Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Dont Deserve by Lewis B. SmedesMasterfully written with a theological emphasis. Forgive and Forget is divided into 4 parts. Part I is The Four Stages of Forgiving, which I thought was a little slow to get into and wondered if I would finish the book. Glad I did.
Part II Forgiving People Who Are Hard to Forgive resonated with me. This part talked about various acts from hurtful feelings by close friends and family, to rapes, crime victims, human atrocities. The author eloquently provided insightful comments as to how to go about forgiving. He even mentioned that some things are so unforgivable we have to let it go (for ourselves) and let God handle it.
The primary theme I got from this short, easy to read book was that NOT forgiving can eat away at our souls, fundamentally changing us. To stay angry at a person changes us and wastes energy. Forgiving doesnt mean we forget. Doesnt mean we arent angry. It just means we have chosen to put the past behind us and move on. The stages of forgiveness indicate that once we no longer wish someone harm, we are on the road to forgiveness. It doesnt mean we want to be friends with them anymore, but we no longer carry around a seed of hate. Seeds grow...
Part III was How People Forgive and I found it very interesting that there are different ways to let go of anger and move on. It takes time. The section on Confusion mentioned having a disagreement with someone that manifested itself over time and to a point that we no longer remembered what we were angry about. Over time the reason we were angry slips away, but we stay angry because of the length of time we harbored hard feelings. What a predicament! Also, it is important to forgive freely, not be manipulated into forgiving.
Part IV Why Forgive explained how detrimental it is on our souls to harbor anger, resentment and hatred toward other people. Some people we need to cut from our lives, but let the anger go. It takes time, sometimes years before we are able to completely forgive a person who wronged us. And it was impossible to completely forgive a person who was no longer alive. Best to clear the air before it is too late.
There were numerous examples from the authors past as well as stories he was aware of. Example stories included: infidelity, rape, incest, good friend stabbing you in the back, co-worker stabbing you in the back, family squabbles, etc.
Excellent book and another favorite from This Reader.
The real reason you should forgive and forget
Forgiveness is good for you. Just let it go. We've all heard these phrases, but what do they really mean? Sure, forgiveness sounds nice, but what do you do when you're just not ready? When you've been wronged and the other person doesn't even feel bad about it? Turns out that this may be the most important time to forgive and move on. You may not even realize how bad you feel until you decide to forgive.
Forgiveness makes forgetting easier, according to a study which lends weight to the adage that it is best to do both. Victims of a transgression are more likely to ignore the precise details of what happened if they have pardoned the mistake, psychologists found. The abilities to overcome strong emotions against someone and to quash the memory of something we want to ignore are both linked to the same mechanisms in the brain. Researchers from the University of St Andrews set out to examine whether this might mean that forgiveness and forgetting are linked. They asked 40 volunteers to read a series of scenarios detailing wrongs such as infidelity, slander and theft and asked them whether they as the victim would be minded to forgive the perpetrator. Health Freaks: First apply the duct tape
When someone really hurts you, do you still want to forgive that person? Forgiving seems almost unnatural, right? Here are a few reasons why you should forgive someone even if part of you doesn't want to. Forgiveness just means that you've made peace with the pain, and you are ready to let it go. Forgiveness is not something we do for others - it's something we do for ourselves. Not forgiving someone is the equivalent of staying trapped in a jail cell of bitterness, serving time for someone else's crime.
What is forgiveness?
But the difficult work is worth it: Decades of research from the field of positive psychology has found forgiveness can improve depression, anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Related: How to Forgive. Forgiving can bestow personal peace and even improve physical health. Because forgiveness is not about making other people feel better about their transgressions. It is about lightening the burden that their transgressions have left upon you. One group wrote about an incident in which they had been deeply hurt, but chose to forgive their offender; another group wrote about a time in which they had not yet forgiven an offender; and a control group wrote about a neutral interaction with a friend. All of the participants were then guided through a mock fitness test in which they had to jump as high as they could five times.
We were told to turn the other cheek and give our pals another chance. Some of us learned the idea behind this was the golden rule — do to others what we would have them do to us. Our parents were not wrong. Knowing how to forgive someone is an essential life skill. It serves us well in our love lives and professional relationships. It saves friendships and restores our faith in our kids.