Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

The Fragrance The Violet Sheds

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.  ~Mark Twain

My mother recently broke her blog silence to write about being betrayed by her brother. It’s a long story; you can read about it at her blog.

What I’m struggling with, vis-a-vis her story, is this: her unwillingness to even consider forgiving her brother, ever. I’m struggling with this, because although I fear that her unwillingness to forgive will become an albatross around her neck and that it will, someday, choke her, I also understand just how total and absolute is her anger and hurt, and I don’t know how I would let it go, if I were her.


Her words:

My husband, my friends, and my children have said that I have to let
it go – that I should ask God’s help in forgiving my brother if I am
ever to find peace in my soul. I have done a lot of soul searching
about that. I have had a lot of conversations with God – probably
one-way, because I am not prepared to listen to what I know he would
say. I have decided that I will never forgive my brother. He is now
dead to me. I do not have a brother.

She knows that God would tell her to forgive, that God does tell her to forgive. But she does not want to listen. And I get that, I really do. But I still fear for her, for her ability to go forward peacefully, if she doesn’t forgive.

How does one counsel forgiveness, when one isn’t certain that one could find forgiveness in her own heart?

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posted March 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

I don’t know that you can counsel forgiveness. Your mom knows that God would ask that of her but it’s not something she wants. After reading it, it seems like it is all still too raw. Too on the surface to even consider something like forgiveness.
I would like to be able to say that we should always forgive. We should always move on and allow God to judge but I also feel like we are not asked to be something we are not. Your mom is not ready to forgive. She may not ever be, it’s not who she is right now. And I firmly believe that is ok. It’s not true forgiveness if we only do it for the sake of forgiveness. If we do not “feel” the forgiveness than there is no point.
I really feel for your mom. This is such a difficult situation and I cannot imagine the pain she must have and still may be experiencing.

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posted March 24, 2010 at 10:02 am

Maybe forgiveness in itself isn’t what she needs. She just had a huge betrayal – perhaps she should be counseled to forget.
(And by that I mean to not let it eat at her, to put it out of her mind, not necessarily wave a magic wand and poof! Everything is better! which sometimes, I find the whole forgiveness from God idea (especially on a raw and irritated fresh wound) to seem.)

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posted March 24, 2010 at 10:11 am

I think it’s so much harder to forgive when the ones hurt are your family or other loved ones. She might be more inclined to forgive (maybe) if it had just been her, but when he attacked her children and grandkids, well that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.
This is something I’ve struggled with myself as well. I’m no where near resolved on it either. I also think though that understanding for yourself what forgiveness is and what it is not is a part of it. It doesn’t mean you forget. It doesn’t mean you open yourself up to further hurt from that person either. I think you can forgive someone and let the anger go, but still decline to have a relationship with someone.

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posted March 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

My heart is broken for your mother and I’ve never read her blog until today! I am quasi estranged from my brother. He has consistently treated me like crap for the last number of years yet I won’t give up and keep going back for more only to be hurt again and again. Finally this year, I decided no more. I realized, like I hope your mom will, that I have done nothing wrong and can put my head down at night knowing that I’ve done all I can do for the relationship. If he has issues and reasons to treat me like this – they are his and his alone. I know that if he needs me, I’ll be there but I can no longer subject myself to the hurt. I hope your mom can get to that place. I feel for her so much.

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posted April 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Forgiveness is so misunderstood. So many think that forgiving something means that what happened was ok, that the offender shouldn’t feel bad about what they did, that it’s tantamount to giving the offender permission to harm again. When Jesus forgives us for our sins, He does not make it okay for us to sin again. He is releasing us from the power sin has over our lives.
Forgiveness is about releasing the power the offender has over the victim. If your mother forgives her brother, it’s for HER benefit, not his.

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