THEOLOGY & Original biblical languages suggest forgiveness is something akin to waiving one’s rights.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In our fractured and litigious modern world, people often wonder what forgiveness means. Does it mean forgetting? Does it mean ignoring? The word used by the Bible authors tells us that, “forgiveness is something akin to waiving one’s rights.” Read on to find out more.

“What the Lord’s Prayer really says about forgiveness” by Daniel Esparza, Aleteia, 7/7/21.

What is it that we do when we forgive? Are we forgetting, disregarding, overlooking, ignoring wrongdoing? Are we giving up on our desire to pursuit revenge, retribution, even justice? How can I tell if I have really forgiven someone? The fact that we have a hard time answering these questions makes it evident forgiveness is multi-faceted and difficult to explore. It has oftentimes been historically (and tragically) confused with a vague understanding of reconciliation as the submissive acceptance of rather unacceptable states of affairs.

This is probably because forgiveness was not entirely considered a philosophical problem until the interwar and postwar periods of the 20th century, when genocidal war ushered in the question of the unforgivable — Can humanity forgive Auschwitz, the Gulag, the Bomb, the Apartheid? Who forgives? Who is forgiven? What are the limits of forgiveness? What constitutes an unforgivable fact? Is there such thing as “the unforgivable”? In more ways than one, forgiveness is a relatively new intellectual concern. And even if the topic became somewhat relevant in the second half of the past century, it is not exactly a modish preoccupation among most scholars today. Chances are it has never really been — perhaps not even among noted Christian thinkers.

…The original Greek text of the Gospels uses a number of different expressions for the concept of forgiveness, rather than one single word. What we do find in biblical texts, the Our Father included, are different expressions that can be translated as the waiving of one’s right over a debt, or to being unburdened. In that sense, Augustine’s understanding of forgiveness as almsgiving is thoroughly biblical: forgiveness as almsgiving and the scriptural understanding of sin as debt go hand in hand, as the former covers the latter: “for almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin” (Tobit 12, 9).

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2021/07/07/what-the-lords-prayer-really-says-about-forgiveness/

FORGIVENESS & According to Research Here’s The Best Way To Forgive And Forget

by Emma Young, British Psychological Society, 5/4/21.

… Now a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, led by Saima Noreen at De Montfort University, specifically investigates how different types of forgiveness towards an offender can help people who are intentionally trying to forget an unpleasant incident.

As the name implies, “intentional forgetting” involves actively trying to suppress memories of an unpleasant experience. Recent studies have suggested that this lessens the associated negative emotions. Forgiveness has been more extensively investigated, and there is work finding that forgiving the perpetrator helps(though of course not all victims feel able or willing to forgive, and forgiveness is not an essential component of recovery).

Noreen and her colleagues set out to explore possible interactions between intentional forgetting and “decisional” vs “emotional” forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is making the decision to forgive the perpetrator, and not to seek revenge — indeed, even to make efforts to maintain a relationship — but while still bearing a grudge. In contrast, emotional forgiveness involves getting rid of negative emotions towards the perpetrator and replacing them with positive ones.

…The team found that participants in the emotional forgiveness group showed greater forgetting of the detail, though not the gist, of the offence than the other groups. These participants also reported feeling more psychological distance from the offence.

The team’s analysis revealed that for these participants, emotional, but not decisional, forgiveness was associated with greater forgetting of the detail of the original transgression (though again not the gist of it). It was also associated with a shift to reporting feeling more forgiveness for the perpetrator.

“Collectively, our findings suggest that the act of emotional forgiveness leads to a transgression becoming more psychologically distant, such that victims will construe the event at a higher and more abstract level,” the team writes. (In other words, retaining the gist, but not all the detail). “This high-level construal, in turn, promotes larger intentional forgetting effects, which, in turn, promote increased emotional forgiveness,” they go on.

Read more at … https://digest.bps.org.uk/2021/05/04/heres-the-best-way-to-forgive-and-forget/#more-41993

FORGIVENESS & Catherine Marshall on the Aughts and the Anys of Matt. 18:18.

“I’ll Forgive You, If …” by Anne Ferrell Tata, CBN, 2017.

…Catherine Marshall in her 1974 book, Something More, wrote a chapter titled “Forgiveness: The Aughts and the Anys.” The Chapter references Matthew 18:18…

The chapter addresses our need as Christians to fulfill Christ’s expectation to forgive, period. Like many of us, Catherine Marshall admits to attaching conditions to her forgiveness. She says, “if the other person saw the error of his ways, was properly sorry, and admitted his guilt, then yes, as a Christian, I was obligated to forgive him.”

She soon discovered Jesus’ words in Mark 11 said something entirely different. Jesus said,

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 (KJV)

“Any” meant anybody and everybody. Catherine Marshall’s commentary on this truth is fascinating as she unpacks the notion of our prayers being hindered by our un-forgiveness.

She references South African-born minister David du Plessis’ explanation of the Matthew 18 verse. He explains that when we hang on to judgment of another person, we bind that person to the very conditions we want to see changed. By our un-forgiveness, we stand between that person and the Holy Spirit’s work in convicting and ultimately helping him. 

Dr. du Plessis says, “By stepping out of the way through releasing somebody from our judgment, we’re not necessarily saying, ‘He’s right and I’m wrong.’ Forgiveness means, ‘He can be as wrong as wrong can be, but I’ll not be the judge.’ Forgiveness means that I’m no longer binding a certain person on earth. It means withholding judgment.”

A Biblical example is from Acts 7 when Stephen was being stoned to death. Saul of Tarsus stood watching, holding the garments of the witnesses. The Bible tells us Stephen’s response to his attack is one of forgiveness,

“Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” Acts 7:60 (HCSV).

Just two chapters later, Saul is on his way to Damascus when he encounters Jesus, and his world is turned upside down. Stephen, by releasing the group from his judgment stepped out of the way, therefore allowing the Holy Spirit to work. 

Read more at …


FORGIVENESS & Can We Afford Not To?

by Martha Noebel, CBN, n.d.

…The definition of forgive is to … no longer blame others or are angry at those who did us wrong.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14, Matthew 6:15, NIV)

God tells us that forgiveness is not an option if we want God to forgive us. We are not perfect; we all make mistakes. We will not all agree on everything all the time. We must understand that and learn to forgive those who intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. Yes, we may have a moment of anger, but we must not become slaves to anger. We need to repent for harboring bad feelings against others so that we can be set free.

The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord looks at the heart. What does He see when He looks at our hearts? We want to have clean hearts and hands when we stand before God. Look at what the psalmist David said:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

“Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure…” (Psalm 24: 3, 4a, The Book)

We want to stand before God and know that He is pleased with us. We don’t want to carry the sin of unforgiveness in our hearts. When we pray, we want to know that God will answer our prayers. We certainly don’t want this willful act to hinder our prayers.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

If we continue to have bitterness in our hearts and lives, we do not show the love of God. The Word of God tells us that we cannot even say we love God if we have hate toward someone else. (1 John 4:20)

So what must we do? Colossians 3:12 tells us to “clothe yourselves with compassion.” Philippians 2:4 says to “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Galatians 6:2 instructs us to “carry each other’s burdens.” Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Read more at … http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/Forgive-Can-We-Afford-Not-To

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & Forgiveness takes practice because everyone has their own goals #IncMagazine

Excerpted from “7 tough lessons people often learn too late in life” by Nicolas Cole, Inc. Magazine, 9/6/16.

If possible, it’s best to learn these things sooner rather than later…

4. Your emotions take practice

When we think about practice, we often talk in terms of skill. You practice the piano, or you practice playing hockey. But the thing is, who you are emotionally also takes practice. You can practice humility, you can practice forgiveness. You can practice self-awareness and humor, just as easily as you can practice anger, resentment, drama, and conflict. Who you are, emotionally, is a reflection of the things you consciously (or unconsciously) practice. You were not “born” upset. You have merely practiced that emotion far more than you have, say, joy.

5. Everyone has his or her own agenda

This is quite a cliché phrase, and is often said in a negative context. But I am using it differently: It is worth acknowledging that, at the end of the day, we all must provide for ourselves. We all have our own dreams, goals, aspirations, families, close friends, and significant others, and we all want the same fundamental things. There are those you can trust, of course, but the best way to keep yourself rooted and at ease is to know that each and every person has his or her own agenda. You cannot control others. You cannot expect them to put you before themselves. And trying to do so may work for a period of time, but eventually, the truth will rise to the surface. Instead, make it a point to address and help others move toward their own dreams, as you request their help in moving toward yours. The relationship will more smoothly move in the right direction this way.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/7-crucial-lessons-people-learn-too-late-in-life.html

FORGIVENESS & A video introduction to Corrie ten Boom #LEAD600

Commentary by Prof. B: Students in my LEAD 600: Strategic Leadership and Management look at the life of Corrie ten Boom as an example of forgiveness in the face or heinous racial and religious persecution.  Watch this video for a powerful 4 minute introduction:

 

FORGIVENESS & TV newsman stunned by forgiveness incarnated by Coptic Christians of Egypt #TheBibleSociety

https://vimeo.com/212755977?ref=tw-share

View more at… https://vimeo.com/212755977/description via The Bible Society of Egypt, 4/15/17

FORGIVENESS & Intellectual humility and forgiveness of religious leaders

by Joshua N. Hooka*, Don E. Davisb, Daryl R. Van Tongerenc, Peter C. Hilld, Everett L. Worthington Jr.e, Jennifer E. Farrella & Phillip Diekef, The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice,  Volume 10, Issue 6, 2015.

Abstract

This article presents two studies that examined how perceptions of intellectual humility affect response to a transgression by a religious leader. In Study 1, participants (N = 105) rated the religious leader on intellectual humility regarding different religious beliefs and values, as well as general humility and forgiveness of the leader for a transgression. Perceived intellectual humility was positively associated with forgiveness, even when controlling for perceived general humility. In Study 2, we replicated the findings from Study 1 on an independent sample (N = 299). Also, the type of offense moderated the association between perceived intellectual humility and forgiveness. For participants, who reported an offense in the area of religious beliefs, values, or convictions, the association between perceived intellectual humility and forgiveness was stronger than for participants, who reported a different type of offense. We conclude by discussing limitations and areas for future research.
DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2015.1004554

Read more at … http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2015.1004554

BITTERNESS & 9 Mental Habits That Will Make You Bitter

by Andrea Bonior Ph.D., Psychology Today Magazine, 4/8/16.

… Want to have a more hopeful and optimistic outlook on life? See if you can diminish these mental habits, and go from there:

1. Not forgiving others.

Many people equate forgiveness with forgetting that something happened altogether, or with saying that it was okay that it did. That’s not what forgiveness is about. And many people claim that they have forgiven someone for something, while in reality, they have not. What real forgiveness means is allowing yourself to be free from the resentment of having been wronged, to accept that something has occurred and to believe that you deserve to move on from it. It’s to declare your independence from perseverating on how to get revenge on another person, to stop dwelling on how to make them “make up for it” and continuing to let that corrode your emotional well-being. It is letting go in its healthiest, truest sense. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize the wrongness of someone’s actions. It just allows you to no longer be hurt by them. Forgiveness is associated with reduced depression, stress, and hostility, and improved self-esteem and even physical health. When you look at its benefits, you’ll see it’s about being kind to yourself, not doing a favor for someone else.

2. Not forgiving yourself…

3. All-or-none thinking.

It is amazing how frequently all-or-none thinking seems to underlie such a variety of unhealthy psychological states. From panic to low self-esteem, from perfectionism to hopelessness, it is not uncommon to uncover hidden and not-so-hidden patterns of this dysfunctional thinking in my clients when they are struggling with a negative worldview. What all-or-none thinking does, by its very definition, is make your outlook on life more rigid. It magnifies negativity by making it appear bigger than it really is. It keeps your mind focusing on what’s gone wrong rather than what’s gone right, and it sets you up to see the bad in people, things, and life more often than the good. See if you can catch yourself making this mistake in daily life: Are you inherently uncomfortable with shades of gray, and do you prefer things to be more black-and-white? That might be good for organizing a closet, but when it comes to how you process bad things happening, it can hurt you…

4. Holding others to a higher standard than you hold yourself…

5. Believing that things will never get better…

6. Believing you have less control over your life than you really do.

Learned helplessness, first identified by Martin Seligman, involves the belief that we don’t have control over our situations even in cases when we do, and so we convince ourselves we shouldn’t even bother to try. This mindset has been shown to be correlated with depression, and for some people it follows a period of time when they really did not have much control over their lives—perhaps while suffering from abuse or neglect, for example…

7. Believing the myth of arrival.

The myth of arrival refers to the idea that once you have “arrived” at a certain point in your life, everything will fall into place and the life you have waited for will finally begin. But sometimes this belief—that things will automatically get better once a certain thing happens—can be nearly as damaging as believing that things will never improve, because the former sets you up for a devastating letdown when things actually don’t get better…

8. Overgeneralizing.

It was one of the “cognitive errors” that Aaron Beck first identified as putting people at higher risk for depression, and it often manifests itself in believing that if you fail at one thing, you will fail at everything. The tendency to overgeneralize—to turn a molehill of a setback into a mountain—also underlies the thinking patterns of a lot of people who have pervasive negative views of the world around them. Sometimes this type of thinking can even look like paranoia: “Give anyone an inch, and they will take a mile” or “Just about everyone will take advantage of you if you let them…”

9. Not practicing gratitude

For more read … https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friendship-20/201603/9-mental-habits-will-make-you-bitter

FORGIVENESS & 5 Steps to Experiencing The Forgiveness Boost #TheAtlanticMonthly

by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic Monthly, 1/28/15.

Read more at … http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/the-forgiveness-boost/384796/?china_variant=False&lang=en&uid=153834883