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Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

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The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World will grab the attention of any upper grade or middle school student. Whether interested in science projects, bugs, getting along with others, or motivation, readers are caught up in the story from the first page to the last. Teachers, parents, and counselors will find the book useful to stimulate conversation about difficult topics like bullying, doing well in school, and family illness. Students will love the practical approach to friendship and family. Would make for a great classroom book group discussion!

Dr. Catherine Von Hatten, Educational Consultant, Retired Public School Assistant Superintendent, Teacher, and Principal

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How two friends put their bad feelings aside and grew in love

I lost my friend Mark to cancer a couple of months ago.

I liked a lot of things about Mark — his soft-spoken manner, his easy laugh, his sense of adventure, his willingness to try new things, his zest for life. But above all, the thing I admired most was Mark’s ability to let go of a hurt and move on.

Mark had a friend named Bill, and every so often the two of them would get together for lunch. One day when they were to meet, Bill never showed. So Mark had lunch alone.

The sad thing was that when Bill realized he had missed lunch, he failed to call his friend and apologize. So Mark was a bit miffed.

When Mark saw Bill, he said, “Say, Bill, what happened to our lunch?”

Bill shrugged and said he had forgotten.

Mark said, “But you didn’t call.”

Bill replied, “Yeah, I know, but I got busy.”

With that brush-off, Mark said, “Well, I’m angry about that. You should have called.”

Again Bill defended his actions.

At this point I could see things weren’t headed in a happy direction, so I jokingly said, “Okay, you two. You guys know you love each other. So Bill, tell Mark, ‘I love you, Mark.'”

Bill looked at me a little askance (men don’t say “I love you” to their friends). Then he got this big childlike grin on his face and said, “I love you, Mark.”

Without hesitation, Mark smiled and said, “I love you, Bill.” And the incident was over. From that moment on, I believe Mark never looked back on that missed engagement.

Addendum: Over the next year as Mark was struggling with his illness, Bill would frequently say, “I love you, Mark.” Mark would get a grin on his face and respond, “I love you, Bill.”

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Life is filled with hurts. Why hold onto the hurts of the past when dropping them gives you so much more room to love.
This week who will you forgive?

A parent who failed to say you were a worthwhile person or pretty or smart? A mother-in-law who betrayed you? A manager who let you go instead of a less productive co-worker? A boss who made promises but never kept them? A husband who was unfaithful? A girlfriend who left you? A child who has brought misery to the family? A doctor who refused to listen and caused needless suffering? An unscrupulous person who has cost you thousands of dollars? A neighbor who’s been downright mean? A relative who can’t seem to stop putting you down? Who will you choose to forgive?

How will you go about the process of forgiveness?

Sometimes trying to get into the other person’s shoes is helpful.

The neighbor who’s caused you pain — is he fearful that someone will take advantage of him, cost him money or time? Perhaps too many people have been mean to him, and his surliness and anger have become his defense. Might you say, “I forgive him” and then extend the olive branch? Maybe your olive branch will be a smile or dropping off a pan of brownies you happened to bake.

When your husband betrayed you, indeed he was taking care of himself, caught up in his own egotism. You did not cause his betrayal. Nevertheless, think about whether you might have done something to be a better wife. Were you too critical and always expecting more from him, raising the bar? Did you push him away emotionally and physically because you were caught in your own world as he became caught in his.

The friend who’s jealous — does she feel inadequate in comparison to you? How have you tried to shore her up? What would make her feel good about herself? Raining on your parade is only a symptom of her insecurities.

Sometimes it’s easier to forgive hurts when you think of the good the other person has done through the years.

When I find myself angry and hurt because of some perceived or real injustice, I’ll take a piece of paper and run a line down the center. In one column I write the caring things I’ve seen the other person do. In the second column I’ll write her transgressions. Having a different perspective, seeing reality, makes forgiving easier.

Perhaps when you think of forgiveness, you’ll find you need to forgive yourself. Maybe when you were a child you stole something and blamed it on someone else. For years you’ve carried the burden of guilt. Is there anyone you can tell your story to and then forgive yourself?

Perhaps in your business you’ve taken financial advantage of others and excused yourself by saying, “It was good business.” How could you make amends to those people you’ve hurt financially and emotionally? How will you rectify your past behavior? Who might you call and apologize to? Once you’ve made restitution, it becomes easier to forgive yourself.

A great cause of suffering is holding onto old hurts and the pain they bring when we think about them. By choosing to forgive, you choose to let go of your own pain.

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Why DO people hold grudges?

I was talking with a woman one day and she said that her uncle had just died, an uncle she remembered only vague­ly.

It seems that when this woman was small, she was at a family party, and her three-year-old sister kicked the uncle in the shins. The uncle impulsively picked up the little girl, turned her over his knee, and spanked her. An argument ensued between the girl’s father and the uncle. For the next 35 years the two families remained estranged.

The woman’s father attempted to get the families back together a time or two, calling at Christmas to offer good cheer. But the uncle chose to remain angry-righteous, holding tightly to his grudge. Consequently, the families never saw each other again.

Not only did this woman lose contact with her only aunt and uncle, but she lost the relationship with her three cousins whom she loved dearly.

She, of course, wasn’t the only one who suffered from the grudge. Her sister and her mother also missed these relatives. Her father never saw his sister, his nephews, or his brother-in-law again. Family parties and get-togethers ended. “And my poor grandmother never was able to have all of her children and their families together,” said the woman.

As she told her story, I thought: This is a true human tragedy because all it would have taken to mend things between the two families was forgiveness.

If someone is holding a grudge because of your behavior, rush to the telephone now and ask for forgiveness. If you are the one holding the grudge, let go of your bad feelings and re-establish contact today.

If you have second thoughts about mending a fence, think of all the other people whom you are inadvertently hurting because of your position. Think of the woman who lost her aunt and uncle and her cousins because of one family argument that was never resolved.

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