What to do.. If you are not able to forgive?

If you have tried many times to forgive someone and feel you just can’t. This simple outline may open the door for you. Forgiveness is counter intuitive for most people and usually only achieved after years of vexation.

 * What if one defines forgiveness in such a way that it ensures they…                cannot forgive?

 * What if forgiving has more to do with the way one defines it…. than              actually having an ability to do it.. or not?

 * What if one could expand their definition of forgiveness… to actually            enable them to do it?

              Recently I asked a group of 15 people to define what forgiveness is, not surprisingly, I got 18 different answers. Some said, forgiving is forgetting. A few said, the forgiver should never forget. Some said never trust them again, others said, trust them and wipe the slate clean. I then asked for a definition of unforgiveness and got a fairly good consensus on what that looked like. In a nutshell, it looks toxic and unhealthy. I don’t think a concrete black and white definition of forgiveness is going to be easy to find. It may depend on what needs to be forgiven, our relationship to that person and the frequency in which we will ever have to see them. 

             What if we were able to define the core of forgiveness this way?

1. Give up the desire to see judgment and punishment carried out on the perpetrator  via personal revenge, Divine intervention or natural events.

            What if we were able to define the core of unforgiveness this way?

2. Retain the desire to see judgment and punishment carried out on the perpetrator via personal revenge, Divine intervention or natural events.

 I purposed these definitions for this reason: The element that is so toxic in unforgiveness is a need to control someone else’s future or fate. (a difficult task..at best) One who is very determined in this matter is not able to let it go, until their personal vendetta is satisfied, as long as the one who has wronged them never gets what they deserve the one wronged will never be at peace. Transcending the fate of the offending person to the extent that their punishment is now none of our concern, we are now free to move forward in determining what our future relationship will involve with that person.

           Using this perspective on forgiveness is valuable for another reason:

1. It does not entail that you need to confront the person or even let them know you have forgiven them. (very important if you don’t think you could confront them)

 2. It works well if the person you need to forgive, is in fact.. dead.   In speaking to people who hold on to contempt for dead people, the same issue always remains, that the dead person never paid for what they did. With this new perspective on what forgiveness is.. their punishment is no longer a concern of ours.

Brossie Cerniglia

Anger Monkey Anger Solutions

anger monkey



About B.F.C.

What has caused me the greatest pain has become a great gift and comfort to others. A lover of theology and philosophy who also teaches anger management. I don't think out of the box... for me there is no box. I am a rebel and always ask "Who sets the rules? A rebel in our culture.. has empathy, compassion and understanding for those who are "hand cuffed" by shame and made to feel they don't fit in and never will. Wisdom and love are often counter intuitive to the flow of the culture, If that is the case, I don't think I want to fit in. "When you aint got nothin.... You aint got nothing to lose" ~Bob Dylan
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