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Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life Paperback – November 1, 1991
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But forgiveness does not necessarily mean you let pain back in, if that's all that could ever happen in a situation. Some situations are worth avoiding in life altogether. An abusive parent or spouse, for example. I don't think the authors ever intended to suggest that you put yourself in harm's way again. But the bigger picture of forgiveness is not to let someone ELSE off the hook. It's for YOU to let go of how the past affects you. If it hinders you, prevents you from loving or trusting those around you (that you genuinely wish to love/trust), it can be an emotional burden that makes you suffer every day, even if you don't understand it. To forgive is to take back that power from that person that you no longer give them the right to determine how you feel from whatever happened in the past or present.
What I really liked about this book was how it talked about forgiveness for your own sake, not for the other's. It was generalized enough that it seemed to apply to all sorts of forgiveness, how to let go of pain and allow the goodness of the present to become visible, so the past and it's pain can go screw itself and you can be happy regardless of it. Nobody deserves to be enslaved, burdened, by the past. Forgiveness involves letting go of any sort of pain, whether from a person or a chain of events or an entire part of life.
When we become wounded by something, we naturally associate the pain with the things around us. My marriage was awful. I felt abused, ignored, uncared for, no matter how hard I tried to make things right. It left it's mark. After nearly 8 years, I've become resentful of my whole life. The house I bought for HER so we could raise a family together, while it strains me financially. The 3/4 acre yard I can't take care of by myself. The conservative country I find myself stuck in when I crave a liberal college atmosphere. The job that's 45 miles away, that after 3 years is a drain to commute to, which I took to support the house and kids while my ex could stay at home. It's not that I've become unappreciative, as there are many things I am thankful for, but as a whole, pain tends to cluster around many things in life until it corrupts your view of things, Then you become miserable, bitter, or worse. It's no way to live, and working on forgiveness of the past and my life's events is crucial to me moving on. The more I feel resentment, the less energy I have to move my life forward, to start over. Holding onto pain can be draining. But doing so may in fact be the only thing keeping you from being free of it, from having a new chance at life.
This book seemed to be a great overview of the whole process.
I purchased this book several weeks ago and when doing so I knew I would be tested on what I have learned and it came to pass. When you are given information that is changing your inner spirit and ways of thinking and reacting the test always follows. And it did. In my christian upbringing I was always taught to forgive and forget, that was Gods way. This book plainly dispells that theory and provides a much more accurate revelation by instructing the opposite that is a wiser way of thinking than my previous knowledge.
On page 15: Forgiveness is not forgetting, By forgiving the people who hurt us, we do not erase painful past experiences from our memory.
Page 16: We cannot forget, nor should we. Those experiences, and even the pain they caused, have a great deal to teach us, both about not being victimized again and about not victimizing others.
These truths provided the best revelation to me as I realized in the past people have hurt me and been wrong and the people who recognized their mistake saying they were sorry or apologizing when I look back I do not even recall the indicent that occured. It was easily forgotten. However, the ones where those who caused an offense and did not apologize or somehow retracted their apology the incident remained vivid and clear. This phenominal revelation has set me free. A new understanding into my own spirit.
The book goes on to discuss what forgiveness is and what it is not such as:
Forgiveness in not condoning, or an absolution, or a form of self-sacrifice and it is certainly not a clear cut, one-time decision. Forgiveness is a by product of an ongoing healing process, it is internal, a sign of self-esteem. It is also letting go of intense emotions attached to incidents from our past.
Page 19: We still remember what happened, but we no longer feel intensely angry, frightened, bitter, resentful, or damaged because of it.
Unforgiveness creates a swirling dervish of complex inner turmoil that can guide a person throughout their entire life because they refuse to forgive others, I have seen these damaged people up close and personal and they are in constant turmoil always accusing everyone of being out to get them somehow. Always suspicious because of their own low or no self-esteem. This book is great help to those who want help and recognize their need for it.
The book goes on to say forgiveness is recognizing we no longer need to hold grudges, no longer need to punish the people who hurt us, it is accepting that nothing we do to punish them will heal us. It is freedom and moving on. It is something you do for you.
Chapter two explains in great detail about how and why we are hurt.
Page 29: Abandonment being simliar to rejection because it, too, breaks an emotional bond between us and the other person in our life, abandonment is a devastatingly painful experience...
Ridicule, humiliation, betrayal
Page 34: Like betrayal, deception damages your ability to trust. However, when you are decevied and lied to, you find it difficult not only to trust other people, but to trust your own judgement as well.
I could tell alot more but wanted to share some of the most valuable information on how the book is written and how it has helped me. It provided me with the ability to confront false accusers whereas before I would just cower and hide. I learned to stand up for me knowing I was right and they were wrong, I did not allow them to intimidate me as they had done in the past with their false accusations, cruelty and revengeful ways. I realized they do not possess the ability to forgive and may never, however I was able forgive and quickly. As Gods word says Isaiah 42:10
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
I am being hardened to those who are disingenuous and been able to stand up for me and tell the truth whether they ever get it or not. In the process they were exposed for their lies, false accusations and deceptions. They publically revealed their true character, immaturity, lack of knowledge and bad motives in the process.
This book has been tranformed my spirit to a higher level and equipped me with the most valuable information I have ever ingested. I highly recommend it to everyone because we all experience these same situations in our everyday life,
Accolades to the authors for not only sharing their own experiences to help others but for giving such infinite wisdom as well.