How to truly forgive?

canuckj

Pigeon
As the title implies this is something I am dealing with. I went through a situation where my wife at the time was unfaithful and abandoned the family. Without giving too many details, the church (Baptist) pretty much ignored us and did nothing other than reminding her what she did was wrong. When she ignored them they just carried on as normal. The church pretty much ignored myself and my children during this time. I harbour a lot of anger towards these people and don't know how to forgive them. If it was as simple as flicking a switch I would. The only answer people give me is to pray. I do this but realize I haven't really forgiven anyone. Any tips or stories on how you were able to forgive?
 

Viktor Zeegelaar

Ostrich
Orthodox Inquirer
That's a tough one, especially if faithfulness is involved. Did you and your wife come together afterwards? If you don't want to answer surely that's OK too but it'd give some context. With regard of forgiveness in general, it is something which is maybe the hardest to do for people, but what I found very helpful is the other day I heard someone say ''don't see the person, see the demon behind them''. So when someone does something bad/evil/that hurts you, look behind this person, as in a perfect/Godly state no one would do these things anyway. They're themselves under evil influence, often especially in atheistic post-truth clown world without even knowing it themselves.
 

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
Seems like a tough situation. We do have a forgiveness thread here:


Honestly, I have much difficulty with this myself and in your situation I would need a miracle from our Lord to forgive my wife.

One thing that has helped me is the concept of forgiving from a distance, in that you forgive, but don't really have a relationship with them. I don't know if that's feasible in your case.
 

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
That's a tough one, especially if faithfulness is involved. Did you and your wife come together afterwards? If you don't want to answer surely that's OK too but it'd give some context. With regard of forgiveness in general, it is something which is maybe the hardest to do for people, but what I found very helpful is the other day I heard someone say ''don't see the person, see the demon behind them''. So when someone does something bad/evil/that hurts you, look behind this person, as in a perfect/Godly state no one would do these things anyway. They're themselves under evil influence, often especially in atheistic post-truth clown world without even knowing it themselves.

I've tried this technique, but it actually angered me more because it was like I was absolving the person of any wrongdoing or accountability. Kind of like "The devil made me do it" defense which is absolutely ridiculous unless they are truly possessed. The demons can't force you.

The fact is the woman cheated and abandoned her family through her own volition (evil influence or not) in this case and she will face the consequences from the Lord. Forgiveness is a tough nut to crack in this case.
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
You are right, there is no switch, no act of self-will that can immediately grant you the ability to forgive. You must pray, and be patient. God is also not just going to flip the switch for you either. He will grant you opportunities to forgive, to train yourself in this virtue. Maybe right now you cannot forgive these people, but maybe someone today did something mildly annoying that you held on to, forgive them! Look for the opportunities to develop this virtue, and pray that eventually you will be able to forgive all.
 
We have to love the people who did us wrong and to wish them well. The Lord said "love your ENEMIES" - we are commanded to love our ENEMIES, however, they might still be our ENEMIES! We don't have to hang out with them and be all 'lovey-dovey'.
 
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soli.deo.gloria

Woodpecker
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
As the title implies this is something I am dealing with. I went through a situation where my wife at the time was unfaithful and abandoned the family. Without giving too many details, the church (Baptist) pretty much ignored us and did nothing other than reminding her what she did was wrong. When she ignored them they just carried on as normal. The church pretty much ignored myself and my children during this time. I harbour a lot of anger towards these people and don't know how to forgive them. If it was as simple as flicking a switch I would. The only answer people give me is to pray. I do this but realize I haven't really forgiven anyone. Any tips or stories on how you were able to forgive?
My approach has been to first try to stop caring about them one way or the other and just try not be angry, as opposed to feeling love and forgiveness towards them. Once I am able to stop being angry then I find it much easier to say "ok, fine, sigh. I forgive you." and actually mean it, and then move on with my life. It doesn't come easily sometimes but it is important and something you should really work towards, for your own benefit and also because God commands it.

You need to realize that at the end of the day you are only hurting yourself by being angry and resentful. If your concern is (in)justice know that God will deal with them ultimately, it's not your concern. So just try your best to accept the present situation, be at peace, focus on the good things in your life, and move forward as best as you can. Take it one day at a time. Reach out to your spritual elders if you need guidance or support. You'll get there. :)
 

canuckj

Pigeon
That's a tough one, especially if faithfulness is involved. Did you and your wife come together afterwards? If you don't want to answer surely that's OK too but it'd give some context. With regard of forgiveness in general, it is something which is maybe the hardest to do for people, but what I found very helpful is the other day I heard someone say ''don't see the person, see the demon behind them''. So when someone does something bad/evil/that hurts you, look behind this person, as in a perfect/Godly state no one would do these things anyway. They're themselves under evil influence, often especially in atheistic post-truth clown world without even knowing it themselves.
To answer your question she divorced me last year around Christmas time. Because she has some issues (mental and psychological) I don't really have much anger towards her. More towards the people who just basically ignored us. I will try to visualize the demon behind the person. That may help.
 

canuckj

Pigeon
You are right, there is no switch, no act of self-will that can immediately grant you the ability to forgive. You must pray, and be patient. God is also not just going to flip the switch for you either. He will grant you opportunities to forgive, to train yourself in this virtue. Maybe right now you cannot forgive these people, but maybe someone today did something mildly annoying that you held on to, forgive them! Look for the opportunities to develop this virtue, and pray that eventually you will be able to forgive all.
I like the idea of training myself to forgive small things. I also tell others not to let yourself hate. Once you have this root of unforgiveness it is hard to remove. Better not to let it take root.
 

canuckj

Pigeon
My approach has been to first try to stop caring about them one way or the other and just try not be angry, as opposed to feeling love and forgiveness towards them. Once I am able to stop being angry then I find it much easier to say "ok, fine, sigh. I forgive you." and actually mean it, and then move on with my life. It doesn't come easily sometimes but it is important and something you should really work towards, for your own benefit and also because God commands it.

You need to realize that at the end of the day you are only hurting yourself by being angry and resentful. If your concern is (in)justice know that God will deal with them ultimately, it's not your concern. So just try your best to accept the present situation, be at peace, focus on the good things in your life, and move forward as best as you can. Take it one day at a time. Reach out to your spritual elders if you need guidance or support. You'll get there. :)
My main concern is that God says we must forgive if we want to be forgiven. Like the Lord's prayer says "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us". To be honest I don't even know why I can't let certain things go. For example, one of the church leaders would send me preachy type messages and I would politely read them. When I asked if he sent them to my estranged wife he said no, that she told him not to and they didn't raise the topic with her anymore. They were involved in an MLM she was part of and carried on doing business with her like nothing had happened.
 
@ canuckj

"To be honest I don't even know why I can't let certain things go"

I've hurt some of the people in my life. When is was possible I tried to make amends and I hope that they can find it in their hearts to forgive me, however, sometimes there is "too much water under the bridge". The fact that you're even asking these questions shows that you're on the right track.
 
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