Forgiveness – Chapter Nineteen

Forgiveness – Chapter Nineteen

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Forgiveness frees the forgiver as well as the forgiven.

We have all been hurt by people in the past. Holding onto this hurt keeps us in the past and always a victim of the perpetrator. To forgive is not that easy and will often be rejected as not an option, but it is a choice. How can you forgive someone who abuses a child or rapes someone, or a person who kills another, or someone who steals from you and gets away with it?

These perpetrators and predators are the true losers in life. They could never be happy to commit these crimes in the first place and could never be happy after committing them. They are their own worst enemies. Stuck in the worst of their ego selves they create drama, and as a consequence that drama will be returned eventually. Sick and sad people are what they are, never to be happy. That’s karma: they are victims of themselves. Forgiveness is about taking your power back. Getting back the power that was taken from you. Why should you feel bad when you have done nothing wrong?

A young girl was sexually abused by her grandfather at the age of eight. He was on holiday staying with her family. He had entered her bedroom one night after a party at her parents’ place. Her shouts brought her mother. He had no business being there but denied he had done anything wrong. The father was told by his wife’s sister that it was probably just a nightmare. This created just enough doubt for the father to withdraw from retribution. The grandfather was told that under the circumstances he could no longer stay.

The following day the accusations began to fly. It must be the girl seeking attention because the father often worked overseas, and was not around as often as he should be. The sisters never spoke to each other again. The father lost a good friend in his brother-in-law. The mother’s only contact for many years from her own mother was letters telling her how this had destroyed her family, and how her husband could never have done such a thing. In counselling, the girl’s mother was told her daughter could not describe what had happened in such detail if it had not in fact happened.

The girl’s mother and grandmother’s relationship was suffering and so it was decided to build a bridge. Nothing was mentioned again about the incident. The grandparents would come from overseas for holidays but would stay in the parents holiday cabin. The young girl who was now a teenager would not have to see her grandfather and didn’t want to. She could stay at home.

When she was twenty-seven with her own house and two children, it was proposed that her grandparents would come and stay in the family home with her parents. She had a problem with this. Her parents looked after her two sons on Mondays when she worked. She didn’t like the idea of her grandfather being around them. It was decided that they could be looked after by someone else during this time. She was still stressing and didn’t know why. She came to me for counselling.

I told her that until she forgave him she would always be his victim. She didn’t want to forgive him. That would be like letting him get away with what he had done. He had caused her years of torment. I told her that I couldn’t forgive him for her and asked her how long she was willing to hold on to this. How long was she willing to be his victim? I said that he was a victim of himself. He had fractured his family and caused so much hurt. I told her that he could deny it to everyone else, but he knew that she knew what he had done. He couldn’t escape that fact.

The day after they arrived she called to say she was bringing her family to see them. She walked in and hugged her grandmother and then her grandfather. He broke down and cried. He never admitted anything, and nothing was mentioned.

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It takes courage to forgive – to let go of the hurt.

She told me afterwards it was like a heavy weight being lifted from her shoulders. She knew he couldn’t hurt her anymore and felt sorry for him. He was still her grandfather. At the end of their stay he told the girl’s father that it had been the best two weeks of his life. It seems as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He died within three months of returning home.

You don’t need to give the perpetrator a hug or talk to them to forgive. This was done in the above case to heal the family’s pain and put an end to it, but she also did it for herself, not for him. In most cases it would be best to avoid any contact with the perpetrator whatsoever. Some might have long since died or been imprisoned. They are all prisoners of their past actions and all losers because of these actions. I don’t want to be the victim of a loser.

It takes courage to forgive – to let go of the hurt. The ego wants us to hold onto it. It thrives on being a victim. It only exists if we are victims. The biggest barrier to forgiving is the feeling of the injustice of it all. It isn’t fair. However, bad things happen to good people. It is just a fact of life. Where egos abound there will be injustice. The more a person allows their ego to run the show, the more they will hurt others and be hurt. The ego of a person can always rationalise its reason for hurting others and the person will deny they are at fault. The person stuck in their ego hurts themselves as much as they hurt anyone else without even realising it. It’s a knife that cuts both ways.

It is hard to forgive a bully without understanding their behaviour. Understanding that the bully must feel powerless, disconnected and disempowered to act the way they do can be the first step to dropping the injustice we feel.

Our reputation is in the hands of others. We have no control over it. Our character is in our own hands, no one can touch it. I have seen many good people have their reputations trashed by colleagues looking to further their own self-interests. Sometimes we need to forgive and forget. Sometimes we need to forgive but not forget. Often we need to remember the type of person we are dealing with to protect ourselves from further harm. If we understand that the person doing the harm to us is doing it from their own place of suffering and creating more suffering for themselves, we can forgive from a point of compassion for the loser that they are and feel sorry for them, which is in turn a form of compassion. Sometimes we just need to say stuff them. They are just idiots and losers and I don’t want to lose myself to them any longer. I am taking my power back.’

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of forgiveness. Only by choosing to forgive can we be truly free of the past and no longer victims of it.