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Forgiveness

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By Thomas L. Thorkelson | September 9, 2011
Some years ago, I saw an old friend at a conference. He seemed somewhat reserved when I enthusiastically approached him, and eventually he informed me that many years previously, I had done or said something that offended him and he had spent these years angry with me. He even remembered precisely what I did, which I could not recall at all. I was astounded and apologized profusely. I had no idea of his hurt and had continued to hold him in high esteem. While I now believe the angst has healed, I gave it a great deal of thought afterward.
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By Deborah Barrett | June 29, 2012
What can we do when we have made a mistake that has caused harm to others? Is there anything we can do to be free from guilt and again feel peace of mind? A process for asking for forgiveness from others and learning to forgive ourselves involves six steps. It is easier to enter into this kind of a process when there is a path, a guide and some support, which most religious and spiritual traditions offer. The process is personal and flexible, and it should be regarded as a guideline or suggestion, not a rigid set of rules that can fit every situation exactly.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | May 3, 2013
My request that readers share their opinions about whether or not we should forgive the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect generated a flood of articulate and deeply moving responses. Here are just two examples, followed by my response: Why we should forgive the Boston bomber: As a Christian pastor, I believe and I teach that Jesus clearly admonishes us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). He also teaches that if we don't forgive others, then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15)
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By Billy Graham | November 29, 2013
Q: I know Jesus said we're supposed to forgive people who've hurt us, but why bother? As far as I can tell, it doesn't really change them, nor does it make the hurts go away. — P.L. A: Admittedly, forgiving someone who's hurt us doesn't always change them. Instead, they may laugh at us, or cynically accuse us of being insincere and only trying to manipulate them. They also may keep blaming us for what happened, just as they've always done. But occasionally it will change them — sometimes in surprising ways.
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October 2, 2009
Hasn’t everyone? For me, journeys of forgiveness begin with choosing non-retaliation, traveling through prayer and understanding, and, ideally, arriving at compassion; the process moves from hostility to hospitality. If I embrace the joy of God’s creativity in place of my own hurt and weakness, then God’s love can make me strong and rich and able to give and forgive. Forgiveness from the heart and mind is difficult, but once done what is shared is the laughter of God. The Very Rev. Canon Peter D. Haynes St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church of Corona del Mar How can one not struggle with forgiveness?
NEWS
August 17, 2002
"Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness or else forgiving another." -- Jean Paul Richter Last week I attended a leadership conference. For 2 1/2 days I sang, prayed, took notes, laughed, cried and took more notes at an event designed to motivate us to develop leadership qualities in whatever roles God has called us to fulfill. It was my first experience with video broadcasting, and though originally skeptical, I now believe in the potential of positive technology to connect people across many miles.
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By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 26, 2013
Q: Would Joseph's brothers have asked for forgiveness if they were not about to starve to death? — R., Kenosha, Wis., via godsquadquestion@aol.com A: Gandhi once famously remarked, "To a starving man, God is bread. " His point is that our spiritual horizons are often defined by our physical circumstances. That may have been true of Joseph's brothers, but it's definitely true for all of us after the Boston Marathon bombings. To me, now, God is safety for my family and friends and nation.
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By CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON | April 8, 2006
"In the long run, it's not a question of whether they deserve to be forgiven. You're not forgiving them for their sake. You're doing it for yourself. For your own health and well-being, forgiveness is simply the most energy-efficient option. It frees you from the incredibly toxic, debilitating drain of holding a grudge. Don't let these people live rent-free in your head. If they hurt you before, why let them keep doing it year after year in your mind? It's not worth it but it takes heart effort to stop it. You can muster that heart power to forgive them as a way of looking out for yourself.
FEATURES
By MARK MILLER | April 14, 2007
CBS Radio and MSNBC fired Don Imus this week after he referred to Rutgers University's women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." Initially, the companies agreed to suspend Imus for two weeks after he apologized but calls for his ouster escalated. Have we established a higher standard for forgiveness with public figures and, if so, do you think that's fair? In our culture of apology, everyone must take his turn on the rack of regret and walk the gauntlet of shame. The "sorry" business is a growth industry, a communal syndrome.
FEATURES
August 21, 2009
Some years ago, I saw an old friend at a conference in an eastern city. He seemed somewhat reserved when I enthusiastically approached him, and eventually he informed me that many years previously, I had done or said something that offended him and he had spent these years angry with me. He even remembered precisely what I did, which I could not recall at all. I was astounded and apologized profusely. I had no idea of his hurt and had continued to hold him in high esteem. While I now believe the angst has healed, I gave it a great deal of thought afterward.
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By Rabbi Marc Gellman | March 21, 2014
Q: I grew up with five siblings, but after Dad died, our weak relationships went from bad to worse. To this day, two of my siblings and I get along fine. We've admitted to the pain we caused each other and asked for forgiveness. My relationships with the other three are not fine. I've tried asking them what I did to cause them pain, and though their answers are vague, I figure if they're hurting, I need to ask for forgiveness. Each time, they say they want nothing more to do with me. I feel I am supposed to ask for forgiveness seven times 70, but their cruel lies about me make me keep my distance from them.
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By Rabbi Marc Gellman | February 21, 2014
Some time ago, I asked readers to share with me the one question they would ask God. I personally would ask: "Was I a good man?" I'd want to know how much of our goodness is credited by God, how much of our evil is forgiven by God, and how much God simply overlooks as the residue of our broken human-ness. Christians generally believe that we are justified only by faith — saved by what we believe. Judaism believes that we are justified by our works — saved by what we do. I think both beliefs are right and wrong.
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By Billy Graham | November 29, 2013
Q: I know Jesus said we're supposed to forgive people who've hurt us, but why bother? As far as I can tell, it doesn't really change them, nor does it make the hurts go away. — P.L. A: Admittedly, forgiving someone who's hurt us doesn't always change them. Instead, they may laugh at us, or cynically accuse us of being insincere and only trying to manipulate them. They also may keep blaming us for what happened, just as they've always done. But occasionally it will change them — sometimes in surprising ways.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | May 3, 2013
My request that readers share their opinions about whether or not we should forgive the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect generated a flood of articulate and deeply moving responses. Here are just two examples, followed by my response: Why we should forgive the Boston bomber: As a Christian pastor, I believe and I teach that Jesus clearly admonishes us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). He also teaches that if we don't forgive others, then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15)
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 26, 2013
Q: Would Joseph's brothers have asked for forgiveness if they were not about to starve to death? — R., Kenosha, Wis., via godsquadquestion@aol.com A: Gandhi once famously remarked, "To a starving man, God is bread. " His point is that our spiritual horizons are often defined by our physical circumstances. That may have been true of Joseph's brothers, but it's definitely true for all of us after the Boston Marathon bombings. To me, now, God is safety for my family and friends and nation.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 12, 2013
Q: In my local newspaper today, there were articles about Jared Loughner, who shot and killed six people and wounded 12 more in Arizona in 2011, and James Holmes, who is linked to the fatal shooting of 12 people and wounding of an additional 58 in a Colorado movie theater last year. Both of these young men, and many (if not most) of the other mass shooters in recent years, seem to have had histories of serious mental illness. Loughner's family reported that he was constantly talking to people who weren't there and thought the government was out to get him - classic symptoms of severe paranoid schizophrenia.
NEWS
By Billy Graham | February 8, 2013
Q: I'm furious, because the man I've been seeing for two years told me at Christmas that he's decided not to divorce his wife and marry me. Our relationship was secret, but what would be wrong with letting his wife know what's been going on? He deserves to get hurt for going back on his promise to me. — B.W. A: I'm probably not going to give you the answer you want to hear, but it would be wrong for you to lash out in anger and try to hurt this man and his family. I even wonder if you secretly hope his wife will turn against him and send him back into your arms, but if so, this too would be wrong.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | September 14, 2012
I am deep in prayer and preparation for the Jewish High Holidays that begin with the Jewish New Year celebration of Rosh Hashana this Sunday evening (all Jewish holidays begin the sundown before the day of the holiday. This is followed in 10 days by Yom Kippur, the day of fasting and repentance, beginning at sundown Sept. 25. Let me do my work with you first. I ask your forgiveness, dear readers, for all my careless words and phrases that have distorted the word of God or the teachings of other faiths, or have hurt or confused you in any way. God is not through with me yet. I also forgive you for all those moments when what you thought you read is not what I wrote, nor what I meant, and so on those occasions, which I hope were rare, you did not have the great pleasure of understanding me. May all my Jewish readers and their families enjoy a New Year of health and happiness, and may the healing of our broken world begin with each and every one of us. To my non-Jewish readers, God bless you and keep you and may we find our way together and apart up the paths we've chosen on the same mountain.
NEWS
By Deborah Barrett | June 29, 2012
What can we do when we have made a mistake that has caused harm to others? Is there anything we can do to be free from guilt and again feel peace of mind? A process for asking for forgiveness from others and learning to forgive ourselves involves six steps. It is easier to enter into this kind of a process when there is a path, a guide and some support, which most religious and spiritual traditions offer. The process is personal and flexible, and it should be regarded as a guideline or suggestion, not a rigid set of rules that can fit every situation exactly.
NEWS
By Steve Dale | May 22, 2012
Question: I once lived in Highland Park, Ill., with a cat named Poco. We were inseparable. When he was diagnosed with kidney stones, I had to give him up. I just couldn't afford treatment in 1987. I still miss Poco very much. How do I ask for forgiveness when he depended on me for everything? I feel like I let him down big time. — C.H., Bloomington, Ind. Answer: How I wish we had the power to change the past, but so far, that can't be done. And I don't have the power to exonerate you. Besides, who am I?
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