Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’


The Power of Forgiveness

August 15, 2020

Forgiveness is a powerful thing, especially for survivors. It sets us free. When we are not able to forgive, we lock ourselves into a prison of our own making. The other person may not even be aware of our resentment and bitterness. They go free while we are obsessed with visions of revenge, whether we can carry them out or not.

Forgiveness is also very misunderstood. People will say, “forgive and forget” while not even recognizing that forgiving and forgetting are two separate things. That is why the word “and” is in that phrase. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is not pretending nothing happened. It is not trusting the one who hurt us. It does not even require having any kind of current relationship/connection with the person. If someone slipped you a date drug and raped you, does forgiving them really mean you should go out with them again? Of course not! Yet, that is the logical endpoint of “forgive and forget”! People do not realize what they are saying makes no sense!

Over the years, I have seen survivors locked in the prison of unforgiveness because they have been told they must trust the person completely and treat them as if they have done nothing to harm them. Naturally, this creates conflict within the person. How they can they forgive with that criteria? So, when they would ask me how I could forgive, I would explain how I see forgiveness in two levels.

One level is my releasing them from my desire for revenge. I remove myself from the self-imposed roles of judge, jury and executioner. (That does not mean I don’t participate in legal proceedings against them if it is appropriate.) I release them from taking up space in my head and heart. But I do not trust them and may not even have relationship with them. This person may or may not have even acknowledged their actions against me. They may or may not have asked for forgiveness.

The other level of forgiveness involves giving them a chance to prove themselves trustworthy again. This means the person seems to be genuinely sorrowful for what they have done and asked for forgiveness. I do not trust them immediately, of course, but give them a chance to earn it. In other words, I might allow someone who stole from me into my house, but I sure won’t leave my purse in the same room with them. It can take a long time to rebuild trust, if ever.

Those are two pretty rough divisions, but they really helped them to find the freedom of forgiving. Years later, I found Dr. Stephen Marmer on a Prager U video talking about forgiveness. He does a much better job and divides it into three categories. I highly recommend it. It is only about five minutes long. The video is on both YouTube and their site. You can download the transcript from their site. I am giving you the links to both.

This is the Prager U site where you can get the transcript to download.


Forgiving the Unforgivable…Is it Possible? Is it Wise? Is it Safe?

April 10, 2015

There is so much confusion over what forgiveness is and what it is not.

It is NOT forgetting.

It is NOT pretending nothing ever happened.

It is NOT trusting again.

Depending upon the offense and the people involved, it can be possible to rebuild trust (or even build it for the first time). It can also be possible to gain a relationship where the healing goes deeply enough and extensively enough that it really is as if nothing happened. And it can be possible that after time passes, the offense does slip away from at least conscious memory. Yes, those things can be a part of forgiveness, but they do not have to happen in order to forgive. In fact, in many cases it can be downright dangerous for those things to happen.

One of the very best explanations of forgiveness on a human level that I have seen is in the video done by Dr. Stephen Marmer for Prager University. You can find it here:

If you are interested in the transcript, it can be found here:  Marmer on Forgiveness.

Many years ago, I understood that there are two levels of forgiveness, both of which are in the bible. So, yes, this does fit in with biblical forgiveness…another very misunderstood concept. If you have questions about that, please don’t hesitate to contact me, either in the comments or via the contact form, and I will do my best to answer them. For those who are interested, I did run this by a pastor who thought Dr. Marmer was a pastor until he saw that he is a psychiatrist.

Dr. Marmer takes one of my two levels of forgiveness and divides it again into two, making three total levels. I totally agree with him.

I cannot recommend this video enough and I hope it blesses you.


And life goes on…

July 15, 2013

Life goes on…even after curve balls get thrown at us. I am looking at a loved one in jail and the loss of relationship with other loved ones because of it.

None of this is my choice. It is not my fault one is in jail. It wasn’t my influence that put him there. I have always been against everything he got into and did. It is not my fault that his ex seems to be choosing to keep me away from not only herself, but their children. It isn’t right for her to do this, but it is what it is.

I think what is hardest is that, if she really does keep us apart, what will the children think? Will she lie to them and tell them I am not calling? That I don’t care? That I am related to the one who did bad things? Never mind that he had a brother I am also related to who is a good man!

Sometimes, forgiveness and love are all we have to offer. It is all we can do when things in the world are out of our hands and we are powerless to change them.

I found a really good video on forgiveness. This man defines it well and makes it easy to understand.



Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.


Webinars From Survivorship

October 16, 2009

Survivorship recently started having Webinars. Survivorship has many wonderful resources and I highly recommend it to those who are seeking to understand Ritual Abuse (RA) so that they can support a survivor they know and for survivors who need support.

Webinars are a wonderful way to attend a seminar in the safety and comfort of your own home. Many survivors are not yet ready to meet other survivors face to face. This allows them to “get together” without having in person contact. While it tends to be more affordable due to not having travel expenses, you do have to phone in, so long distance charges might be a factor for some.

In a Webinar, you are given a phone number in a registration email, along with a sign in number. When the time comes, you call the number and dial in your sign in number at the prompt. At that point, you are connected. If the presenter has already signed in, you are on the phone with them. If not, you are put on hold with music while you wait.

You are also given a link for the internet so that you can see the slides that the presenter is using. After you are on the phone, you go to the link and login with the number you were given in the registration email. At that point you are allowed to type in the name you wish to use in the seminar. You are not mandated to use your real name. That is a feature that helps many to feel safer and more comfortable.

Another nice thing is that the software also has a chat window. This is great for those who are uncomfortable with speaking out loud or who are still struggling to find their voice. Some presenters are OK with the chat window. Some are not. It depends upon the presenter. Sometimes, the chat window can be distracting.

Although I can type pretty fast, I preferred speaking. It is faster and more convenient for me, especially if I am struggling to find the right words to say. This is one reason that someone listening to the recording might find me fumbling a bit…looking for the words to say what I am trying to say. But saying it, for me, is powerful. I don’t often get a chance to talk about my experiences with others. Hearing my voice speaking things and having others listen and hear…and “get it”. Wow! I cannot really explain how empowering…how validating that is…especially when others are sharing their experiences.

When I read what others have written, even though the sharing may be intimately personal, I still lack the dimension of sight and sound. I cannot see their expression or hear their tone. All I have are written words on a page. Being able to hear someone’s voice is so much more personal…so much more real. So, being heard and hearing others are two things that, for me, are very empowering and validating.

Survivorship has held several Webinars now. I have been privileged to attend two. Their first, and my first, I wrote about here. It was done by Jeannie Riseman on the subject of flashbacks. Jeannie is a retired therapist who works a LOT with  Survivorship. As a member of Survivorship, I have had interactions with Jeannie. I have always been very impressed by her compassion and levelheadedness…unlike some other therapists I have interacted with online.

My second Webinar was on forgiveness. It was led by Bonnie Brazill-Davis of Speak Out Services. In the Webinar she told her story, giving a general overview of her abuse experiences. As she did so, she walked us through the different aha moments that she had that helped her to find the ability to forgive her abusers. I really appreciated being able to hear her voice over the phone as she shared. As I mentioned previously, that was very powerful in itself.

I hope to attend future Webinars and hope that others will, too.


Step One Taken

September 1, 2009

I called the state licensing board and got…again…the info on filing a complaint. Apparently, you no longer have to live in the state to file a complaint. Now I need to either find what I had before…or rewrite something up. I need strength to do this…as it is difficult to not be very triggered and get very emotional as I think all of this through…again. I have to face it all again in order to write it out. Talk about PTSD! Ack!!!

I know that this will ultimate bring about healing…but I also know I will go through more hell before it is over.


Abuse in Churches

May 4, 2009

I read a really good article today on how to teach leaders in churches to avoid abusiveness in congregational relationships. Margaret Jones did a guest interview at the blog of futurist guy. He asked some really good questions and I really liked Dr. Jones’ answers.

Dealing with abuse in congregations is not easy. Dealing with abuse that comes from the leaders is even tougher. It is really important to put things in place  to help prevent it from happening in the first place. Leaders need to be taught how to avoid being abusive and how to recognize those tendencies in themselves and others.

Dr. Jones makes a really good point that we are all at some point in time a victim, a bully and a bystander. I don’t know if that is true for everyone…but I would think that the huge majority of us, if we were able to be totally honest, could say that we fit all three categories at one time or another. That can be a very hard thing to face.

I hope that all groups, regardless of what kind they are, will take a look at what they are doing…both as a group and as individuals within a group. This world does not need abuse. It is tough enough to live. Life comes with enough challenges without having to deal with abuse on top of everything else.

In spite of all the healing I have gone through, I am still left broken. I still have to struggle with some things. I hate that. I don’t wish it on anyone…not even on my worst enemy. I have never wished ill on others. I have been angry and wished they could understand what they were putting me through…but I have never wished them to have to suffer, too. At least, not in so far as my amnesic mind remembers. My heart is just not wired that way…perhaps because of all that I went through…I don’t know. It is not that I have never hurt anyone…or acted in hurtful ways. I have…out of anger and frustration. But hurting someone just to hurt them…I don’t remember ever doing that.

I wish I had not been abused. I wish that my parents could have modeled for me what it meant to be a good parent so that I could have been a better mom to my own children. I am grateful that I gave them better than I got…still, I wish it could have been more. I wish I could have done better. That is where I have to trust that Yahweh’s perfect love covers a multitude of sins…including my own failings toward my children.


Working Things Out(?) and Odds and Ends

April 24, 2009

Well…things seem to be working out OK at the congregation we fellowship with. The leaders want us there. I don’t know about everyone else, but I guess that will work itself out. I am not going to go into details here. It is too complicated and I am tired of even thinking about it.

I am very grateful that our leaders have stepped up to the plate, desiring to do things Yahweh’s way, unlike the leaders that Dr. Margaret Jones’ describes that she had to deal with. Boy am I glad! I would never wish on someone the things she experienced. You can read more about what she dealt with in her book which I reviewed here.  She also has a blog here.

I am not going to my therapist at the moment…sort of taking a bit of a break. I am OK with that.

Communication with my parents is as wierd as ever. I was really hoping that maybe things had changed, but I see no sign of that. How very sad. I really pray that they will find true peace and healing.

I don’t believe in holding grudges. Not against my parents. Not against those who have hurt me in and out of congregations/churches. Not against my ex or his family. Not against anyone. They will all have to answer to Yahweh for what they have done, just as I will have to answer for what I have done. I don’t know about all of them, but I know that I am covered by the gift of what Yeshua (Jesus) did for me. I am grateful for I know that I am so undeserving of any good thing. My sinfulness precludes that in a huge way.  So, I am grateful.


Forgiveness – the Way to Freedom!

December 30, 2008

Maybe I am crazy…I don’t know. I just know that forgiveness is the key to living life fully. Yahweh’s forgiveness of my sins. My forgiveness of those who have hurt me. My forgiving those who have hurt me does not make them innocent of any wrongdoing any more than Yahweh forgiving me makes me innocent of any wrongdoing. It simply shows His incredible mercy and grace. His forgiveness of me enables me to forgive others.

Yahweh is a God of justice. That is why His Son had to come and pay the penalty for our sins…so that justice could be done. Yes…I am forgiven…but at what a cost…what a price. Yet, there are those who would say that we don’t need Yeshua…that there are other ways to “God”. Really? If that is true, then that would make Yeshua a poor deceived fool…to go through all that He went through…for what? For nothing…if there is some other way to Yahweh!

No, Yahweh is a God of justice…and all those who say that there are other ways to Him…those who are denying what Yeshua Himself so clearly said…will end up paying the price for their arrogance. Yahweh is a God of justice! He is also a God of mercy and grace and love…hence He sent His Son Yeshua.

Anyway, back to forgiveness…mine toward others. Back in July, my mother left their new phone number on my MIL’s answering machine. I am not sure what moved her to do that, but she did. So, I tried sending emails to their old email addresses. They weren’t long…mostly just letting them know that I could see they moved. It appeared that some email addresses were still in use. That was in July. I received no response.

A week or so ago, I suddenly received two one word replies. I responded to one and got a two word reply back. Do they want to correspond? I have no idea really. The last I knew they thought I lied about everything and have been lying for years…along with manipulating and using them, etc. It is rather difficult to imagine any kind of meaningful communication taking place if that is still their take on things. The fact that I have proof that they are incorrect in their assessment of me is irrelevant. It has been what they believed.

Yet, I forgive them. I have never harbored a grudge against them…although I have had to set up healthy boundaries for protection and safety purposes. I have grown. I believe that I am ready…and strong enough…to contact some people I knew before. Whether or not they wish to contact me is another story. I am OK either way.

I have learned to value and cherish friendships when I have them. I have also learned to hold them loosely. People are gifts for a time. Sometimes, it is better to part ways for awhile. I had to do that with one girlfriend…for both of our sakes. Being from the same cult group was…well…just plain not safe. Will we reconnect this side of heaven. I don’t know. Time will tell on that one.

Forgiveness. Without it, we are locked into prisons of the heart. We are locked into bitterness and anger and hurt. I prefer not to be locked into that prison. I shall choose to forgive…and to keep on forgiving. It is the way of freedom.


Former Antagonist Is Gone!

August 23, 2008

Well, I recently got some interesting news. I wrote here about an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago that was very triggering and generated a lot of fear. It triggered my PTSD to sky high levels.

I recently found out that the guy is no longer there. The reasons why he is no longer there are not really important. They don’t relate to what happened to me.

So, now I am thinking some things through. I will be able to visit there and know that I will no longer run into him. Will that make a difference? Will I be able to feel more comfortable? I know it won’t take everything away. They still have a file on me and the woman is still there. However, I wonder how much of the decision to let me go was influenced by him? I wonder if she might actually harbor some doubt as to whether or not they should have done that? Or as to whether or not any part of the whole thing was even handled appropriately?

Of course, I don’t ever expect any kind of apology. That would have to mean an admission that they blew it…in addition to the one thing they already did admit doing wrong. They might not understand that I am not a suing kind of person. I want to just live at peace with others. I wish they would apologize. I wish we could get it all out in the open. It would make it easier to extend forgiveness and move on.

I don’t know who will take his place there. There is one person who would really do a good job…someone who this guy fired. He is also someone that quite a few people are hoping will come back, including me. I felt “safe” with that guy.

I don’t know what is going to happen…but this I do believe…the group is better off without the one who is no longer there. And they will be even better off if they bring back the one who got fired.

Just my thoughts…for now.


A Phone Call and Uncertainty

August 10, 2008

I got a call from someone yesterday. I’m still figuring out how I feel about it. It was one of those calls that I had kind of hoped would eventually come…and yet, at the same time, was not sure if I really wanted. I guess I should explain.

I had a friend pull away from me a while back. It hurt. After getting hit with several things from some that I had considered friends, it felt like a really low blow. This was a friend that I had defended when she was being disparaged.

I believe that true friends can be open and honest with one another. That is what I tried to do, however imperfectly. I do not believe in deceitfulness or hiding or backstabbing. When I acted upon that belief, I was pulled away from. I was also told by someone else that I had hurt her, along with three others. I don’t rightly know if I hurt her or not. I do know that I apologized for hurting her and she said she forgave me. (Why two of the three would be hurt, I have no idea, as it really did not involve them directly. The third one…well, she is the one who was doing the disparaging and ducking around talking about it.)

We talked openly when she called. She told me that her pulling away had nothing to do with me, that it was all her. She had needed to pull away and try to sort through some things…my wording. She asked if she had hurt me. With her encouragement, I admitted that she had. I told her how I felt that I had been slammed for being loyal and having integrity.

She asked about the possibility of our trying to take baby steps to restore the friendship. I told her that I am very open to that…but I also told her that, as a result of several things that also happened right before she pulled away, that my walls are high and my trust level is low.

I guess I am wondering, too, about something else. I can appreciate that someone can need space for awhile. However, how am I going to know if she is going to pull away again? I guess it is a risk. But then, aren’t there always risks in friendships? How much is a friend worth?

I am known for my loyalty to friends. I have welcomed back friends who have hurt me deeply. A lot of that has to do with the motivations behind the hurts. There is a big difference between being hurt by someone who was deceived and who believed lies about me versus someone who is just plain malicious or mean. I have forgiven much, especially when I believed I saw true sorrow in the person who had hurt me.

There are some, though, who I would only offer forgiveness to. Trusting them again is a totally different matter. There is a line that a person can cross that would cause it to be impossible to earn my complete trust…outside of Yahweh really showing me that I should give it to them. This person does not fit into that category.

I am willing to receive phone calls and emails. I am willing to try and be as open as I can. That is all that I can do at this point. I am tired of complicated relationships. I can only handle so many of them at a time. I will give my energies to those who are willing to be open and honest and stick it out without running, ducking or dodging. I guess that pretty much eliminates the possibilities of some people becoming friends with me again…not unless one of us changes.

I guess only time will tell in this friendship. Yes, I still consider it to be a friendship. I am just not sure what state it is in, exactly. It was in a state of distance. Maybe, now, we can draw closer again. How close? I have no idea. As I told her…my walls are up and my trust level is low. However, the fact that I could openly tell her that and she could receive it is, I think, a very good sign. There are no real expectations on either side. What will be will be. I am guarding my heart.

I guess we are sort of starting over…and that is not a bad place to be.


The Ex and the Wedding, part 2

April 4, 2008

OK…I need to be honest about how I am feeling regarding the upcoming wedding I wrote about in yesterday’s post. I am jealous…jealous of any time my ex may take of my son and DIL. I am assured that, as of right now, they are not invited to anything other than the ceremony…period. But will that change? Besides, it is not just this wedding time. I am afraid, I think, of the future. And how stupid is that?

At the ceremony, will I see interactions taking place that I don’t want to see? I think maybe I am a bit insecure, too. My pride has me wanting to be always in a superior role to him…a vindicating role. I stuck it out. I was there for the boys, however imperfectly, when he decided he did not want to be married to me and when he decided that it hurt him too much to be a dad. He abandoned us in all the important areas while not abandoning us enough to give us the freedom to heal unemcumbered. Grrrrr!!!!

And I want to stomp my feet and say “You did not play fair so you are not allowed in the game! You are only allowed to watch…not that you should even be allowed to do that!”

BUT…I am also imperfect. I am keenly aware of my own parenting failures. And I love my children. I want to see them healed. There is a deep desire within a child’s heart to have their family be real, be together and loving and safe and all that. I do not want to deny either of them the chance to have a real relationship with their father…which is what I struggle with regarding my oldest.

He wants relationship with his father…but his father is still flaky and so broken that he does not know how to have a real relationship. In fact, I don’t, either, on both counts. I fail my oldest and his wife and my grandchildren all the time. *sigh* Who am I to point fingers? I am nobody.

So, I must face and deal with my own cruddy attitude in all of this. My ex deserves to find healing, too. He also deserves to find real love. As for his wife, well there is that, too. She believed his lies and did not really check for herself. She interfered instead of letting us sort things out…even if we were unable to work it out. She, too, is broken and deserves healing. Am I so ungracious as to deny her that?

Oh, how cold my heart can be. I can “justify” my anger at how he hurt my boys. But am I willing to allow him the grace to heal his relationship with his sons? How will I justify my anger if I allow them to heal? Maybe therein lies the rub. Am I holding onto anger against him? Am I harboring unforgiveness? It is definitely something to look at.


White as Snow and Forgiveness

March 7, 2008

When I look at the snow, I think of the song “White As Snow”. It is about how what Yeshua/Jesus did for us enables our blackened souls to be made white as snow.

I have seen some pretty horrible things. It is amazing what people can do to each other. **shaking head** I have also been forced to participate in some pretty bad stuff. It can leave a person feeling so tainted…very black. But what Yeshua did for us does not just count for what we have done…it also counts for what was done to us. It does not just count for what we have chosen to do…but also for what we were forced to do.

In other words, there is nothing that cannot be made white as snow through what Yeshua did for us. We need to accept it, though. He offers it as a free gift; but if we do not accept, we do not have it. He offers forgiveness and healing. They go hand in hand. He brings forgiveness for what I have done. And as I allow Him to help me to forgive others for what they have done to me, I find more healing for myself.

I have had to deal with so much in my life…and I still do in some ways. Yet, I know He is always here for me…here with me. He walks alongside of me in everything I go through. For that, I am very grateful.

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