Need some advice on forgiveness


mdprideplayer

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I am new to this site but I really needed some where to go and hear from people who have the Gospel in their lives.

I have been a member for a little over 3 years now, I was actually married and 8 months pregnant when I was baptised by my active member husband.

Anyways, my husband fell off the deep end so to speak at the end of October 2008. We were having some tough times, he was still in college, and I was in my 3 year of my teaching career. He decided to have an affair with a girl from his college. It was pretty bad for me when I found out but some how he came back from some very serious depression and turned himself around. We actually lived separately at our own parents' homes for two months. I had our daughter with me and it was just sad with her but she was a little too young to understand much of anything thank goodness.

He actually got a sign or answer to his prayers as to what he should do and it turned out that he did miss his family and had to pay for his actions. So he was disfellowshipped for 6 months as of right now. It made him realize that he may miss going to the temple with his youngest brother before his mission.

The actual advice that I need is how to forgive not him but a friend that I thought was a half decent person (male friend). This friend has helped my husband out with jobs and such but when I called to ask him what he knew about the affair he told me he had no clue. Turns out the guy was lying to me about it, he did actually know and he was supporting my husband's actions. He was also conversing with "the girl" as well. (who he had never met before)

How do you go about forgiving this person who is being part of the problem?

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I would like to recommend a book called:

How Can I Forgive You? (The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To) by Janis Abrahms Spring Ph.D.. Here's an excerpt:

Questionable Assumption #3: You have only two choices - forgiving and not forgiving.

...I began wondering, wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a way for us to release all the hate and hurt bundled up inside us, enjoy all the physical and mental health benefits of forgiveness, and live a just and humane life--all without having to forgive a recalcitrant offender? Isn't there something between the all-too-warm fuzziness of forgiving and the impenetrable coldness of Not Forgiving? Something that says "You don't have to hate the offender or exact a pound of flesh, but you don't have to forgive him either?"

How Can I Forgive You? describes this radical, new "something". I call it Acceptance....

So far I'm finding this book very helpful. Good luck and welcome to the board mdprideplayer!

M.

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Ah, advice, talking with my conscious to your conscious mind when really somehow we need to get to the emotion center. It listens to what we think and feels appropriately, or we feel it and think appropriately. Cycles. Advice? Forgive. You know that already. It's your burden you carry in not forgiving. If you can believe that strong enough, that subconscious listener might get a clue and take on the charge and attitude of the belief rather than the belief taking on the charge of the thought. Cycles. I first learned this when I found a surprising amount of debt on my credit cards by an authorized signer. It was enough that I was hollow. Angry? No. Sad? No. Bewildered? Not really. What to do. I mention it because later I learned that our feelings run off what we think we should feel from what we believe, and in looking back, I had no belief or setup for that particular situation, so I just looked at it, looked at options of what I could feel, as they came on they all seemed dumb, so I rejected them all, and refinanced the house. Good advice? I don't know. I still work on it for deeper rooted stuff, not always easy. Also, forgiveness with me links with a replacement of lost trust, and it shouldn't. If the grudge is gone, the trust is back somehow, I need to find that line bettter. Pray, be thankful, that seems to be a great neutralizer. Gratitude, feeling it permeate you, seems to generate light. Give thanks in all things. Like in The Hiding Place, the women were in a concentration camp, and one sister said Thank you for the fleas, the other sister hesitated on that one, they did anyway, and it turned out the fleas kept the guards away and gave them just a little freedom, less oppression in that circumstance, and they did end up being thankful for the fleas. Hope it helps. Oh, if you really want to be off the wall, I would look into Pascalite. It cleans out physical junk that won't pass and kills bad guys along the way, quarter to half teaspoon, once or twice a day. When the 'stuff' passes, sometimes the 'stuff' passes, strange correlation. :) Good luck either way.

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Valid point, but I still think it's bad advice to claim that it's a valid choice to not try to (per the post regarding a book that advocates avoiding even making the effort).

The book does not say that and neither does the excerpt that I posted. Read the book if you want the whole story.

M.

Edited by Maureen
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Excuse me? That excerpt describes seeing a choice between heeding the command to forgive or choosing not to as a "questionable assumption", and talks about "without having to forgive".

No, I will not read a book that urges me to violate commandments given by Christ Himself. Human "wisdom" is limited at best compared to that of God. I'll stick with wisdom coming from the eternal perspective, TYVM.

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Excuse me? That excerpt describes seeing a choice between heeding the command to forgive or choosing not to as a "questionable assumption", and talks about "without having to forgive".

No, I will not read a book that urges me to violate commandments given by Christ Himself. Human "wisdom" is limited at best compared to that of God. I'll stick with wisdom coming from the eternal perspective, TYVM.

Your assumption that said: (per the post regarding a book that advocates avoiding even making the effort) is entirely wrong. The book nor the excerpt even hinted at not making the effort to forgive. I don't know, maybe you're just being a lazy reader. The book in fact talks about dysfunctional approaches to forgiveness such as Cheap Forgiveness and Refusing to Forgive and also talks about other approaches to forgiveness such as Acceptance and Genuine Forgiveness. So before you dismiss advice you haven't even read, read it first and then decide.

But back to the OP, try to ignore the in-fighting on this board and find something that works for you.

M.

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My advise would be to let him know that you are hurt by his actions of lying to you about something so important. Then pray for the strength to forgive his actions. Remember we are told by our Savior , “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord

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Forgiveness is hard for all of us. Figuring out how to do it is even harder. How many times have I said "just forgive" to myself only to find that it is harder than I anticipated to get to. And there is no doubt in my mind that we need the help of the Lord working on our hearts to help us get there.

This has been said so many times here on this forum, but I think it is still true. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. We let the burden go of worrying about someone else and their power to hurt us. We decide how we feel and we set ourselves free.

Forgiveness is NOT giving someone permission to hurt us or others around us again and again. It does not require us to look the other way to stop acting in the best interest of ourselves and our families. Forgiveness is NOT trust. You can forgive someone in the very second you lay a boundary or say no or even in the ending a relationship. Forgiveness can live right along side important consequences and the exacting of needed justice.

It sounds like you trusted someone that betrayed your trust. Something like that hurts. I think it is very appropriate to even go to that person and explain the betrayal you feel, if you haven't already. Hopefully that person will hear you. If that happens, then perhaps there can be a restoration to your friendship. Or maybe too much damage has been done and you may decide he isn't a good friend to keep inside your circle of trust. Either way, you can forgive. You can't make him stop being a jerk or stop being part of the problem, but you can tell the truth and decide what is best for yourself. Once you get there, then you can forgive. Don't seek revenge. Don't let anger get the best of you. Take your hurt feelings to Jesus to heal and ask him to open your heart to the forgiveness you absolutely need to move on. It is ok to feel the pain. Ok to mourn your losses.

Sorry this happened to you. I can't imagine how I would feel. And it is ok if it takes some time for all the forgiveness pieces to come together.

Edited by Misshalfway
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Two thoughts:

1) I have observed that there are times that with prayer, HF can give us great help and lift the anger/hurt we feel towards another. What I have experienced though is that we are often left to our own to work through these matters and find in us the strength and resources, and to learn how to forgive.

Yes, my fretting,

Frowning child,

I could cross

The room to you

More easily.

But I’ve already

Learned to walk,

So I make you

Come to me.

Let go now—

There!

You see?

Oh, remember

This simple lesson,

Child,

And when

In later years

You cry out

With tight fists

And tears—

“Oh, help me,

God—please.”—

Just listen

And you’ll hear

A silent voice:

“I would, child,

I would.

But it’s you,

Not I,

Who needs to try

Godhood.”

(Carol Lynn Pearson, Beginnings, Provo: Trilogy Arts, 1967, p. 18.)

As presented by Elder Packer in a 1975 Fireside

2) When I first read your post a few days back, what surprised me was that your post described difficulties in forgiving a 'friend', yet no mention of difficulties forgiving your husband. It seems to me that the greater hurt would have come from your husband. Typically (but not always), our greatest pains come from those that mean the most to us, or are the closest to us.

I could be way off base, but I can't seem to shake the thought that I keep returning to: that anger towards your husband is being transferred to the friend. After all, it is much easier to deal with anger placed on a scapegoat rather than upon the person we have to continue living next to. I have found myself doing this at times when my wife has done something with her parents that caused strive between myself and my in-laws. It's a lot easier for me to go on living with my wife when (subconsciously) my anger about the situation is directed towards someone I don't have to interact with on a daily basis. The real problem resided with my wife, but for natural reasons, I was reluctant to acknowledge that fact.

I also find it very interesting you wrote "who is being part of the problem" not 'who was part of the problem'. Is this just a typo, or do the words you chose actually reflect how you are viewing the situation? If you had truly forgiven your husband (or perhaps you know you have not, but are choosing to work on your feelings towards the friend first?), then isn't the whole issue dead and in the past, not a current ongoing situation?

I know there are some that will suggest simply trying to tell yourself you forgive, or practice not thinking about the whole issue. But it seems to me, in the situations where HF chooses not to intervene, but rather allows us to grapple with the issue ourselves, this is attempting to put the cart before the horse. For me, forgiveness is a process that includes understanding and defining the situation as a first step. Fully recognizing and pondering upon our feelings is not a sin in my mind – it only becomes a sin when we chose to dwell on them and NOT let them go when we have gone through the process and are capable of letting them go. (As is also a sin when we purposefully choose to not attempt to engage the process of forgiving when we know we should. Is there a sin in having sexual desires? Of course not! Many a general conference talk has pointed out that our interest in members of the opposite sex is a God created facet of our lives. The sin lies in entertaining those desires [mentally or physically] in inappropriate ways. Likewise it is not a sin to feel hurt and anger when offended. That is also God given facet of our lives. It leads us to feel compassion, causes us to grow, and forces us to struggle with forgiveness. Having the feelings is not the sin. Choosing to hold onto them is. That's the way I think anyway.)

As the author of Forgiving the Unforgivable, Beverly Flanigan wrote as an example of this idea:

To forgive someone, you will need to know what you are forgiving. To forgive a person for cutting your finger off when she has actually severed your arm at the shoulder is useless. In other words, when you forgive someone for injuring you, you should know what the injury is and what it really means for you.

In the naming phase, you construct the meaning of the wound. You admit you are harmed; you explore the dimensions of the injury, and you talk to other people to validate your feelings and impressions. You also identify the meaning of the injury in terms of its duration, controllability, consequences, and to some lesser extent, its cause. Once these objectives are met, you are ready to move on to the next phase of forgiving because you now understand what you are attempting to forgive.

I hope I’m not too far off base or misguided in providing the above. I wish you the best in your journey to find peace for yourself.
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When I first read your post a few days back, what surprised me was that your post described difficulties in forgiving a 'friend', yet no mention of difficulties forgiving your husband. It seems to me that the greater hurt would have come from your husband. Typically (but not always), our greatest pains come from those that mean the most to us, or are the closest to us.

I can see it being easier to forgive the spouse than the enabler. You share your body and soul with your spouse. Everybody else is, at least to some degree, chopped liver. I forgive my wife for things all the time that, if she were someone else, I'd probably never be able to do so.

But back to the matter at hand. How to forgive Mr. Enabler. I believe that a lot of hurt feelings in life are the result of misunderstandings. Not saying that's the case in this situation, of course. At any rate, I'd go up to him, and trying as hard as possible not be be confrontational, I'd ask him why he said something that turned out to not be true. I wouldn't accuse him, but I'd tell him that what he said wasn't true, and that I feel like I had been liked to, which duplicitly means that my intelligence has been insulted. I would explain how much pain resulted, and ask for his side of the story. I would not be afraid to say "I can't believe that" if I get an answer that sounds bogus, but I'd try not to be contentious about it.

You may get lucky and get disclosure.

If you don't, I'm afraid I'm out of ideas. I can carry a grudge from here to Kingdom Come. But I'll be watching for answers.

Edited by its_Chet
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Your posts re what you wife did while in AZ are not lost on me. Very compelling story you have, and one I’m glad I have not had to live through.

My point is not too different from what you are saying – it’s just on the flip side of the coin – looking at the same ‘problem’ from different points of view. As everyone else is ‘chopped liver’, there is little chance that we are hurt by their actions to the degree that we can be hurt by spouses or other family members. When we heard of the Gov of SC having an affair, were we personally pained? Not likely. But if our spouse does the same . . .

Whether it’s easier to forgive the greater pain or a lesser one is a deeply personal and individualized experience. Clearly whether or not HF chooses to intervene will also greatly impact how difficult each situation may be for us to deal with.

I have read the experiences of some others who describe differing facets of infidelity being the most painful part. For some, the lost faith in the spouse is the primary issue. For others, it might be the effect on the children. Yet others still, it may be the fact that the third person is/was a best friend. Such traumas are deeply personal and therefore the nature of the impact varies from wounded person to wounded person.

Perhaps I have a fundamental misunderstanding of how close mdprideplayer is to this ‘friend’. Still, something nags that there is more to the story that originally posted.

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Perhaps I have a fundamental misunderstanding of how close mdprideplayer is to this ‘friend’. Still, something nags that there is more to the story that originally posted.

I suppose there usually is. And I do see your point about the closer the wounder, the greater the wound. I guess both are true for me.

When my wife did things that hurt me, it really hurt like the dickens, even though she's never kissed another guy since we got married, or anything beyond that. But I always find it easier to forgive her than someone else. I have an ever burning hatred of the guys she used to mess around with before we met, who stole things that belong to me and can never be replaced. Of course she was a party to that too, but I don't hate her.

Maybe men are just too easy. I can't stay mad forever at the woman with whom I share my body and soul. I've tried. Just doesn't work.

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