Thursday, October 27, 2005


Why is it so hard for me to forgive? Well, of course, I mistook a teaching from a Sunday School teacher many, many years ago for being actual church doctrine, and I was young and impressionable enough to believe whatever adults told me. They would not lie to a child, right?

All this was before I discovered that not everything written in books is true, and before I could more clearly separate opinions from facts. You see, I used to think that in order to forgive someone you had to forget what they had done. I don't know how much problems this caused, and I used to worry about God forgiving my sins because I couldn't forgive others. Having a good memory in this case did not turn out to be a blessing. And of course, a symptom of avoidant personality disorder is having a good memory particularly for unpleasant events. (Fortunately, due to a genetic quirk I have a near photographic memory for almost everything.)

In some small ways this might have contributed to bitterness, but it's hard to forgive the same people everyday when they keep committing the same transgressions against you day after day. I wanted vengeance in High School. I still do, but I realize that the sort of thing may not end well for me.

I harbored the bitterness and anger for many years, and had mood swings and outbursts of anger long after they changes of puberty should have stopped. I became quite good at ranting anything that annoyed me and working customer service for any length of time did not help this attitude.

All this is leading up to how I got over it. When I finally confronted my own anxiety and depression problems, I went through a vocational rehab program that included several “counseling” sessions that were off the clock. Forgiveness came up several times as a way to get past things that may have been in your history. That wasn't the final thing that clicked though. Out of curiosity to see what they believe, I took RCIA courses and one of them just happened to be on forgiveness. It seems you don't have to forget what others did to you, you just have to no longer let it be a problem for you.

Can you imagine how great a relief it was for someone with a near-photographic memory and what she perceived as a bitter life experience to have heard that? If I had been told that in CTR so many years ago (and I know my Mormon reader remembers those rings), it would have been so much easier.

I don't know what you were told, but I hope you were not told the same thing I was. Truthfully, being able to forgive people gives you the power to move on. Chances are you have things in the future that are far more important than what someone else did to you in the past.


At Thu Oct 27, 11:00:00 AM 2005 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Thu Oct 27, 04:14:00 PM 2005 , Blogger Swingin80 said...

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At Thu Oct 27, 10:06:00 PM 2005 , Blogger Becca said...

There are many things I am not good at, but forgiving is one thing I am good at, if that could be a talent. And truly life is much better if you feel at peace with someone, rather than negative feelings.


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