Think of the person you have resentment toward.
Does any part of me reject forgiving them?
Most people have some objections to forgiving people who have hurt you.
Welcome these objections. There is some wisdom in them.
There are two common objections: safety objections and justice objections.
The safety objection is “If I forgive them, they will hurt me again.”
This needs to be taken seriously.
If someone is using resentment to stay safe in an abusive relationship
then we need to provide them an alternative way of ensuring their safety
such as getting them to a safe house in the case of domestic violence.
If you are still living with the person who abuses you, you most likely are not safe.
Remember, if you are trying to forgive someone who has done you severe harm, you should not be in any contact with them whatsoever. And, forgiving not forgetting. We don’t forget what they did, it just doesn’t distress us anymore today.
“If I forgive them, someone else will hurt me in the same way.”
We may object to forgiving someone who hurt us a long time ago in our past
because we are afraid that if we forgive them,
we will open ourselves up to being hurt in the same way again by someone else.
We need learn some psychological strategies to be safe around other people who could hurt us.
Consider what strategies and tools you already have in place to make sure you are not hurt in the same way again.
We do not want to “overcome” the objection we want to “satisfy” the objection.
When we overcome an objection, we will do violence to ourselves which will further aggravate the resentment.
We need to “satisfy” the objection.
So if you have a resentment that you can’t resolve, take a moment and ask yourself if you, or a part of you, has an objection to forgiving because you are worried for your physical or psychological safety.
Having reviewed your objections, have you been able to satisfy them or set them aside as a highly miserable and ineffective strategy?
Remember, forgiveness will not change your past, but it will change you and change your future
Prayer: Almighty God, give me the courage to make sure I am safe today, so that I can forgive and be content and at peace tomorrow. Amen
Adapted from books and videos by Episcopal Priest Rob Voyle who has written and counseled extensively in Christian forgiveness. http://www.clergyleadership.com/faculty/robBio.cfm