Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We can forgive people

You may realize that last week I was really disappointed with one of my friends. But the good thing is that I can learn something new from what just happened. I learned about forgiving, about trust and about friendship. I keep saying to myself that I should forgive my friend, not for his benefit but for my own sake. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. So, lately I've been able to let go of the burden and the hurt feeling I have in my heart, little by little I have to let it go. I know I have to let it go because I don't want any negative thoughts running around my mind. I'm doing this even when my friend doesn't ask for my apology. But still, I keep my heart open for his apology. I consider someone who I can call a friend who are willing to admit that he's doing something wrong but still want to build friendship with me. Luckily I have a boyfriend and friends who can really give me comforts. I guess it true that real friends are those who can put you back into pieces, not breaking you up into pieces. Therefore, I was seeking for something to support my thought and argument about forgiving someone who don't apologize. And here's what I found. It is one good article. I can conclude that forgiving does not require an apology but we forgive someone to enable us to free our heart from hatred and free my mind from worries.

We can forgive people who do not apologize

If we wait until the person who wronged us apologizes before we forgive him, we fall victim to our rage and our wounds while we wait. We need to understand that forgiveness happens within ourselves; it is not an interaction with another. When we wait for an apology, we may be confusing forgiveness with reunion, or (in the worst case), we may be using others' apologies to obligate them to us.

Smedes gives five arguments against forgiving an unrepentant person and counters each one.

  1. If a person who wrongs us does not repent, he doesn't deserve to be forgiven. Nobody deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is only for people who don't deserve it. Being sorry does not earn us the right to forgiveness.
  2. Forgiving someone who does not repent is just too hard to do.
    Forgiving unrepentant people is a no-lose opportunity to start your own healing.
  3. To forgive an unrepentant person is not fair to ourselves.
    Are we fair to ourselves by prolonging the bitterness and hate? Are we being fair to ourselves when we let the other, the very person who wronged us, decide when we get to forgive?
  4. To forgive an unrepentant person is dangerous; if he feels no sorrow for what he did, he is likely to do it again. Forgiving is not tolerance. We do not invite the person we forgive to get close enough to us to hurt us again.
  5. We have to repent before we can get forgiven. Does this mean that we should not forgive anyone until he is sorry for what he did? We cannot afford to wait for this before we begin healing ourselves. The person who hurt us should not be the one to decide whether or when we should recover from the pain he brought us.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between forgiveness and reunion. If a person who has wronged us wants to reestablish the relationship, he must come in sorrow and repentance. We cannot expect to be forgiven without being sorry for the wrong we did. But we should not demand sorrow for the wrong someone did to us. Repentance does not earn the right to forgiveness; it only prepares us to receive the gift.

Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift. ~Margaret Lee Runbeck
(source from


Anonymous said...

I've found that most people won't apologize out of ego. They would rather be right than keep a friendship, it's dumb. This is what tests a friendship and you are the better for having that person out of your life sometimes. Although it still hurts!

Anonymous said...

I have had two friends in the past 4 years do something to me that really hurt me. One of them was from High School. We had been friends since the 7th grade and I ended up getting a job for her at my work. I figured I would return the favor since she had helped me get a managing position with the company she worked at. It was a jewelry boutique but I still worked at a different store. When she quit I got her a job at my work I have now. Everything was fine but one day she said something to me that really hurt my feelings. She wouldn't even apologize to me. All I wanted was an apology but when she kept asking me what I wanted her to say, I figured, "if she doesn't know then forget it." We were no longer friend and still aren't. I'm really big on friendship since my friends are my family. I don't need people like that in my life at least that is how I see it. My Mom once told me she told one of my friends this..."My daughter is a great friend, she will give you the shirt off her back, but betray her once, and you can kiss that friendship goodbye." They say forgive and forget....well I just forget.

boya arsila said...

Can you actually forgive and forget? Or is it better to just forget without even forgive the person? Sometimes I feel like getting rid of him in my life but that's kinda hard thing to do since we're in the same circle of friends. One things for sure,I will keep my distant from him. I will try not to talk about something really serious. I appreciate the friendship form the very beginning, if he can't appreciate's his lost I believe. Whatever it is, he has lost my trust on him. So when I meet him later on, I will consider out meeting as a way for practicing on controling my emotion. And it's for my own sake..not him...

Anonymous said...

I have that same problem with another person...I have this circle of friends outside of work, ones I consider my family and she is one of them. At first it was so awkward because my friend Veronica would have parties and I was hesitant to attend because I knew she would be there. I did my best to be the bigger person and still said hi and small talk but now it is really over. I actually work with her too but I don't let it bother me. I'm an adult and if she wants to play the role of the child then fine.

Anonymous said...

Forgive and forget...I'm sorry, in my opinion, it's impossible. It's too high a standard. My father broke my wrist when I was 11 years old. Have I forgiven him? Maybe. Will I forget? Never. Not because I want to remember, but it's my history, it's stuff that happened. It was a significant breach of trust and a painful reminder of how I was hated for unknown reasons.

I say high standard because I think people try too hard to forgive for the sake of the word. It's normal to feel hurt, you have to grieve every hurt,not just death-related. You need time to work through the hurt. I believe that the definition of forgiveness (for me anyway), is time + distance. Time takes the pain away from the immediate thought, and distance helps to push the memory into our storage system. Also, I think forgiveness is finally being able to see the person, or talk about the situation without feeling anger, resentment or sadness. Continuing to harbour those feelings allows that person to have power over you, hurting you over and over again. I really think that forgiveness is a personal thing, everyone needs to find their own way of letting things go...

I'm rambling, but I guess this subject gets me going!