Welcome to our community newsletter, where we can share and focus on forgiveness.
The power of forgiveness
When I returned to where I had parked my bicycle, I was shocked to find both wheels buckled and several spokes broken.
I felt angry as I thought about the fact that my bicycle was broken.
Yet when I began to think instead about solving the problem getting myself and my bicycle back home and repairing my bicycle, I began to use my time and energy more effectively instead of wasting it by remaining upset.
I was now focused on creating a solution. I was much more likely to be successful at that than I would have been if I had continued to seek revenge. Even with a surveillance video tape of the destruction of my bicycle, I was unlikely to even identify the offenders. If I did know who they are, I would probably be thinking small if I were to think of getting my revenge on those two young men who had nothing better to do at 2 AM.
I could create a bigger game by asking "how could I inspire young men to contribute more to their community".
I would be more powerful forgiving than I would be by seeking revenge.
Signs of unforgiveness
While I may believe that I am forgiving, I have learned to be more aware of my unforgiveness.
Any time that I gossip about somebody in stead of resolving the issues that I have with that person, I am probably not forgiving.
Yet there are times when I may need to speak with somebody else first. I may need to deal with my anger, or get counselling, especially when I am not ready to face the person. I must carefully choose who I speak with to ensure I am working toward resolving the issues, and not just creating gossip.
I also require the self discipline to confront the issues rather than avoid them by blaming the other person or justifying myself.
What type of forgiveness?
I would ideally like to forgive in a way that creates more effectiveness, joy and satisfaction in my life and the lives of others.
I do not want to encourage complacency or willful destructive actions. Not from myself, and not from others.
So to forgive, I cannot simply ignore what happened. I must become aware of what occurred, take responsibility for my part in it, and come to terms with my reaction.
I need to avoid blaming myself or others for what happened.
I also must not justify myself or the other person. I admit that I often tend to justify, even though I know that I really invented many of the reasons and logical arguments by which I try to justify myself or others.
Forgiveness is freedom.
Many people believe that forgiveness is like telling the person who caused harm that "it is OK". That is why a lot of people are uninterested in forgiveness.
I believe that forgiveness is giving up the desire for revenge. I see forgiveness as the act of moving away from playing the powerless role of victim.
To be consistent with that belief, I regularly do "forgiveness exercises". I read about forgiveness. I spend time with people who forgive.
As I do this, I am less restricted by what happened in the past. I am more free to enjoy the present and create a new future.
I also write about forgiveness. I am inspired by what I hear and read in reply to what I write.
Forgiving in relationships.
Having observed some relationships over the last few weeks (including my relationships), I have seen how important communication, commitment and forgiveness are.
A friend was having difficulty in her relationship with her partner. More harmony was created as she began to forgive herself, her partner, her partner's ex-girlfriend and the in-laws more.
I saw how my own lack of self forgiveness was impacting my relationships with family, friends and workmates. While my commitment to being on time and completing tasks on time did get me some results, my lack of forgiveness cost me in my relationships.
Having seen other examples of forgiveness and relationship, I am glad to be writing Forgiveness News again
Forgiveness, tolerance and limits.
I was thinking about tolerance and some of my own standards that I am unwilling to compromise.
What is tolerance? In engineering terms, it is a specification of how much error is acceptable. It is for example almost impossible to drill a hole exactly 10 millimeteres in diameter. It may be a fraction smaller. It could be slightly oversized. If it is almost exactly 10 millimeteres, closer inspection is likely to reveal that it varies between oversized and undersized throughout its depth.
The design engineer creates his design to be forgiving enough that it will work with the normal amount of error that he would expect. He may need to specify a narrower tolerance in the more critical areas of his design, or to make his design more flexible to allow for a wider tolerance.
I often design areas of my life in ways that require such narrow tolerance that there is little room for normal human error. I could create a more flexible design.
I also often allow more error than is workable. For example when I delay getting out of my comfortable bed in the morning resulting in me arriving late at work. I can forgive myself for that, and recommit to being at work on time - even if it means getting out of bed promptly or possibly negotiating with my employer for a later starting time in the morning.
Being around people who have a forgiving attitude.
I was thinking about how much I enjoy being around people who are willing to forgive. Not only do I feel warm experiencing their forgiving attitude. I am also inspired by their willingness to forgive past hurts and grievances. I see more possibilities for now and for the future as I hear them more focused on the present than the past. They are more able to create a great future instead of wasting time and energy on expecting their past to be different from the way it was.
But am I being as forgiving as them?
Some times yes, and other times no.
I am committed to being more forgiving, and am grateful not only for the inspiring examples of forgiving. I am also thankful for those less forgiving who serve as a warning for me. Some of them provide opportunities for me to make a difference in their lives by their being open to considering the possibility of forgiveness.
Forgiving ourselves and others for making mistakes.
I was introducing myself to Ken. I said "Hi John, my name is Peter."
I often get upset when I make a mistake, and - well it was not the way I intended to introduce myself. Ken just smiled as he warmly shook my hand. I thought "He seems so much more willing to forgive me for my mistake than I am."
Ken has, by his forgiving attitude inspired me to show more compassion for myself and others when we make mistakes.
Forgiving our parents.
Time and time again I hear people complain about their upbringing. Mum was overbearing and controlling. Dad did not spend much time with me..............
As a parent, I know that I was also not great in some regards, yet excelled in other ways.
As an adult, I can look back at how my own parents were, and appreciate what they did.
I can forgive them for what I regard as shortcomings in their parenting.
I have learned to accept that their values are different from my values.
And I can appreciate the strengths that I have gained from the upbringing that I had.
My own parents died some years ago. I am glad to have said all I wanted to say to them while they were still alive, and could reply to me. I would like to say more, but no longer have the luxury of having them answer me face to face.
Unless we are willing to forgive, we will miss the precious times with those people who are still in our lives.
More than a year of forgiveness news.
I was happy to receive another email thanking me for Forgiveness News. As I was working on passing on her thanks to each of those who have contributed to Forgiveness News, I discovered that it was over a year ago that this forgiveness project was started. I also found there were no links to http://peterpullar.com/forgiveness/team.htm where the original team shared about creating the forgiveness project. I loved rereading it after a year or so.
I am now satisfied to have thanked those people again, letting them know that their contribution is still being appreciated.
Forgiveness and freedom.
Having worked in prisons, I have seen the heavy strong steel bars, thick walls and sharp razor wire that are installed to keep prisoners from escaping.
I feel that same feeling of powerlessness when I am unwilling to forgive. I am locked into a situation where is nothing that I can do except wait until the person who I am not forgiving does what I demand.
Yet unlike a prison where I have to wait for somebody to let me out, I can let myself out of the prison of unforgiveness any time by simply forgiving.
That person may or may not reform, apologize or do what I want. Yet I can remain free by forgiving and realizing that my unforgiveness is only imprisoning me. Unforgiveness is unlikely to get me the outcome that I desire.
As I listened to the morning message on Sunday morning 5th June 2005, I felt excited to hear more about forgiveness.
I wanted to share it with some of my friends, so placed the audio recording on http://forgivenessnews.com/generosity
I asked for permission to share it with a wider community, and I am very happy that it was granted. I was also pleased to be complimented on the stories that are on Forgiveness News. I thank all those who have contributed for that. I also acknowledge all Forgiveness News subscribers and visitors for your encouragement.
More than forgiveness.
Yes there are many more aspects to life than just forgiveness
However I regard forgiveness as extremely valuable. Especially as I learn new aspects of forgiveness, and discover where I could forgive more in my own life.
I love hearing people share their experiences of forgiveness. I enjoy the times they speak about healing of their relationships.
I acknowledge those who have the generosity and humility to do whatever it takes to end the resentments and pain.
I am inspired by those who can even go beyond that and be grateful for the strength and wisdom that they have gained.
While gratitude, appreciation and acknowledgement may be more than just forgiveness, they are often closely connected.
Taking a few minutes to forgive.
My friend was having difficulty in her relationship. Again!
This time I took a few minutes to forgive her instead of immediately responding to her request for assistance. I am glad that I did. With a more forgiving attitude, I was more able to be with her in her time of need instead of being distracted by my own concerns.
It seems likely that those few minutes of forgiving made my time much more enjoyable and productive.
Maybe there are other times that I could spend a few minutes forgiving before rushing off and just doing tasks.
I am happy to get back to forgiveness
I had been working extra overtime. It helped me pay my bills, but at a cost to my social life and my health. I feel less inspired to write about forgiveness when I spend long hours working alone.
I have learned to be more understanding of those people who are unwilling to give of their time. Instead of judging them as stingy, I can appreciate the way they they remain focused on what they are committed to.
I have now got back to a more balanced lifestyle and enjoyed reading more about forgiveness again.
Encouraging a friend to Forgive
My friend has so often resented the way his mother brought him up.
I recently acknowledged him for his emotional maturity, and the way he has gained such strength from his childhood experience.
He gratefully accepted my acknowledgement, wholeheartedly thanking me.
I love being able to contribute more in this way since having forgiven my own mother for the pain that I felt in my own childhood, and become grateful for the strengths I have gained from the experience.
Gratitude, Acknowledgement and Forgiveness
While I am enthusiastic about forgiveness, I am also enjoying Gratitude. Having begun by writing 50 things that I am grateful for, I am discovering that I have so much to be grateful for.
Having forgiven people for the way they have impacted me in my life, I can also now be grateful for how I have grown and learned from those experiences.
I used to be bitter and resentful about much of what happened in my past.
Now I can thank each of those people and acknowledge them for contributing to my strength and wisdom.
Be generous - forgive
The talk about generosity that I was listening to was not about money. It was more about generosity of spirit, gratitude and forgiveness. As I listened, I felt excited about the prospect of experiencing that generosity. I saw the possibility of letting go of any resentments that I may be harboring, and dealing with those matters now. A new opportunity to be generous by the simple act of forgiving. It is possible that the offence may be only something that I imagined. Or I may be blaming somebody else instead of being responsible for my part in what occurred. Even if it was more than that, it is simply an opportunity for me to be even more generous.
Forgiving "those people who won't listen"
I was feeling frustrated and angry. I felt as though I had just wasted my speaking to her when she said she did not understand what I was saying.
Since then, I have learned more about communication. Instead of blaming her, I can now be responsible for my part in the communication.
When I forgive her for not understanding me, I can communicate more effectively.
Please forgive me for forgetting your name
I often do not recall people's names. Especially when I am very busy and have a lot on my mind. When I am uncertain about remembering, I often feel anxious about calling somebody by the wrong name. Yet some of the times when I feel confident that I have remembered correctly, I am shocked to discover that I remembered incorrectly!
I am amazed by how many people remember my name. I appreciate that and I am also willing to forgive others for forgetting my own name.
When I discussed this with a few people, I found that they are willing to forgive me for forgetting their name. Most of them admitted to forgetting names.
I seem to be unforgiving of myself when I forget.
A lack of forgiveness
The email which I received from my friend was a story about two boys who had been granted anonymity for when they will be released from their prison sentence. I was initially shocked that my friend would send me an email which objected to prisoners being released early. I thought he would have known me better and not forwarded that email asking me to add my name to the dozens of names of objectors. I felt indignant, and was tempted to ring him at the unreasonable hour when I received the email. I then began to wonder if he did actually know something about the case other than the news reports. I replied to my friend's email asking him to phone me. I was glad to speak with him and find him so willing to listen to me. He was surprised at my response, and added that another friend who he had sent the email to had told him that the email seemed to be very judgmental.
To me there seemed to be a lack of forgiveness by so many people, many of whom know only a few strong opinions yet know little about the case. With their fear and unforgiveness, they may be ensuring that these people will re-offend!
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