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what God says
December 13, 1999
12:10 am
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mnms
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Some people take their religion seriously. I am one of them. My religious background is something I don't take lightly. But I've come to a very hard point in my healing process that has really affected me Spiritually.

The question: How can I forgive???

According to my religion, if you do not forgive then you will not be forgiven... which means of course that you are damned to hell and a hopeless future. This is a problem I am really struggling with. I keep hearing from other people that I just have to forgive the people who have hurt me. The question is... HOW? I truly have tried, but it seems like no matter how hard I try, I just can't. I have so much anger, so much hate, so much bitterness. This in effect causes me to turn all of this anger on myself as well, because I start to feel guilty that I am not a forgiver... and then I start to doubt that I am even a believer of my whole religion... and I get totally confused and disarrayed. What to do? How to forgive?

Does anybody have a magic wand????

December 13, 1999
7:01 am
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hazza
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Hi mnms,
I am not a religious person, but i can see that for you forgiveness is needed not only for yourself but also for you to be "good" in the eyes of your religion.

Firstly, it is natural that forgiving someone who has done you great harm is not easy. Your God will understand that, your god will forgive you for finding this hard, please don't feel guilty, all religions should be there as an aide in your life, your religion is a focus for your spiritual beleifs, it is not a CCTV camera in the sky judging you. All relgions are about love first and formost, why would a loving god judge you for finding things hard?

Forgiveness is not easy, for me they only way i can forgive things is to make sure that, I have learned from it, that i have understood why i became victim to a certain situation, for example, with emotional abuse i can only forgive someone because i know that they are hurting more than i am, becuase they abuse because they can get no other control in their life. I understand that sometimes i am powerless in certaind situations. This is something that takes years to do sometimes.

You have a lot of bitterness and anger. This doesn't dissappear over night. Bit by bit you realise that you dont WANT to live the rest of your life hating. You want to concentrate on NOW. Are there things you can do help with the anger, can you confront the people you feel rage at and explain how you feel? sometimes this helps some people, other people don't want to confront. Other ways is to exorcise the past, write everything you feel down in a letter, get it all out.

When i was very badly teated by a ex- partner, i felt angry for years. One day i just had enough, i realised that it was me who was keeping the pain and the anger alive. I still had letters that he had written to me when we were together. I took all the letters, everything that reminded me of him and burned it all!
I think it really helped, i know know there are no physical reminders of that period anywhere in my home.

Every situation is different, forgiveness is not easy but you can forgive things only if you want to and remember, you are forgiving because you want to, because you want to move on with your life, not necessarily because they deserve it.

Try to work through your anger, explore it, understand all the things that make you mad, then you can come to terms with it.
You can forgive someones actions,but it doesn't mean you have to forget. You should not allow yourself to become a victim of religious guilt anymore than you should be a victim in any other way. Somethings and some people are just bad, pity them if you want and pray for them, but don't ever think that because you can't truly forgive them at this time that you will suffer damnation, this was a way churches controlled people in the past, this was nothing more than mediaevil crowd-control and politics. This was mankinds' interpretaion of religion to suit his own needs. No religion that i ever heard of in its true, original scriptures damns anyone that isn't willing to try and to learn. it is the fact that you try to live a spiritual life to the best of your ability that is judged if anything is judged at all.
The essence of forgiveness is about trying to understand other people, trying not to judge others and being there to help others should they want to lead a more spiritual path, it does not mean everyone should be forgiven no matter what, it means everyone should try to forgive and to help where they can, this is the best you can do, to try, this is what you are doing and i don't see that any omnipotent being or force would not understand that.
Most religions are in truth about a personal relationship between you and your god. Your god will help you to try to live your life the best way you can, your god will understand your feelings, even Jesus had a hard time forgiving on the cross, His human feelings overode his godly feelings at his moment of pain and suffering. He asked God why? at least that is how the story goes! so if Jesus is allowed to have a tough time of the forgiveness stuff, aren't you?
Please try to be a little easier on yourself, these issues take time to work out, the fact that your are trying to find peace is what is important. Don fall victim to mans interpretation of religion, religion is your relationship with your god, it in not to found by reading every little word of scriptures and taking it to be true in every sense, in the case of the Bible, this is a collectiopn of many different writtings from years after the events.
Scriptures are there to illustrate the path, they contain parables, they SHOW you the way they do not TELL you the way. You find you own way alone with your god.

In christianity, this was always the message of the religion, it was only later that this message was replaced by the idea that you could only approach God through The contraints of the Organised church. Many original scriptures were omitted from the Bible because they allowed people the idea that they could praise God themselves and speak to him directly, not having to go through the church.

Im sorry if my views offend you in any way, but it makes me mad when people are sold Mediaevil politics of europe as religion and then told that they will suffer for not obeying. The original Christianity was Gnostic Christianity, meaning that you reach god through KNowledge, of Him and of Yourself.
This is not only a religious concept it works for eveyone.

Sorry to ramble on, I cant help you to forgive anyone or anything, all i can say is that you must forgive yourself first, you are not guilty of ANYTHING, you are learning,growing, and trying. That is the way forward.
Peace
Hazza

December 13, 1999
11:40 am
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kitten
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Hazza,

I have to tell you how much I appreciate your words. So much that tears are coming down my cheeks. We forget we can only do our best. Thank you. Your eloquence overwhelms me! It has helped me too, more than you can imagine. Especially the part about Jesus.
The burden I carry can never be like his...if he forgave then I can, too. Blessings, my dear!

December 13, 1999
11:45 am
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everblue
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Hi mnms,

Hazza is 100% right. I am not religious at all, mostly for the very reasons of the guilt you talk about. If no one on earth can even agree on what exactly is good and right, then they sure as heck are not going to tell ME what will send me to hell (a place I don't believe in anyway). Hell can be found right here on earth. Anyway, that's off the topic.

I wanted to tell you that you can't force forgiveness. If you do, you haven't really forgiven, only repressed. In my experience, forgiveness seems to take forever, and you need to time to work through what was done to you. You need to feel angry and bitter for a while. That feeling is what will keep you from letting someone else do the same things to you. But eventually you will realize that you just no longer care about it. The more activities, hobbies, etc. and people you bring into your present, the less the past will matter. There is no magic formula to forgive, it only comes with time. Stop letting yourself feel guilty, and eventually one day you will just realize that you have forgiven. Trust me - it will be the best feeling! You just have to have patience and find the healthy things that let you work through your anger. Good luck.

-everblue

December 13, 1999
10:17 pm
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VRJ
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Hazza, very wise words

And to all, see if you can find the painting "Forgiven" in your local Christian store and just look at it and contemplate it.

December 14, 1999
6:10 am
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hazza
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Hi kitten and everyone else,
Kitten, im so glad my words meant so much to you, but what i mean is slightly different. I mean that the original scriptures teach us that Jesus had a very mortal side to him as well and that the sory of jesus' suffering is a parable. It is the fight each of us has between the mortal side of us and the higher spiritual side. The diffenrence between Jesus the man and Jesus the son of god. When tested Jesus felt torn between these 2 part of him, as we do in everyday life but knew he had to go with the spiritual way. It was an example of life choices, the idea that Jesus dies for our sins is a later interpretaion of the scriptures. Jesus dies because he chose the spitiual way over the mortal path. He was saying "follow my example, or at least try your very best" His death was an illustration. It was not a case of his death washed away all of mankinds sins suddenly. It was martydom, yes, but more a story of someone showing that principles count over all, a definite choice to feel the pain rather than be a hypocrite.
WHo is to say if Jesus was a real man or just a character to illustrate? there is little historical evidence to say he existed. He is one of the only characters in history to have so Little evidence for his existance it is almost strange. The original christian church did not actually belivee Christ was anything but a parable. They knew that the Scriptures were parables, those with knowledge or "Gnosis" could see the real meaning of a story while those who were less Spritually aware could take the story at face value but still learn the same moral code from it.

"Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the knigdom of God: But to others in parables"
Luke 8 v 10

So all im saying is that I don't mean Jesus suffered so much, you can surely cope with what you have.
I don't know that i even believe in Jesus.
I am saying the spritual story of Jesus is true for us all, I am saying that this story shows us that in each person there is is the easy mortal way of hate or self indulgence. OR there is the more spiritual path which even though it is harder, we should try OUR BEST TO FOLLOW, it is the intentions to live a good life, NOT THE RESULTS. We still are human, but we try to overide the animal in our nature, to attain the more sublime.
This is the interpretation that i beleive the Jesus story to have, That we try to overcome the lower self.
I do not beleive that our sins made another man die on the cross, I think this is mediaevil mumbo- jumbo. I think it is a story to SHOW us the way of the higher self over the lower self.
Hey, but feel free to tell me im wrong!!!
Peace
Hazza

December 14, 1999
10:08 am
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kitten
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Hazza,

I understood...guess I was over-generalizing. In my case, I try to follow the higher path each day, doing my best. Often, tho' I am caught in the trap of other people's beliefs; "if she's so good, why doesn't she have a man, job, money, etc..." Maybe I will end up without a life partner, never being wealthy, and have an average kind of job, BUT, I will know I lived my life from a place of good intentions. I chose to do my best, not what is best for others. I accept my path, although often filled with suffering, with grace. Maybe it's all jumbled sounding, but I'm there with you...k

December 14, 1999
10:45 am
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Cici
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Hazza,

Wise words I have to say! I think from what I read you must have come a long way from a dark place.

I also have to mention that I am a rather religious person...not in the Biblically focused way. I suppose I have seen the face of God in everything around me, and I am assured of God's existence in a very real sense. I go to mass occassionally (I am Catholic). The thing that Hazza said, about every religion being base on love, is very very true.

If you truly follow the tenants of your religion, you will learn to love and trhough loving you will learn to forgive. I have learned, through very very bad experiences, that people are simple. Flawed. They make mistakes due to carelessness, selfishness, cruelty. But you must learn to see yourself in them.

I was angry at God for a long time. I was bitter at having experienced the things I have. But now I accept these negative experiences, I take them to heart and let them amke me a better person. if you become bitter and cold and isolate yourself, you are letting whoever hurt you win, over and over again.

December 14, 1999
11:59 pm
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KTHOMAS
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mnms,

I want to comment on what you ask in the first post of this thread.

I believe in the word of God. It is powerful. Prayer is powerful. God says that all we need is faith. Even if it is the size of a mustard seed. And that is tiny. But he can use it and grow it in us.

There were people in my past that I swore I could never ever forgive. And I didn't. But when I found God and began to read his word...I understood that I couldn't forgive on my own. I had been hurt and wronged...but God in me could. You see I learned that I could ask God to put forgivness in my heart. So every day I would pray to God...telling him that I did not feel forgivness and therefore he would have to work it into my heart to forgive. And one day...(not over night)the call came in that I had always wanted. You know...the please forgive I was wrong call...well it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had already forgiven this person...through God. And instead I felt compassion and understanding for this person. And you know what my flesh did...it fought it! I still didn't want to forgive and yet I was overcome with the love of the Lord...and saw this person through God's eyes...and then I knew...that God can work miracles...and all we need is to ask.

Sorry if that got preachy on some of you guys. But it was a life changing experiance for me. I hope you understand what I am getting at mnms. Forgivness is hard to do...but you don't have to do it alone...ask the father...

December 15, 1999
12:03 am
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KTHOMAS
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There is no guilt or shame with God. Only what people put on you. God alone knows your heart...and he loves you just the same. His is the purest kind of "unconditional love".

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