Forgiveness

(Part 3 of 3)

 

In Part 1 of Forgiveness we took a look at forgiveness for others as a process of self-forgiveness. In Part 2 we looked at the things that we can do to hasten the process. In Part 3  we will look at two exercises that are more external in focus, yet are ones that can assist us in moving toward the goal of forgiveness.

 

The first exercise requires that we be realistic about our own level of rage. We cant really forgive someone for something that we dont believe should be forgiven. We can try, but it wont work. However, the process of forgiveness can be started by beginning to pardon the other person for all the things with which we can angrily agree. For instance, we can say I forgive the offender for:

 

  being so blind

  being so insecure

  being so dishonest

  being so sadistic

  being so childish

  being so needy

  being so immature

  being so pathetic

  being so scared

  being so disgusting

  being so manipulative

  being so disabled

  being so out of control

  being so sick

  being so perverted

  being so dependent

  being so punitive

  being so impulsive

  being so weak

  being so numb

  being so unable to see me

  being so able to disregard the destruction he/she wrought

  being so overcome with self-hatred

  being so easily embarrassed and subject to others judgments

  being such a failure

  being so unconscious and unaware

  being so cruel and mean

  being such an immature baby

  being so selfish

  having no inner mastery over what he/she intellectually knows

  being so paranoid

  being so prone to shame and embarrassment

  having a lack of courage; for running away, turning tail

  having so much pathology

  having the inability to hide who he/she really is

  fearing loss

  fearing what I might see in him/her

  fearing my personal power

  feeling intimidated by me

  trying to level the playing field by misusing his/her own power

  constantly putting me in double-bind, no-win situations

  relishing my weaknesses

 

This list helps us develop an awareness of just how pathological or immature our abuser is. Even if we cant fully forgive our abuser for his/her pathology and immaturity, the list will aid us in our efforts to view things realistically rather than pretend that everything was our fault.

 

The second practical exercise that we can do to start the process of forgiveness while were still extremely angry is to imagine ourselves beating up our abuser physically and verbally. It will be beneficial to observe our own sadism as we relish the beating. This will help us begin to take responsibility for our sadism, which will hasten our forgiveness. However, what helps even more is to imagine how the offender is receiving our beating. Does it almost seem as though were beating a child? Does it seem like were being a sick person? Does it seem like were beating someone who is already so beaten up by life that its almost too much to continue our beating? Does it seem like were beating a wooden figure, someone who is so numb and detached that he or she cant feel a thing? Does it seem like were beating someone with absolutely no awareness or understanding of what he/she has done? Does it seem like were beating someone who is barely hanging on? Are we beating a depressed wreck? Are we beating an empty vessel?

 

Once we become aware of any of these scenarios, the urge to continue beating goes away. Awareness enlightens us. Our compassion takes over and we realize that we must stop. In time we can start forgiving simply because we realize that the individual were beating is a complete mess and most likely fails to know what it is he/she is doing. This is reminiscent of Jesus statement from the cross, Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.