Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

Forgiveness: 10 Steps To Giving It and Getting It

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Monday night. Like all New Year’s celebrations, it’s a chance to start over. And starting over often involves forgiveness — both giving it and getting it. Neither of those is easy, but both are within our grasp.
Forgiving someone means that we find the strength to go beyond ourselves to a place that helps us see those who have hurt us in a new way. That’s never easy. Seeking forgiveness rquires us to confront the past, see what we have done wrong, and commit to changing our behavior. That’s huge. But like the ability to forgive others, it is within our grasp. So with Rosh Hashanah approaching fast, here are some tips that will help you to forgive those who have hurt you and seek forgiveness from those you have hurt.
1. There is no such thing as an unforgivable act. So don’t let your fear of what you did, or rage about what was done to you, dissuade you from either seeking or granting forgiveness.
2. Mind your own business. We can only grant forgiveness for that which was done to us and should only seek forgiveness for that which we have done.
3. Stay balanced. The number of apologies you seek should be proportional to the number you are willing to offer, because the doing of each nurtures the capacity for the other.
4. Know that you are never alone. From God’s perspective, sincere effort to correct the past renders earns any of us what my kids call a do over.


5. Honor the past, but don’t let yourself be imprisoned by it. Don’t allow your fear of forgetting what was done to you keep you from forgiving those who did it.
6. Allow love to triumph over logic. There will always be a good reason to keep doing what you are doing or to withhold your forgiveness from someone else. But real issue is whether or not you love them enough to go beyond that logic.
7. Keep it simple. Apologize for, or forgive, one thing at a time. There is always more to the story, but this is not the moment to explore it.
8. The answer doesn’t always have to be yes. We are not always ready to forgive and that is okay. But the answer shouldn’t always be no, either. Consider what you loose by saying no, and be concerned if that has become your default response.
9. Remember that forgiveness is not always the end of the process, but the beginning of a new level of relationship which may continue to be shaped by those past acts which demanded forgiveness.
10. Celebrate the moment of forgiveness in some way that rewards both the one seeking forgiveness and the one who grants it. A hug, a kiss, perhaps something even more intimate. A drink or a shared meal. Whatever it is, you have both accomplished a major thing, so make the most of it.

  • John Charles

    Perhaps we should examine the “need” for forgiveness between humans. We are taught not to judge or we will be judged. Forgiveness becomes needed if there is blame first. Forgiveness is not even needed if we do not blame. To blame another constitutes judgement by oneself. Who are we to blame anyone? Let it go and be at peace and you will see love in your life. The only forgiveness we should seek is from the Creator. Whereas we are not perfect I imagine that the Creator does not blame us. Thus is infinite mercy.

  • Ruvain

    I am concerned about the rabbi’s approach. To me in Jewish tradition, the burden is on the wrongdoer to evaluate his behavior and to take some affirmative steps to make amends. Some how it strikes me as against the concept of Mitzvot to be able to do Anti-Mitvzot (foul deeds) and then have the score evened because you say/ask/demand “forgive me.” This type of forgiveness is new for me and it sounds like the confession for Catholics (about which I know virtually nothing).
    From whence cometh this “Love over Logic” as the basis for forgiveness? If a millionaire illegally evicts a single mother from her home and throws her on to the street in the dead of winter with two small toddlers, and the millionaire says, “Forgive me,” but does zilch to rectify the harm he has caused, the widow is supposed to close her eyes to the illogic of the situation? She’s supposed to ignore that this guy still lives in a 20 room mansion and she and her children live in a card board box by the railroad tracks?
    What’s this “Know that G-d is always with you” silliness G-d has no power to forgive those her commit foul deeds against other men. It’s irrelevant that G-d is with you if you continue to harm other people. In the Jewish tradition with which I am familiar, I must go to the people I have wronged and I must apologize and then I must DO SOMETHING. An apology for thoughtlessness or rudeness may be sufficient, but if you have harmed someone, then something more tangible in required. If you manipulated your company’s stock so you could make millions short selling, then when you company goes bottoms up, you better give back all your your ill gotten booty. That will not compensate the millions of people who were harmed by your stock manipulations, but at least you would be DOING something. G-d plays no part in my behavior towards others as he cannot forgive me for the things I have done to other people. Thus, it’s irrelevant whether G-d even exists for this aspect of Rosh Hashannah.
    To me the rabbi’s approach seems very christianized with his forgiveness based on Love and G-d presence and without strong emphasis on DOING. The rabbi seems to have excised the core Jewish value of Mitzvot — good deeds — for some wishy washy silliness where the burden is placed upon the injured party to rely on Love to forgive even if Logic tells him that such “forgiveness” will only encourage the other person to harm more and more people.
    We forgave a lot of very bad people with the Resolution Trust Corp after the Savings and Loan Scandal and didn’t ask them to DO anything to make amends, except keep all their loot. Now we are against forgiving the stock manipulators and master minds of billion dollar frauds with another RTC without asking them to do anything. They keep their seven homes, while millions of innocent people lose theirs. If we apply the rabbi’s formula, the RTC is the correct response. Throw Logic out the window and extend Love to these rapacious villains so that can do it all over again in 15 to 20 years. Just have FAITH in G-d’s ever abiding presence.

  • JoniG

    As human beings, we cannot help but be reactive – it is that part of our nature we constantly seek to overcome. I was raised Christian, and the concept of forgiveness was always tied to sacrifice and death, so I very much appreciate the knowledge I have gained from a variety of teachers about this time of year. I have come to see forgiveness as a deeply thoughtful and expressive personal experience, and this article provides some interesting and challenging insights!

  • Lucy Silver

    There is a section of prayer said in the Days of Awe that states that forgiveness must be asked for and given between humans. To simply ask G-d for forgiveness is not sufficient.
    If forgiveness is not granted, does it forever stand as a stain each time we seek a new beginning?
    If no contact between two people is possible (due to loss of contact, inability to connect, impairment, or death) how is the requirement to ask forgiveness and to forgive handled?
    In fact, some transgressions are so severe that one or both parties refuses any further contact. If YOU are willing to make contact but there is no response, what should you do?
    Please advise on these questions. Thanks.


    I do not agree that all acts are forgiveable.
    I could understand perhaps but not forgive someone who murdered and or tortured someone I loved and cared about expecially if it had nothing to do with being on either side of a war
    If you deliberatly told me you would keep a confidence and then easily tell others, I will not forgive you-unless I had committed an illegal act and you felt you had to tell the authorities
    If you deliberatly lied to me or about me in such a way as to change my life in what I believe resulted in a terrible way-I could and would not forgive you
    If you took the life of an innocent and could not care less even if I did not know you-I might not forgive you even if those involved choose to
    It depends on your idea of how you can live with yourself

  • rabbi brad

    thanks laura for demonstarting my point i.e. any act is forgiveable, but not all people will choose to forgive all acts. you delineate the limitations that you experience in terms of what is forgiveable, and that’s okay. the point is, that the limitation is a function of you, not the sin. someone else would have a different list, and that would be okay too.
    the main thing is not to hide behind the claim that we are are not forgiving someone because what they have done is too bad to forgive. it really is up to us.
    according to jewish tradition, the limitation on forgiveness is a function of the one doing the forgiving, not the act which is being forgiven. that is why yom kippur, despite the guilt inducing fire and brimstone to which most of us have been exposed, is such a happy day for the ancient rabbis. they knew, and we need to know, that as far as god goes, there is no transgression for which we can not get total forgivenss, if we seek it, at least from god’s perspective.

  • Gabe’s Mom

    Forgiveness, to me, is a gift that I give myself, not someone else.
    When I forgive, I’m not telling someone that what they did to me was ok. I’m telling myself that I’m going to stop spending my energy on hate and anger and other self-destructive emotions. I’m not going to allow my offender to continue to hurt me by spending my time and energy on these powerful and negative emotions. In fact, I don’t have to tell my offender that I’ve chosen to forgive them. It’s not about them.
    Forgiveness is not “Forget-ness.” Just because I’ve forgiven someone doesn’t mean that I’m going to put myself back into a situation where this person can hurt me again.
    If, however, I believe that my offender truly has expressed remorse for their deed – I feel it in their words and emotions (actually asking for foregiveness), and I see it in their behavior – then it may be a gift that I choose to give them, too.
    I feel that it’s a decision to move on with my life, accepting that what has happened has happened, and my life may be tragically altered, but I have a choice in how I wish to spend the rest of my days – with a heart full of anger, or a heart focused on more constructive emotions.
    All that being said, it’s still really hard!

  • Jean

    My hope is that this year my dearest love will use this occasion to heal the hurt he caused due to his affair with another woman over the past year. He says it is finished. He tells me he is angry at himself. If he can’t forgive himself, what I do seems inconsequential.

  • Gabi

    How can you forgive a husband for cheating on you, after 25 years of being a faithful, loving, Godly partner when the person doesn’t apologize or shows no remorse. I am having a very hard time forgiving him, when he can’t own up to anything. It has been 1 year that we don’t speak, yet we still live together (separately) until the divorce becomes final. The man can’t even look me in the eyes, which shows me he is guilty, yet never once said he was sorry, he would rather pretend it didn’t happen, yet he never once denied it either. I only know how to forgive if someone says they are sorry. I know its not good to hold onto the anger, but it is very hard to let it go. I hope Rosh Hashana will help me to sort through this ordeal. I would love to start the new year with no heavy burdens in my heart.
    thanks, Gabi

  • Cherlyn

    I feel like there are so many people I have to forgive – from the abuse I suffered as a child, the abusive relationships, the abuse I did to myself and others, the murder of my son – sometimes I just don’t know how to begin.
    I pray and ask God to show me how to love and forgive like He does – but then something comes to mind and the hurt comes back –
    Do you have any suggestions – some people tell me I need to forgive me too – but isn’t that God’s job to do – I mean to forgive me – I wasn’t the best mother – I was strong out on drugs and alcohol, in abusive relationships and when my son got involved in gangs I sent him to live with his dad in Colorado thinking he needed to be with a man figure- however, I didn’t know because I didn’t know where he was for 3 yrs – that his dad had married another woman and she kicked my son out of the house at age 15 and he was living with an aunt – I just fee like if I had been the stronger one – if I had done right – he would still be alive – and just because I was abused physically and mentally in my childhood – I still should have known right from wrong.
    How do I get right with God – how Do I know that He’s forgiven me – I keep wanting this feeling of self-worth and God’s love inside of me – and I keep praying for it – I just don’t know sometimes I wonder if God has given up on me but even with my son’s death I know God didn’t do that or at least I pray He didn’t do that to punish me – please Rabbi – pray for me.
    You see my mom was Jewish – my dad Lutheran – there wasn’t really much of any type of religion in our house – however I know my mom’s family were orthodox Jews and all I remember being told from early childhood and I guess from my own views because of the situations was that God couldn’t love me – I did too many things wrong.
    Well thanks for listening – God Bless you – Cherlyn

  • Nancy Roberts

    There has been many times where the act of forgiveness has helped me. But I have trouble with the self-forgiveness of some things. In these latter years of my life I wonder if I have truly left the “old” me behind in the acts of impulses to anger, frustration, and isolation of myself from others. It is very, very hard to let go of negative feelings. I am not Jewish, but I believe you have many truths in your faith that are helpful. I am Christian. I do believe that God does forgive if you ask him. That’s the only thing I can do. Pray. Nancy R.

  • eastcoastlady

    So much pain and regret expressed here – so sad, in many ways…
    Ruvain, I guess I’m a little surprised at your post. An empty apology, an insincere request for forgiveness – these mean nothing, and no one is obligated to say, “Yes, I forgive you.” Any such request must come with a sense of contrition; with a desire to do better; with changed behaviors.
    And I was taught that if you approach a person whom you have wronged, and ask with a sincere heart and a sincere desire to do better and with sincere “guilt” (you get the idea), and ask them three times to forgive you, and they do not, then G-d Himself will forgive you.
    And I take comfort from 4. Know that you are never alone. From God’s perspective, sincere effort to correct the past renders earns any of us what my kids call a do over., because Heaven knows I have need of “do-overs”.
    I like to believe that if we really try, even if we slip, G-d understands. We are not perfect. We as humans will never stop losing our temper; saying the wrong thing in anger; using bad language too much; be completely selfless’ etc, etc.
    But G-d made us imperfect as we are, with the ability to keep trying. As long as we keep trying to reduce the frequency of transgressions and the number of times we “miss the mark”, as long as we recognize and sincerely regret the things we do wrong – I have to hope that counts.

  • colin sparman

    I am grateful for these 10 nuggets!

  • David

    Holding a resentment or anger destroys the spirit. It is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. Let it go…
    We ask forgiveness from those we have or may have wronged for our own piece of mind, to keep our side of the street clean. It does not matter if they forgive you. By asking forgiveness you acknowledge to yourself and the other party that you recognize the wrong and are attempting to move on. Whether or not they forgive you is their side of the street.
    The hardest person to forgive is ourselves… It has been said many times, I never met anyone as hard on me as myself…
    Love yourself, forgive yourself, forgive others…. This is the path to serenity, contentment, and Godliness… Shana Tova…

  • seer Sucker

    Ruvain, I think your questions are good questions. I believe asking for and giving forgiveness is a process, in which the request is just one part. I think Rabbi Hirschfield knows that too. To me, his point is more about you yourself being invested in the process. You and I agree, forgiveness sometimes requires making restitution, or rectifying a wrong done. So be it. When we get to the next step in the process, it is still up to us to determine how we want to respond.

  • rebecca

    i also believe god forgives all our sins no matter what they are.
    if you ask gods forgiveness from your heart he will forgive you.

  • Anonymous

    It has been my experience that very seldom do the people we hold the most anger toward ever actually seek forgiveness. Of course if someone does one specific thing that is hurtful to us and afterwards sincerely seeks forgiveness for it, that’s very easy to forgive, no matter how grave the offense. But, it’s the people who establish a pattern of very hurtful behavior over a long period of time and never acknowledge the hurt they cause and seem to feel absolutely no remorse ever, those are the people that it is almost impossible to forgive.

  • sings4God

    The prayer Jesus gave the disipals says,”Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” We can’t be right with God if we don’t forgive others.

  • phylis

    In order to forgive someone that is really hard to forgive, I ask the lord for the strangth to be able to do what what is,nt humanly possable to do, it seems to work for me. the lord also guided me to a couple of passages in the bible,that helps me a lot. matthew 5 43-48 plus prov 25 21-22. I hope this helps. I also ask for strangth when I need it in prayer.

  • J Scheidel

    Mr Hirschfield Sir : The necessarily universal forgivability of all acts deemed unforgivable by some must therefore entail, according to you, that they necessarily forgive even those who are about to massacre them en masse. This is a very Christian idea, is it not? Remember the Amish who forgave the killers of their children; … the Amish whom Christians less forgiving often deride; … the Amish more rooted in Torah than they; … the Amish too simple to emulate.

  • Anonymous

    I think there are degrees of forgiveness. If you know that a person is not sorry who has hurt you, and will probably hurt you again in the future, I think it is prudent to avoid further contact with this person. Even if it is a close family member. Even if it is a spouse. Praying for them from a distance is probably about as much forgiveness as is wise.
    I also think that people who are predatory and debauched often preach forgiveness and “nonjudgemental” thinking because it allows them to continue to prey on others and act immorally without reprisals. It’s like the abusive husband who after beating up his wife will say and do all kinds of ingratiating or guilt inducing things in order to get her to let down her defenses, to set her up for more abuse. Preaching forgiveness is the sociopaths manipulative ticket back in.
    Jesus wants us to love others as much as we love ourselves. He didn’t say ‘don’t love yourself.’ We have an obligation to take care of ourselves and sometimes not forgiving, in the traditional sense, is the best way to do that. Praying for a person from a distance qualifies.

  • E F Ates

    As much as possible, live peaceably with all men… Sometimes this means avoiding the person who is irrational and argumentive. Forgiveness is not necessarily forgetfulness. While carrying the grudge permits the root of bitterness to creep in, forgiveness enables one to avoid this. Further, it is wise to remember while letting go of the hurt, thereby attempting to avoid a repeat of the hurt. For example, a brother is full of bitterness, constantly striking out at everyone, everything. Because it is impossible to get along with this individual, is it not better – while loving and praying for this individual – to avoid said brother?

  • Richard Ray Shreve, Ph.D.

    Superb guidance IF you can accept the initial premise about there not being an unforgivable act. In all due respect to the honorable Rabbi, this is entirely unrealistic as all acts or decisions (in decision theory) can be classifed as permanent, semi or temporary decisions. When a permanent decision (or act) is made, there is no recourse to any alternative. For example, the acts of the Nazi’s, or after one kills another person, or a spouse is unfaithful like mine was, there is no forgiveness because the act can not be reversed at least in the world we live. I am incapable, at least in the past, to offer any forgiveness when one does permanent damage to me or my children or my immediate family. I always look forward to the New Year with hope of performing as a better person but I am a realist and know my limitations when it comes to forgiveness.

  • minna leben

    There are many aspects to forgiveness as demonstrated in the comments read. Perhaps we can forgive – but does it mean that the relationship can continue as before – or as it was meant to be? Perhaps so, perhaps not. But if the person we are forgiving is indeed repentant – surely their actions will show this. Only the future can tell.

  • K

    Dr. Shreve –
    You make no mention of the discipline your PH.D. is in. That may be a good thing.
    While unfailingly faithful/monogamous all my life, this hasn’t always been returned, and, indeed, in my family, I appear to be a genetic mutant in this regard. I’ve been cuckolded more than once (as have ALL my SIL’s, my mother, grandmother, aunts, cousins…you get the idea).
    My relationships didn’t live through the bumps, but *I* did.
    I won’t say that there isn’t such a thing as an unforgivable sin – indeed, IMNSHO, we’re seeing several being played out on the center political stage ATM. But an AFFAIR? My, er…GOSH!
    You claim to be a realist; have you TRULY looked inward? Your blatant hostility toward your (ex-?)spouse is one thing; comparing it, in the same sentence, no less, with the Holocaust indicates a dangerous level of narcissism!
    People who think being wronged sexually compares IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, FORM, OR FASHION to the *Holocaust* are DANGEROUSLY unbalanced. IMNSHO.

  • kim

    I am having a hard time forgiving my mothers boyfriend. After she died, two weeks later, he proposed we go to a hotel for sex. Of course, I didn’t. I am trying to forgive him but I am having a real hard time. It is important to look at our guilt that makes us feel unworthy, undesirable, wrong and in turn can make us feel we deserve to be treated this way. When we forgive, we are forgiving ourselves in every way, shape and form. I have to forgive myself for being a bad daughter, then I will have better boundaries against attacks. I can’t be a better daughter now because both parents are dead. Now I only am responsible for being a good person, on my own. Forgiveness comes after we understand that we are to be held accountable for our mistakes and wrong doings, but to continue would be the biggest mistake ever.

  • Rick Stofer

    Many years ago, one of my best friends, Steven, decided that he no longer wanted to be my friend, and we started drifting apart until there was no further communication.
    I knew that Steven was HIV+ but at the time he was in very good health. Several years passed, and I would occasionally come across a mutual acquaintance. They would say, “How’s Steven?”, and I would, usually after a rather embarrased silence, explain that we had drifted apart.
    As luck would have it, let’s face it God’s will, I started working in a building where one of Steven’s still good friends worked. One day she said, “Steven is in the hospital.” “The situation is not good, the HIV virus has entered his brain, and it is really only a matter of time before it becomes fatal”. “Why don’t you come with me to the hospital to see him?”
    I explained about how Steven had cut me out of his life, but I said, if he would like to see me I would come.
    The next day she said that she had seen Steven, and he said, yes, he would love to see me.
    Steven and I reconciled that next evening in the hospital. It was as if no time had passed. I was able to see him a couple of times until he suddenly died two weeks later.
    A few weeks after his death, his case worker said that she had something for me. Steven had a favorite lamp that he had bought, a bargain, and he wanted me to have it.
    Steven’s lamp stayed by my bedside until I moved to the Czech Republic to teach English several years later.
    Had I not swallowed my pride, and forgiven him, I would still be regretting that we had not reconciled before his death.

  • Lin

    Choosing to believe there are no unforgiveable acts (in the eyes of the Divine), and being able to experience that level of forgiveness every time the opportunity arrises are very different things. We may be able to say, I know God forgives me or the other person, but though I want to do that too, I am not there yet. Acknowledging that the act is forgiveable through unconditional love is necessary if we are ever to get there. It is the first step. Prayer and reaching for the Divine Guidance to get there is step two. Allowing that God can do what we cannot do today, and giving ourselves to the possibility that God can helps us reach the day when we can forgive is the only way we will ever know peace. Holding on to the unforgiveness and resentment of another is the poison we take while we wait for the other to die. It hurts us, not them. Letting go is putting your attention and your focus on what works, what is positive instead of what didn’t work or what is negative. So, I can’t forgive someone who hurt me in the past yet, but I can appreciate them for what they did for me today that helped me, or I can appreciate someone else who did something that was positive for me. Forgiveness is a process often, not an event. But for it to ever happen, we must allow that it is always possible. And with God, all things are. Peace and Blessings to all.

  • LisaLou

    I just finished reading a wonderful book entitled, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I excerpted this section for a friend as we were recently talking about forgiveness and relationships. In this book God is talking with Mack, a father who lost his child to a horrific murder and this is their conversation about forgiveness. Regardless of ones religion, this can be applied. I personally found it very healing….Enjoy! Blessings, Lisa
    “Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It is about letting go of another person’s throat.”
    “But I thought you “forget” our sins?”
    “Mack, I am God. I forget nothing. I know everything. He looks at Mack and says..”because of Jesus, there is now no law demanding that I bring your sins back to mind. They are gone when it comes to you and me, and they run no interference in our relationship.”
    “But this man….”
    “But he too is my son. I want to redeem him.”
    “So what then? I just forgive him and everything is okay, and we become buddies?” Mack stated softly but sarcastically.
    “You dont have a relationship with this man, at least not yet. Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship. Mackensie, don’t you see that forgiveness is an incredible power-a power you share with us, a power Jesus gives to all whom he indwells so that reconciliation can grow?” When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine. In my relationship with those men, I will never bring up what they did, or shame them, or embarrass them.”
    “I don’t think I can do this” says Mack.
    “I want you to. Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver” answered God, “to release you from something that will eat you alive; that will destroy your joy and ability to love fully and openly. Do you think this man cares about the pain and torment you have gone through? If anything, he feeds on that knowledge. Don’t you want to cut that off? And in doing so, you’ll release him from a burden that he carries whether he knows it or not-acknowledges it or not. When you forgive another, you love him well.”
    “I do not love him.”
    “Not today, you don’t. But I do, Mack, not for what he’s become, but for the broken child that has been twisted by his pain. I want to help you take on that nature that finds more power in love and forgiveness than hate.”
    “So does that mean,” Mack was again a little angry at the direction of the conversation, “that if I forgive this man, then I let him play with Kate, or my first granddaughter?”
    “Mack” God said strong and firm. “I already told you that forgiveness does NOT create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.”
    “So forgiveness does not require me to pretend what he did never happened?”
    “How can you? You forgave your dad last night. Will you ever forget what he did to you?”
    “I don’t think so.”
    “But now you can love him in the face of it. His change allows for that. (MY CAPS for emphasis) FORGIVENESS IN NO WAY REQUIRES THAT YOU TRUST THE ONE YOU FORGIVE.”
    God continues, “Forgiveness does not excuse anything. Believe me, the last thing this man is, is free. And you have no duty to justice in this. I will handle that.”
    ****My words now…with conviction, Mack forgives the man his awful deeds and finally feels alive but says to God…****
    “So is it all right if I am still angry?” God responds, “Absolutely! What he did was terrible. He caused incredible pain to many. It was wrong and anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don’t let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck.”
    God says, “Son, you may have to declare you forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after that will be less until you realize that you’ve forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness and give him over to me so that my love will burn from his life every vestige of corruption. As incomprehensible as it sounds at this moment, you may well know this man in a different context one day.”

  • Patricia A. McKnight

    I consider the Holocaust an unforgiveable series of brutal acts over a long period of time. It did not affect me directly. It affected a great many millions of people– Jewish, and also Gypsies and homosexuals (of any religion)and also those of political persuasions different from the Nazis. I am not a religious person but this is one case where I would leave it to “God” to forgive — or not. Fortunately I feel I don’t have to do so myself! IT is much too large for one person – or at any rate, for this one person.

  • Al

    I too have had struggles to forgive,it’s safe to say I’ve had forgiveness issues even though the Bible says to forgive it’s easier said than done.

  • Patty

    I am having a hard time forgiving an ex boyfriend who was emotionally abusive and really did not love me at all. He put me into a house I couldn’t afford. Broke up with me a year into it and I struggled to try to make it on my own then just this month he stopped helping me and said to me he has helped me enough. Did not sign a contract and I am working two jobs and having a roomate to make it. I pray that God will help me forgive him and let him go because there was nothing between us that I should be so sad about. Its just the abondonement and the humiliation for many years to have to ask for money. I just want to let him go and know that God will deal with him. I pray that I can not let him hurt me anymore. Patty



  • Debbie

    I had done a wrong to my husband 20 years ago and to this day he is very biligerant and mean to the point of abuse and will not let this go. I have been married 38 years. In the beginning of marriage he was always mean and abusive-but i thought it would change. He had many affairs and always left me out of things. How do I get him to see he is wasting time always bringing the past up. I never tell him his wrongs-what is past should stay there

  • Jean

    Willie Nelson, as stated in one of his songs: “forgiving is easy, forgetting is hard to do.” A bible verse, “God forgive them, they know not what they do” helps me in forgiving but boy do I have a difficult time forgetting.
    I have huge hurt with my birth family in a 6 year lack of love & support after my child died in an auto accident (caused by an adult) I see them offer their love and support to others in similar situations which deepens my pain. Some situations with them have actually been abusive to me.
    The only reasoning I have come to is that they just don’t love me, which in itself is hurtful as a human being.
    They just recently, due to other family members having life/death situations, called to inform me so I wouldn’t feel left out.
    I am having a difficult time forgiving/forgetting enough to become involved with the family again. Maybe I shouldn’t?

  • Annette Lilley

    I spent fifteen years trying to help build my brother’s company. I feel I did an excellent job. When audited by the IRS I was told by my brother I should make the many digressions done by him and his partner my mistakes and say, oops! I was their bookkeeper. I found it hard to get another job in the field I had worked in the last fifteen years and difficult to get over the stigma caused. I had to take my brother to court to admit he and his partner were the guilty ones. Not to only to admit that, but to tell me to my face what I had tried so very hard to do all those years, and I believe I did, was to build a reputable company, and to tell me I had not done the job was unspeakable.
    I never hated my brother or his partner. I never had any intention of hurting them or try to ruin their company. Yes, they admitted they were at fault and I guess that’s why I settled the case before the jury actually had to deliberate. Also, by this time my brother’s partner was found to be off the hook since he hadn’t told me to lie to the IRS, but my brother had.
    That was eight years ago. My older brother worked at the same company as well and after I left I no longer was a member of either of their families. I became an outcast. At one time we were all very close and I truly miss those times.
    I went through breast cancer and buried my husband of 29 years without a word from either of my brothers. When my mom passed away a year ago I saw them at the funeral and due to my older sister and her husband we all went to lunch together. My two sisters were the only ones who would talk to me. My sister-in-laws were cordial.
    My brother seems to think I hate him, but I know all of the rest of us know differently. I believe he holds onto this thought so he can justify in his mind what he did and what I felt I had to do.
    I believe I gave him several occasions where I made myself open to him. I would very much like both my brothers to be a part of my life again. I don’t know if they’ll ever realize their loss, but I pray they do.

  • Madelyn Mayo, PhD

    With certainty I truly do believe in forgiveness and practice this daily, however I believe in forgiving the individual(s) who committed the harm on a soul level. I believe that remembering the harm to some degree is a form of survival for it is a lesson in preventing reoccurrence of the same or similar act, however this remembrance does not include throwing this up in the person’s face at every opportunity.
    I catalog my lessons well, but I am not a vindictive person and simply avoid repeating harmful lessons.

  • Trina

    Forgiveness, such an easy word to roll off of your tongue. But its the act of forgiveness whats tough. About 2 weeks ago my family created a huge production with DHS and the police about how I have abused my 16 year old child all of her life. Which is a lie. And therefore my child was put into the detention center and separated from me. You see on that Saturday night I awoke to find a man and my 16 year old daughter on the couch in my sitting room. And they were not sitting. So I whipped her. I whipped her with an extension cord and yes she got a couple of marks. But at no point was she abused. On Monday she didn’t come home from school. My family had abducted my child from school and I went crazy for 2 days before I was told what was going on. Mind you this was after I filed a missing persons report. Then I come to find out that my family and child have alledged that I am an abusive parent. That I am so rich and powerful that they are all afraid of me. Which is really funny to me seeming that I just received an insufficent funds notice from the bank! But they have DHS handling this case as a high profile case and have brought in workers from outside the county. And all I can think of is the fact that I never knew just how much my “family” hated me. My child is all that I have in this world and yet they have had her taken away from me. How can I forgive that? I don’t know how or where to start. Other than what do I do to get my child back the only other thing I can think about is what kind of revenge can I take out on them. Where do I go from here? How do I come back from this?
    Seeking His Face

  • let go

    during my life a great deal of people have done me wrong but i kelp forgiving and I let go, because if i don’t forgive them they will hold power over me. by me not talking to them is not going to change their life at all. but by me forgiving them will change mine life. so i just forgive them and keep going on with my life. so let go and let GOD deal with them!!!!!!!!!

  • Carol

    I was from an abusive, dysfunctional family. After college, I was lonesome because most my friends and even a younger sister had married. My family reminded me (often) of the failure I was. So, I married a man who said he couldn’t make it without me. I interpreted this as love. Seven years later, he turned from venting his wrath on me to our son, as well. I couldn’t take that. For the sake of my child, I separated. My husband could never realize that both of us didn’t deserve beatings, so divorce ensued. Five years later my son’d father got a misongynistic judge and an usncrupulous shrink to declare me the lesser parent and so my son was taken from me. Even though my child cried, he still managed to put one foot in front of the other after every visitation. Yes, my son was so able to return to the abuse.
    Finally, when the abuse turned to DRUG abuse (his dad and step-mother forced my son to take dangerous prescription unnecessarily), my son returned to me, at least on paper. For years he rebelled, but that seemed to cease, now that he married a lovely, loving woman. Now, I find that my son LIED to me over a couple of events that recently took place with his dad and stepmother. At least my son eventually told me the truth, but I am so hurt. I have prayed to forgive those who so totally trespassed against me (my ex and his wife, the judge, attorneys and shrinks). I have been able to forgive my parents for my mostly rotten childhood. What do you suggest? At the very least, could whoever reads this, say a small prayer for me?

  • Anonymous

    I will say a prayer for you Carol. Please remember, that gd does not send us any challenges that we can’t face and that you get the lessons you need to get in order to move to a higher level of enlightenment. I am really touched by your story. You are a strong person with a lot of love to give. Remember to give whatever it is you are wanting to recieve.

  • MK

    My friend sent me this. I’m in the midst of seeking forgiveness for becoming emotionally involved with a man other than my husband. Funny thing is it’s not my husband I’m seeking forgiveness from, but this other man. I’m asking him to forgive me for pushing him so hard to stay in contact that he now won’t even answer me. I’ve pushed so hard, I’ve forced him to ignore me. We both realize we have no right being in the relationship. I just don’t want to lose the connection to this man that is very real at the wrong time. We both have a strong Christian faith. I know how wrong it is, but I just want him to forgive me for caring as much as I do.
    I have asked God for HIS forgiveness, my husband has been more than forgiving. There were underlaying extenuating circumstance. I just want to know that the times we had will be remebered with a smile and not anger.
    I’m trying to forgive myself for all of this. That seems to be the hardest part of all. Pray for me.

  • Anonymous

    I have read so many articles and comments about forgiving others. For 4 years now I have found it extremely hard to forgive my husband who betrayed me by cheating with other women during the first 6 years of our marriage. 4 years ago when I found out about his betrayal, I was devastated, heartbroken, everything you can name. I thought that I was a good wife, doing everything that a wife could possibly do to prove herself a virtuous woman in all respects. This was the second marriage for me and the third for him. We were both retired when we met and starting second careers. I thought he had done everything that he needed to do and was a settled man. Boy, I could not have been more wrong. When I confronted him, of course he lied until he finally realized that I knew what he had been doing and said yes, he was cheating with the woman in his office. I contracted an STD and later learned that I had genital herpes. He denied ever passing the diseases on to me by never acknowledging the first and saying I must have contracted genital herpes from someone else. I learned that he is a compulsive liar, arrogant, secretive, disrespectful, never valued me as a woman and wife or our relationship and marriage. Today, 4 years later, he still works in the same office with the other woman. We went to counseling; he developed prostate cancer 2 years ago and there is no intimacy in our marriage. There was little or none anyway. We still live together but sleep in separate bedrooms. He is still arrogant and disrespectful. He has never said he was sorry and has never asked forgiveness for what he did to me. I am sorry to say that I don’t love him. I have tried to forgive him. I just don’t know how.
    HELP! I try to live according to God’s precepts, but this one thing is a hindrance for me.

  • La Verne Gene Jackson

    Forgiving those that has done hurtful things to me is extremely hard for me. while I don’t hold a grudge per se toword my children for treating me as if I am dead. My daughter and her husband has alienated me from my grandchildren; (I have a 1 year old granddaughter I’ve never seen). It is difficult for me to forget how much my sister has hurt me after trying to give her chance after chance (she is on drugs and in & out of prison). She has used me time after time, and now I’ve cut her off completely. I don’t want her around me AT ALL, nor will I answer her calls. I’m also having a very difficult time with forgiveness towards the man that has lied on me, has tried to ruin my reputation, and sworn to kill me after his release from prison because I ended our relationship. I know I HAVE to forgive them as the Bible states, but I don’t know where to start. All I want is closure, and continue to go on with my life. Please pray for me to be able to free myself from this pain!! Thank you for this forum.

  • Bernie

    Not everyone agrees with your philosophy. In fact, I almost daily read of the bitter ‘them’ and ‘us’ that puts a label of ‘terrorist’ on anyone with the name “Hussein”. Even a prominent theologian tells us that all Islamics are ‘sons of Ishmael’ – outcast by God.
    Who are we to believe?

  • Sugar

    I have been thru much the same thing that you have. My husband cheated on me also,this happed to me after 28yr of marriage it has been almost 10 years since My Husband confessed to me and the pain is stil there, everyday something comes up to remind what he did to our marriage and when I look at him, I fell the hurt and pain of what he did to us. He is sick also and I have to do almost every chore around the house that he used to do as well as take care of him, get him to his doctor appointment andd the list goes on and on. I have tried very hard to forgive him and I guess it comes in stages because I do have happy day now. I cry and ask god to please,help me to forgive him competely on what I call my bad days. And even tho I should I have hate in my heart for the other woman. I wish I could tell you all will but I can not, so sweetie just hand in there and make you choices wisely, pray for god to help you do the right thing. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Wish I could help you more, because I feel your pain everyday.

  • Betrayed

    How does one forgive a pastor who sexually abused their sons? Especially one who thinks he did no wrong, even after admitting his guilt?

  • cheryl

    my father cheated on my mother,he left her for somone else
    he was also abusive to her and our family
    my mother just died of cancer
    ovarian cancer(that says something right there)
    she never forgave him
    she remarried but she never forgave him
    it was so hard for her
    and is hard for me also
    his abuse of all of us that is
    i knew i was heading down the same road my mother was on
    5 yrs ago i woke up
    i became a reiki master
    a yoga instuctor
    took many spiritual classes
    studied many religions
    and ask God for help everyday
    i’m not saying you have to do these thing
    just that 1st ask for help
    then truly listen
    see the signs
    people will help
    miracles do happen
    you have to believe
    this is something i repeated in my mind for so long
    and still do to this day”i am worthy”
    there is always two sided
    we were all so sad he left
    at the same time all the abuse stopped
    anyway i could go on and on
    just trying to help
    hope this does
    cher from az.

  • Tereese C.

    It is the door to freedom, but we must open it ourselves.
    The reason the bible says to forgive is for OUR sake; it’s like
    taking the knife out of our own heart. It can’t be conditional on our feelings, whether or not the offending party asks for it or even acknowledges the hurt or is even aware there was an offence!
    We must decide to end the endless loop of pain by just pulling the plug on it.Ask God for strength to do it, as many times as it rears it’s ugly head, till its’voice is too weak to torment you.Seventy times seven or 1,000 times 10,000.We can’t change what is past but if we ask God for help we can have a future.

  • Annyomis

    Not to long ago, a roomate whom my family had been helping for8 months just walked out one day and decided that witthout any prior notice besides that day that she wanted baiscally not ot live with us anymore. The only thing we asked for 8 months was help with food that she and her family were free to eat and have their share of snacks, and we provided free electric, free cable, free internet access, free monthly money, free roof over their heads, and anything else you can probably possibley think of. However, she did not care that us three kids had tears in our eyes, or that I looked at her like an older sister, all she cared about was leaving. Even though she did all of this I forgive her and deep down I want to say so does my mother.

  • mk

    Please see my earlier comments.
    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I printed them and have them on my computer monitor so that every time I am tempted to think about or want to contact this man I am reminded to let it go. I forwarded this article to him I don’t know if he’s read it, but I can pray that he has. My only hope is that we both can forgive each other and maybe someday be friends again.
    I’ve never had a major event in my life that I have asked for or sought forgiveness of before. But I have had to be the one to forgive an abusive boyfriend many years ago. After a long period of time, I decided to let it go, forgive him in my heart and forget about it. I very rarely think of it, although through this emotional affair, I have thought often of the hurt it caused me, and wanted to end this so I am not emotionally abusing my husband, without him even being aware of it. I haven’t been present in my marriage in along time. I need to be. I went to my husband and asked for his forgiveness last night, and we talked a long time. I am incredibly blessed to have this wonderful man by my side.
    The forgiveness I seek now from this other man, is so important because we were so in this together, pushing and pulling each other. We have BOTH hurt each other terribly, and in order to move on, we BOTH need to offer and receive forgiveness. We both have acknowledged the hurt, but not made the ammends to end it. I’m SLOWLY moving forward towards the future and a better place. I hope he is as well. I know with God’s help I will be doing my best to forgive, forget and move on.

  • Dr

    My husband of 16 years cheated on me and we have split. it was truly hard on me and my children. i was so into my husband for everything, and could not believe he did this to me. my heart really was broken, it hurt so much, i never thought i would get over it and the aching feeling i felt. I have been really into god and turn to him everyday for strength. I have finally let go and forgive him. i am feeling better. if you do not forgive the hurt just keeps hurting….

  • Diana Ross

    I’m so thankful and blessed to have read this about forgiveness. To me forgiveness is the answer to peace of mine and peace of mine means everything to me and should mean everything to everyone else.

  • Marian W. Carter

    Dear Diana Ross:
    No one has anyone to forgive but him or herself. What we do in our relationships with others is to decide what that person ought to think and feel toward us. That person has his or her own mind and emotions.
    If their mind and emotions do not run on par with our’s, they still have free will to make a choice to go or to stay. The only thing they do not have the right to do is to cause us physical harm or to endanger us. We react because we cannot control them and get the outcome that we desire. Everything we truly need is inside us – it does not come from other persons – we just think it does.
    Anyway, Love is not a human emotion – it is universal oneness. We must want for others what we want for ourselves – absolute good; however, we do not have the right to define and contain how that is to be done should the other person decide it no longer works for him or her. You can only cause your Life force to become out of sync and then it will beat upon your cells, tissues and fibers so that they will not replicate in the order they were designed to do so. If that sustains long enough – that is the origin of dis-ease. If the Life force cannot enter your body in the harmonic rhythm it was designed to enter, there goes darkness – which leads to rot and decay – eventually the body cannot sustain the Life force and it “dies.”

  • sandy

    March 15, 2003 my world slipped away…My 53 year old brother and his son, 32, died in a private plane crash. They left Texas and going to land in Arkansas to refuel, very foggy, hit a radio tower and both were killed instantly. My nephew was flying the plane and was also a Marine, so always had an alternative to any problem.
    I had to blame someone so blamed my nephew as he had only 72 hrs. flying experience, a new plane to him, and his first flight that far from Texas. I said some harsh things and his mom (whom I have always adored, but divorced from my brother) found out the things I said.
    Anyway, when my mom died Aug. 2007, I read a poem at her funeral in the church…before reading this poem, I asked my ex-sister-in-law to please forgive me for the things I said, many feelings were hurt in 2003. BUT I will never forget the look in my mothers eyes when we told her of the death of her only son and my nephew…she looked at me as though she wanted to say.”why wasn’t it YOU instead”.
    I don’t have any siblings now and would like to get back with my ex-sister-in-law but just don’t know what to do.
    could you help? sandy

  • Barbara in Vegas

    I literally watch my mother deteriorate spiritually and physically from the hostility and anguish she held for my father after she discovered his unfaithfulness. She allowed herself to be consumed by an evil spirit that I was able to see whenever my father was late with his alimony payment. He knew if he was a DAY late he could count on her to come “foaming at the mouth” with anger to his door step. And that is what he did month after month. He munipulated and controled her for years in this respect and it took her a long time to get it!! But not without doing serious unrepairable damage to her heart and physical body. She actually blew a GASKET!! You see the rage that she allowed her body to endure resulted with an anyurism of her Aorta and in her goin!! The operation she had to repair the damage left her handicapped! She had to learn to walk again and was NEVER able to walk without the assistance of her (2) walking canes!! And nerve damage from the operation left her with 13 years of painful shingles until her death.
    I hated seeing my mother who was a very religious woman go thru this pain and suffering. Eventually she did forgive my father AND TURNED IT OVER TO THE lORD. I’m glad she found her peace before the end. I am only sorry that she did not find it sooner.
    The moral to the story! My father is still here 7 years later! Why is he still here?….. because GOD is giving him a chance to get it right before it is time for him to go home!! You see Mother COULD NOT punish him for his deed. He had to pay for his own sin! The best thing we can do is pray for God to give us forgivness at heart and turn it over to him. You see just as you and God have a relationship, the person who has trangressed against you may have a relationship also that they have asked for forgiveness and God may have granted that forgiveness!! Just as he did the thieves on Calvary that asked for forgiveness as he died on the cross!

  • dsands

    I recently had a friend tell me some important information about a former boyfriend which was shocking news.This was told to me way after she new about this,(apprx a year or year and a half ago). I was stunned about the bad news,then hurt she never told me until this year. She made a slight apology and excuses. As usual I accepted because I know she’s neurotic and eccentric. But I’ve had the worse dreams showing me how disloyal and not a friend she is towards me. I’m angry to realize this after all these years thinking otherwise. I’m much too forgiving to the point of feeling foolish about myself. I will continue this so called friendship but with distance and appreciation for my ability to forgive others and try to forgive myself for being too forgiving.

  • Karen

    You have made some very valid and sensible points. I was abused horrifically by my mother from birth to age 15 as well as my other 9 siblings were, also. My father left us with her at my birth. I am now age 41 and still struggle with forgiving both of them for their crimes of neglect and evil abuse. It was insanely physical, psychological, and emotional and verbal abuse. My dad’s crime was one of knowing he was leaving 10 young defenseless kids with a deranged and psychotic woman who was not being seen by a doctor or even seeking out one by not aknowledging there was an issue to be corrected. Neither one of them attempts to be in my life, and in fact, have told me to leave them alone so they can live their lives in peace. How can I forgive people like this? I thought I had at least 50x over. Yet, my heart pops up now and then and lets me know that I TRULY have not. I want to forgive them fully, but really, their crimes were heinous and sometimes I don’t feel that they need to be forgiven. They certainly have moved on with their lives and are happy. I’m the one stuck in decades of therapy trying to sort out the mess they left me in so I can live a life worth living. So I ask, “How do you forgive the unforgivable?”

  • Your Name

    Hello Rabbi,
    After reading some of the questions posted here my heart broke for these dear readers who, through their deep pain, are in search of wholeness. I would like to encourage them to continue pressing forward.
    The simple fact that you all are searching for wholeness is proof positive that God is at work in your life to bring you to himself. I once had a very dear friend, who happens to hold a Master’s in psychology, ask me concerning my own abuse, “What if your father were dead? How would you get through it all to forgiving him, if he weren’t here to come and ask your forgiveness?” That is a very profound question. I think it’s a question that demonstrates that by “granting” forgiveness to other people we are really freeing ourselves from the bondages that keep the slave chains tight around our necks.
    To Sandy, I would recommend you either call your ex-sis-in-law or write to her. Whichever you choose, keep it brief and to the point of a very heart-felt apology. Explain to her that in your grief, you were trying to make sense of it all. But be sure to include that you’re not trying to make excuses and that you do understand that your words deeply wounded her and were damaging to your relationship and for that you are deeply sorry. The key to an apology is acknowledging the other person has felt a betrayal and is wounded by it. If you are now sorry for the actual words you spoke back then, then be sure to include that. Ask if she can forgive you, but have enough respect for her to be willing to accept her answer if she says NO. After all, she does have a right to be angry and hurt. If she say’s no, tell her you’d like to revisit this conversation in the near future to give her some time to weigh what you’ve said. If she says YES, tell her you would like to re-build your broken relationship and that you understand that will take time. She’s probably missing your friendship as much as you’re missing hers. Dear One, my heart broke when you said you will never forget the way your mother looked at you when she heard your news. We humans are such a peculiar animal. We should NEVER conclude that the face of a grief stricken mother without doubt communicates her condemnation toward us. I have learned in my lifetime that people’s facial expressions, body language and even tone of voice most often do NOT match what is really in their hearts at that moment.
    If we walk around “perceiving” rejection from others, we will wound our own hearts and it will be our very own wounds that render us lifeless and restless. You can not know for certain what your mother felt at that moment unless you asked her and therefore you should in no way try to “own” words that were NOT spoken. Do not allow your heart to walk in the fear of possible rejection.
    To dsands I’d like to encourage you to begin to stand up for your own self. It really is alright for you to listen to your heart when your heart tells you this girl has NOT been a true friend. It really is alright Dear One to forgive someone, but not to want to continue standing in the way of their destructive patterns. Forgiving someone does not mean you have to be their friend if they have not changed. I had to walk away from my two best friends because they both were taking drugs, using people, sleeping around when they had spouses, etc. I can forgive them for what they did to me, but I don’t have to be apart of their sicknesses any longer.
    I guess my question concerning this friend is “What is it that this girl feels you did to her that she needs to punish you for? I mean if she were a “true” friend, she would have spoken to you as soon as she knew. What pleasure did she gain from offering hurtful information at this time? Here’s where it gets tricky though, because you left some vital info out, I can only speculate… If the news she learned was “during” your time with the boyfriend, a true friend would want to offer you the respect you deserve and tell you he’s playing you for a fool. If she learned the info “after” you broke up, then why does it matter? The info at this late date (1 ½ yrs later) only serves as a weapon to injure your healing heart, which a true friend would not wish to do.
    If she were truly remorseful, she would have never made excuses and she certainly would not have only made a “slight apology”. If she wasn’t willing to tell you when she learned of it, then she should have simply protected you and kept her mouth shut. You can sincerely forgive her, but understand that you are NOT obligated to be her friend if she hasn’t changed from the incident.
    To Karen; Dear One, I too have been abused and I know first hand how debilitating and emotionally crippling it is. I also know how difficult the journey back to “a life worth living” can be. But please believe me… the journey is truly worth the difficult efforts. Dr. Dan B. Allender has a wonderful book called “Bold Love” that I highly recommend for your hurting heart. I purchased a copy for a friend just today on for only $2.00.
    I too struggled with the concept of “forgiveness” until I came to this understanding; Granting Mercy to someone who abused you is allowing them to walk away from the punishment and the death that they so rightly deserve and offering to them instead, the Grace of blessings that they most certainly do not deserve. Granting Mercy is allowing The Lamb of God to put those utterly evil crimes that were committed onto His own body to be sacrificed one time, before God to satisfy His demand for atonement. Offering Grace is allowing the God of the Universe who is Sovereign in all His ways to bless them as He sees fit, even though they do not deserve His blessings.
    If you are not at a place that you can freely wish Mercy and Grace for your parents, then begin to pray and ask God to help you enter that place. God will be gracious to you as he promised he would never break a bruised reed. Dear One, place your tender, fragile heart in his hands and as you climb up into his loving lap he will rock you gently to the restful place of His Peace that your soul craves to enter.
    God’s message is one of reconciliation and I do believe that is His desire for the hearts of mankind as well (to be reconciled one to another in God). Dr. Allender’s book can help you with this also. However, if open and honest reconciliation is attempted after learning the right way to seek it through reading that book and your parents reject the offer, then remember their decision is on them and you can walk free from your prison chains (the book will help you with that too). This is being a true “overcomer”.
    I will continue praying for strength for you.
    To Barbara in Vegas I would like to encourage you to seek a deeper understanding of grief and shame so that you will not be tempted to offer “shallow” advice to people whose wounds are so deep they are through to the other side.
    You see it is tempting to offer “cliché” advice such as; “Let go and let God”, “just forgive”, “This too shall pass”, “Live the way God intended you to live”, etc. Please don’t be offended, I am not trying to complain, I do think you had good intensions, but the problem lies in that when people are so deeply wounded that they have lost the ability to “trust” anyone; even God himself, those cliché’s aren’t much help. In fact, they tend to just make the wounded heart even angrier. You cannot tell me to “forgive” if I don’t understand the steps of how to do that or what it looks like.
    And saying things like, “the closer you should make your relationship with God” is downright insensitive! You are speaking to people who have been betrayed by those they trusted, those who were supposed to take care of them and help them learn about life in a safe and healthy way; so the last thing on earth they are ABLE to do is to “trust God”~ oh they want to with all they have, and some days they do it very well. Dear One, if it were just that easy do, no-one would be suffering. So I ask that whenever you offer advice, you first put on the compassion of Yeshua and truly empathize with the one receiving your pearls of wisdom. I’m not suggesting that people just wallow in their hurt, but let’s get real; if the Good Samaritan had approached the man lying beaten half to death in the road and shouted out; “LET GO, LET GOD HANDLE IT! LIVE YOUR LIFE AS GOD INTENDED FOR YOU TO!! THE MORE YOU PAIN THE CLOSER YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!! THERE WILL BE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS BUT HE LOVES YOU AND HE FORGIVES YOU!! (your quotes) his words would have been of absolutely NO benefit what-so-ever.
    Wounds must be cleaned, wrapped and cared for before healing can begin.

  • Susan

    My husband and I have been extremely close friends with a very accomplished couple for twenty years. I am especially close to the man, who I’ll call Steve, who is spiritual mentor and my rabbi. Well, a few months ago, Steve, told his kind and adoring wife, Barbara, that he wanted a separation and probably a divorce. He told me the reason that he wanted a divorce was because he wanted to be single and date young women. They are living in separate parts of the same house, because they can’t afford separate homes. Steve has not told any of his friends what is going on, except me (and even then, he waited two months), although Barbara told everyone why she has resigned from the temple. He refuses to get any therapy or even try to work it out. I think he believes that dating younger women will keep him from aging. I am totally disgusted with his behavior, and do not know how I will make it through the High Holiday Services. (I am an officer in the temple.)

  • Tammy

    I hurt someone deeply. But not intentionally. Now we are living in the same home due to circumstances mostly financial. He says he forgives me but i can tell he doesnt because of the coldness and anger. Which he also denies that he feels. But he has ended our 3 yr relationship because he says he can never trust me not to make him feel like a fool again. I can tell he still loves me by the conflict in his emotions. My question is how do you get someone to forgive that is in total denial that they are in unforgiveness?

  • Tom

    I’ve caused several hurts to others in my life and have been working to remove my propensity to continue lying. I don’t believe that ‘little white’ lies are OK anymore In my efforts to move away from NOT being open, honest, forthcoming, truthful and transparent, I have come to recognize and affirm that truth is best. The ramifications of my being caught in a lie end up being much worse than the ramifications I feared of telling the truth. Sadly, I KNOW this, and yet recently I was dishonest with my partner because I feared that she would leave me if she knew. Being honest with myself, she may have decided to leave on her own for her own reasons, but I handed her a reason because I lacked the confidence that she would stay with me despite relatively inane incidents that I chose not to disclose.
    Well, I wasn’t forthcoming about my deception and she found out anyway. She told me that the information that I wasn’t forthcoming about was not a big issue alone, but it was the fact that I was dishonest and lied. She’s chosen to put our relationship on hold. I’m really sad about this. I’ve come so far in improving myself, but made the same non-disclosure about my communication with other women with whom I’ve have at least some level of past involvement, and although nothing untoward was happening or was going to happen, my stupid decision to deceive her makes it look like I am an unsafe person to be involved with.
    I know this is just me talking, but I realize that a lie is a lie and it destroys trust and honesty in a relationship. When I lied, I lied out of fear that she would leave our relationship. I realize that my issues are rooted in a lifelong problem of my feeling like I’m just not good enough, which has no basis in reality.
    Our relationship was beautiful, fun, loving, and offered hope to me that it would continue to blossom. My hope for the future, and fear that she would back out caused me tell lies about ‘nothing’ issues. I destroyed her trust in me, and now I wait patiently. She’s really hurting and I’m just giving her a lot of space, and more with time. It’s been 1 1/2 weeks since our break. I also know she hasn’t given up on us because she’s told me the telltale signs of her usual tactics for truly ending a relationship and she’s done NONE of those.
    I continue to work on eliminating all dishonesty from myself. I love her and I want very much to be granted the opportunity to reconcile our relationship. What steps does anyone suggest to begin the process of reconciliation? Should I simply give her more time and continue to distance myself and offer kindness, love and hope when we do interact? Help please. A different perspective of my situation from the outside looking in, will be very helpful.

  • Tom

    P.S. Aside from ceasing lying, how do I atone for my lies to her, especially if she’s really keeping her distance from me. We have contact, be it’s very evident from her choice to continue distanced from me that I’ve hurt her badly and she believes that my lying is going to be commonplace. Sadly, I’ve improved dramatically in two areas: the quantity of my lies and the relative importance of what I’ve chosen to lie about is the only thing that remains, as I no longer lie about the ‘big’ stuff any more.
    So, what can I do to show her that I’m repentant and also working actively to remove this flaw? My concern is that I may never be perfectly honest enough. I’ll just do me best and watch her response. If you pray, pray for me to continue on my positive path of self-improvement and pray for both of us to heal, as well.

  • Tom

    P.S. Aside from ceasing lying, how do I atone for my lies to her, especially if she’s really keeping her distance from me. We have contact, be it’s very evident from her choice to continue distanced from me that I’ve hurt her badly and she believes that my lying is going to be commonplace. Sadly, I’ve improved dramatically in two areas: the quantity of my lies and the relative importance of what I’ve chosen to lie about is the only thing that remains, as I no longer lie about the ‘big’ stuff any more.
    So, what can I do to show her that I’m repentant and also working actively to remove this flaw? My concern is that I may never be perfectly honest enough. I’ll just do me best and watch her response. If you pray, pray for me to continue on my positive path of self-improvement and pray for both of us to heal, as well.

  • Dominick

    I have told many lies in my past, and I regret all of them. Quite frankly I was young and immature when I told all of these lies, but that doesn’t excuse my actions. My past still haunts my present. I feel terrible about everything that I have done. If I could go back in time, I would take all the lies that I told back. I wish I would have just thought about the consequences before speaking. Now, I have to live everyday of my life knowing that I have lied to the people that I care about. Obviously I am not proud of any of this. I just want to move on from all of the awful mistakes that I have made., but that’s hard. It’s hard living everyday of my life knowing the pain and agony some of my lies have caused. I now know that telling the truth is always the right path to go. Lying just causes problems and nothing good comes out of it. I’m learning from my mistakes in the past to better myself. I’m very sorry for all of the lies that I’ve told. All I want is forgiveness and to be able to move on with my life.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment RITA PITTMAN


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment patsy

    I have been in a great deal of pain since my mothers death last March. How can I begin to think about forgiving my sisters for what they did on the day she died?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cindy

    I seem to recall reading that at Rosh Hashanah after a certain number of requests for forgiveness,which are neither honored nor entertained,we are allowed to forgive ourselves? Is that correct and does that inability of the person unable to forgive then become something for which they should seek forgiveness?

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