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Old 09-19-2007, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Indiana
1,250 posts, read 2,288,655 times
Reputation: 750
Red face Forgiveness...Has it truly happened???

Let me preface this by apologizing for the length.

Ok...I had a situation with someone a few years ago when my husband and I were helpers with our youth group. One of the parents (a father) got angry at me for something his daughter did. For some reason, he placed the blame on me instead of her. He called and left a message on my answering machine, swearing and saying "How could I call myself a youth leader? He thought we were supposed to be teaching his children to be Christ-like." The message went on and on. Anyways, I struggled with seeing him at church for awhile after that because the whole situation offended me.

Fast forward to last year...he had quit coming to my church, so I wasn't seeing him on a regular basis. I had put the entire situation out of my mind. Then we had a night of worship one Saturday, and there he was in the front row. I had the worst time trying to focus (I am in the choir) on worshipping. I knew that it was time (past time ) to forgive him and move on. I made a decision and prayed over it, for him, and also for God to forgive me for withholding my forgiveness.

I had not seen him again until today. I was driving and saw him pulling out of a parking lot. Immediately, those old feelings of anger stirred. I reminded myself that I had forgiven him, but it bothers me that my initial reaction was one of bitterness, not forgiveness. Is this normal, or is this something I need to work more on?

Please give me your thoughts!
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,207,503 times
Reputation: 21120
Well, ideally, maybe it shouldn't be this way, but if it is a really deep wound, I often have to "work through" forgiveness a number of times. Sometimes if I start relating the story again (which is why you shouldn't!) to someone, I can get lathered up all over again about the situation.

I think the first step in forgiveness is usually an act of the will. Hopefully, our emotions will fall in line after that. It's easier, of course, if that person has apologized and asked for forgiveness, but so often that doesn't happen. It helps me personally if I try to think about what could have possibly caused the person to act in the way that hurt me. Sometimes that gives a little emotional release. But, again, I really think it starts with a decision...and sometimes I have to remind myself that I made that decision.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:06 PM
 
Location: All around the world.....
2,895 posts, read 5,326,378 times
Reputation: 988
Quote:
Originally Posted by dojilynn View Post
Let me preface this by apologizing for the length.

Ok...I had a situation with someone a few years ago when my husband and I were helpers with our youth group. One of the parents (a father) got angry at me for something his daughter did. For some reason, he placed the blame on me instead of her. He called and left a message on my answering machine, swearing and saying "How could I call myself a youth leader? He thought we were supposed to be teaching his children to be Christ-like." The message went on and on. Anyways, I struggled with seeing him at church for awhile after that because the whole situation offended me.

Fast forward to last year...he had quit coming to my church, so I wasn't seeing him on a regular basis. I had put the entire situation out of my mind. Then we had a night of worship one Saturday, and there he was in the front row. I had the worst time trying to focus (I am in the choir) on worshipping. I knew that it was time (past time ) to forgive him and move on. I made a decision and prayed over it, for him, and also for God to forgive me for withholding my forgiveness.

I had not seen him again until today. I was driving and saw him pulling out of a parking lot. Immediately, those old feelings of anger stirred. I reminded myself that I had forgiven him, but it bothers me that my initial reaction was one of bitterness, not forgiveness. Is this normal, or is this something I need to work more on?

Please give me your thoughts!
It's normal dojilynn,
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:08 PM
 
6,944 posts, read 15,828,165 times
Reputation: 6431
You have forgiven, but forgetting is often harder to do. We remember feelings far too long. There is something that is deep within us that would like to see the other person recognize what we think is the error. It's never going to happen.

So, the next time you see him, shrug your shoulders, and remember that even though you still remember what happened, you aren't going to let it affect your life.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:11 PM
 
3,086 posts, read 3,909,747 times
Reputation: 956
Quote:
Originally Posted by dojilynn View Post
it bothers me that my initial reaction was one of bitterness, not forgiveness. Is this normal, or is this something I need to work more on?

Please give me your thoughts!
Dojilynn, the fact that it bothers you that you don't have pleasant thots toward him IMO shows me that you are on the right track and trying your best, which is all we can do! Forgiveness may not always be about feelings... and it may sometimes be a path, and not just a one-time thing, if you know what I mean.. Even if we have forgiven someone, if we see them and old feelings flare up, look at that as a "new attack" by the father of lies, and not a result of former unforgiveness.. Just my opinions, would like to hear more!
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Florida and East "by God" Tennessee
1,889 posts, read 2,719,958 times
Reputation: 763
Normal with a capital "N"!

The flesh reminds us of our continual failings... and our need for God.

Thanks for sharing........
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Indiana
1,250 posts, read 2,288,655 times
Reputation: 750
Thank you all for your help!

I did remind myself of my decision to forgive, and didn't sit and stew on the original offense. What I stewed on was my reaction to seeing him. I guess that's what you meant, cg81, when you said that it was an attack by the Father of Lies.

Once again, thanks! You guys are great!
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,207,503 times
Reputation: 21120
Quote:
Originally Posted by dojilynn View Post
Thank you all for your help!

I did remind myself of my decision to forgive, and didn't sit and stew on the original offense. What I stewed on was my reaction to seeing him. I guess that's what you meant, cg81, when you said that it was an attack by the Father of Lies.

Once again, thanks! You guys are great!
Our bill will be in the mail.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Indiana
1,250 posts, read 2,288,655 times
Reputation: 750
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykay View Post
Our bill will be in the mail.
LOL!! I hope you take Discover!
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Hot-Houston Texas
19,995 posts, read 20,183,946 times
Reputation: 27990
It's very normal, because we can't forget like God does, now you need to forgive yourself and let it go.
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