I was immediately touched and impressed by the words of Lisa Clements (from an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN ), the widow of the Colorado prisons chief who is believed to have been killed a parolee. She said, "… we are praying for forgiveness and our ability to forgive… It's something that we grow into and, by grace, that we receive."
Wow. Just imagine being able to maintain a similar perspective after such a personally horrific event. This might seem unimaginable, and maybe something you wouldn't even want to imagine doing. But ultimately, she is looking to experience freedom from the rage that so understandably could devour the rest of her life. And instead, she is hoping to find feel inner peace and joy from her memories of her husband.
What do you think of her decision to look to forgive?
Have you had to face personal tragedy that's left you with the decision to live anger and resentment or find a way to forgive? How have you handled this? Or, how do you imagine you would handle it?
If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here.
Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.
Interesting topic. I was thinking about the whole concept of forgiveness and had a few thoughts. I have conflicting feelings in regards to forgiveness. My impulse is to say "they did something wrong, they don't deserve forgiveness," and therefore not forgive them. But that is an example of magical thinking. Whether I forgive them or not has no bearing on how they feel, after all, and not forgiving them doesn't mean that they will "pay for what they did" any more.
If I am smart, I'll learn from the experience and not let them hurt or betray me again anyway, but I don't have to hold on to the bitterness about it or the rage. It's a tough lesson to keep in mind. But it helps that forgiving a person doesn't mean allowing bad behavior, it just means letting go of the bitterness in one's own self.
You already know of my tragedy, but for those who don't, here's a little bit about it.
My mother was murdered by my stepfather when I was 17/18. I was so angry at him, I failed to grieve properly, and therefore, I failed to forgive. I held onto that anger, the resentment for so long. Oh, how I hated that man!!!
It wasn't until after I empathized with him, and thought about what might have drove him to do this? I thought of what might drive me to do something like that? I came to the realization that he was an alcoholic, and was probably out of his mind drunk. I was there once myself, I was stupid drunk, I got ripped off by this so called girlfriend, and I was angry enough to grab my pistol. Thankfully, I was too drunk to drive, and so she escaped my rage. I thought of this, and my stepfather, and I realized I could change nothing, so, I forgave myself, and him.
We cannot change the past, so, do we keep the anger close to our hearts, or, do we let go of that anger, and live our lives as best we can??? I say, let it go, and you will be so much happier in your life. Your heart, and mind will be free.
Roh, you got that right, bro!!!!
Thanks for this question, and your blogs, they are a tremendous help to so many!!!
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