thing, to put forgiveness in place. The violent one is left holding their violence, without a victim, without the satisfaction of being on top, of being dominant.

I don't think it is simple, or easy. I'm not even sure it makes one feel better.For a large violation, to pray to forgive another is not a one time deal. It's a struggle. I don't think forgiving someone is a blanket thrown over a piano. I think it's a piano key at a time, a string, a foot pedal, a bench, even a sheet of instructions, each of these will end up questioned, interrogated really, and then the willful step to forgive. Forgiveness is walking injured. I think of the young man in "Never Let Me Go" out on a trip to the beach, touching his injured side, and yet following on his explorations, and smiling.

One of the useful things about forgiveness is that one can clearly see the same weaknesses at work in oneself. One has a running chance of not behaving in the same fashion. And, because forgiveness does have a spiritual component- one can ask for help while struggling with the same horror rooted in one.

That sounds vague- but, say, if one forgives, daily, an alcoholic parent, one has resources to struggle against addiction, elsewhere.

One also has compassion- not even a large, over-flowing compassion. Perhaps just enough to forgive one action in one person, and then it's not just a jello of a feeling- it's a wooden matchstick of a lever- someone else can be forgiven, just a little bit, automatically, without pain.

People who forgive are anatomists of pain and violation. The anatomist is alive- and clearly viewing and then diagramming the corpse. Their notes might vary- we call different little bits of the body by the name of the anatomist who describes it most clearly- but the physicians and artists doing this work can speak to each other in ways that the more unsighted cannot.

The saints of the various churches could be called anatomists of the spirit, on this standard. We know greatness when we see it.

Oh- there is a book "the daisy" or something like that- where various people around the holocaust are put in a moral question. They don't all automatically forgive. Some speak of pain. Some speak of justice. I don't think bullies should rely on the mercy of their victims, as they have throughout our fiction, in America. America took in refugees: they have questions. The Puritans couldn't even get the idea of sin and grace committed on to their children and grandchildren.

The final bet is that forgiveness is like having lice picked off the pelt of one's mind. Eventually, one is closer to cleanliness and godliness. I am thinking of the very frail pastor who finally retired near 90. He's frail, he trembles- to him, it feels like Parkinsons. To us, it looks like an egg shaking, as a bird is about to hatch out of him. It will be luminous- he's got that odd white line of light that children have around them. It looks like the banners with birds of the spirit might not be metaphorical, after all.




















1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It wasn't easy for me to forgive my ex-wife, but when I was able to do it, it was very liberating. And I didn't do it alone--it was after a lot of prayer. If you're like me, it takes a lot of time and effort to forgive some things. And I don't know how I could do it if I was a POW in a Japanese World War II prison camp, or a Nazi extermination camp, or a Soviet Gulag. I doubt if I could forgive that kind of oppression on my own, without God's help. Its still hard to imagine how Christian martyrs have actually forgiven their persecutors and murderers, but they have done it.

As C. S. Lewis so clearly says, Christians are commanded to forgive. "There are no two ways about it." So as Christians, we have to strive to do that. But we can also take comfort that God will aid us in the process of forgiveness.

aharris is right that "you have to forgive the individuals who wronged you personally." I wonder if its necessarily easier to forgive an individual than a broad category of people, though. When an individual hurts you, you know their face, their voice, exactly what they did to you personally, and maybe their personality, all of which stick vividly in your mind, and all of which can feel hateful to you. If the person who hurt you belonged to a group such as the Communists, or the Nazis, or the Chamber of Commerce, you might say to yourself, well, there were some well-meaning people in that group too, so I forgive that group as a whole.

Jesus wants us to forgive all individuals who harm us. That doesn't mean, though, that we must approve of what those persons did. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, sayeth the Lord."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's easier said than done. I guess that's why people say it more than practice it.

Why should a Pole or a Jew forgive those who trespassed against them - the Nazis? My government has trespassed against me, yet I'm not about to forgive it, for my forgiveness will only give such power the will to continue to abuse me. I abhor it and do not want it to continue in its present guise.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you forgive groups or people? I would think it would be a lot easier to forgive an individual person than it would be an impersonal entity composed of many faceless individuals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good point - which is why the Catholic rite of reconcilation involves a priest. It's a lot easier and personal to be forgiven by a real flesh and blood person than an impersonal entity. I'm not saying asking God directly for forgiveness is invalid or that He is impersonal, but because we are human, feeling empathy, compassion, and forgiveness from God through another reduces that sense of alienation that we feel when we can't forgive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would have written this in my original comment had I thought of it, but to build on it.

There is a reason why they dehumanize an enemy when you go to war. Think about all the propoganda pieces done here in the states during WWII that portrayed the Japanese and Germans as mere caricatures or look at what was done and is still done to Jews by their enemies today. In order to really forgive, you have to see someone as another human being I think, so to forgive the Nazis as a whole or the Catholic Church as an entity is the wrong idea. You have to forgive the individuals who wronged you personally.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Loiuis Zamperini embodies that spirit forgiveness. The book "Unbroken" is his incredible story...truly a amazing man and witness to human endurance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd4e1o2zhgo
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Of course forgiveness makes you feel better. It actually takes a lot of energy to be angry and vindictive all of the time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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