For the twelfth week of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I read Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey - Nine Steps of Forgiving through Jesus' Beatitudes by Flora Slosson Wuellner. The author uses the Beatitudes as a way of framing the nature of forgiveness.
Some of the highlights from the book include:
- Forgiveness is a major release: a release from the prison and burden of the past. This release does not mean release from responsibility for what what done. Nor does release necessarily mean release from paying a penalty in this world. It means release from the chains of resentment and guilt that hold us back from...freedom [and a] new beginning.
- Mourning includes more than anger and sorrow. Mourning can include a feeling of vulnerability after we have been hurt. We feel like a target. Now that such a hurt has happened, we wonder if it will happen again. We feel unprotected in a hurtful, dangerous world, wondering whom we can trust.
- Shame is often a response to being wounded...We may feel humiliated, somehow rendered unclean and unworthy when we have been abused. It is a well-documented fact that victims of abuse....often do not name or report abuse because they feel shame and embarrassment that such a thing has happened to them. They may feel they have brought it on themselves and are unworthy of help.
- Healthy forgiveness is usually impossible if these feelings are pushed past too quickly in the name of forgiveness. Such feelings do not go away until they are healed.
- In situations that are not...critical, we may well need a time of emotional distancing. We may need to stop meeting or talking with the other person for a while, taking the space and time we need before we interact again.
- Even when dealing with hurts that are truly trivial, it is wise to create an inner safe space, an inner distances, if only for a few moments to face what has happened and what we feel about it. We can go into another room, take a walk, gaze at a tree or plant, take a few breaths at an open window, close our eyes for a few minutes.
- Meek: not self-effacing, passive, or submissive. He knew his worth, and he knew that his intentions had been good. But he listened, he was open to change, and he responded to this experience out off an inner power rather than force.
- In this wounded and wounding world we will always be in some less-than-perfect relationships.
- Abusiveness is an addiction to power exerted over another, and mere communication skills do not heal it. Setting limits is absolutely necessary in such cases.
- The best reparation we can offer is to become compassionate toward those who mistreat us the way we mistreated others, releasing them from resentment. For example, instead of taking offense at a friend who had forgotten or who was too busy to call or white me, I would try to remember how often I too had become distracted and overwhelmed by daily chores an neglected others.
- If we split our energies, if we try to serve two conflicting purposes, if we say one thing and do another, we are living dangerously fractured lives.
- We will need to release our expectations that past history can be changed or compensated. That is past. Yes, something was lost, and harm was done. I grieve for it. But now, I am in a different spiritual and emotional universe. I see with different eyes. I am a new person now. -