I admit it. I’ve always had a problem with this. I “forgive and let go” eventually but only after much time has passed, and after a lot of venting. I do it mainly as a “gift” to myself for health reasons. And not always for the person who wronged me. So, can this be called forgiveness? Along with my fascination with the problem of evil, I found it necessary to study the other side of coin. What exactly is forgiveness and is it something we can learn? I ordered some periodicals from the International Instutite of Forgiveness, when it was first established in the early 90’s. The publication is no longer being published, but I’ve provided a link to their site in case anyone wants to order back copies that are still available. There are also a lot of great books out there on it as well.
“CLOSE your eyes and think of someone who has hurt you. The offense may be profound or small but deeply painful, a single arrow to your heart or a thousand wounding slights. The perpetrator may be a stranger — the guy who caused your accident, the gang-banger who took your child. More likely, it will be someone close and trusted. The sister who killed herself. The parent who lashed out, the spouse mired in addiction, an unfaithful lover. Maybe it’s the boss who’s a tyrant, the business partner who’s an idiot, the trickster who seduced you. It might even be yourself. Let all the anger, hurt and resentment you feel for that wrongdoer bubble to the surface. Seethe, shout, savor it. Feel your heart pounding, your blood boiling, your stomach churning and your thoughts racing in dark directions.
OK, stop. Now, forgive your offender. Don’t just shed the bitterness and drop the recrimination, but empathize with his plight, wish him well and move on — whether he’s sorry or not.”
(via The LA Times)
(International Forgiveness Institute)
Also an excellent site that deals with conflict resolution: Beyond Intractability.