Albert Camus said, “I shall tell you a secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.” Some time ago it was reported that a Dr. Wilder Penfield of Montreal’s Neurological Institute discovered that certain sites in the brain when stimulated electrically led one patient to hear an old melody he thought he had long ago forgotten and another patient to relive the experience of having her baby (oh boy!). His findings convinced some scientists that every action of our life is recorded in our brain and that even our thoughts and feelings about our actions at the time we did them are also recorded. Could there then be solid psychological support for the biblical teaching of judgment after death? A lot of people would rather try to forget certain things but the memory is etched on the hard drive of your brain much like wherever go on the Internet is also recorded on your computer’s internal hard drive. It sure does matter what a person does with the time given him/her by God. The very famous sportswriter Grantland Rice said, “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He writes-not that you won or lost-but how you played the game.” We should be concerned about God’s judgment when we die because no one escapes it and no one will get the VIP treatment. A way to start with examining your conscience is by spending a few minutes each day replaying your day and picking out a high point and then a low point and recognizing the need for God’s forgiveness and the grace to respond better the next time. Finally look ahead to tomorrow and focus on a critical point like a difficult thing you must do, and talk to the Holy Spirit asking for guidance with that difficult thing. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
Some people hinder the hard work of forgiving by smothering confrontation. In other words, when they are in charge, they never let people heal conflict through forgiving. Parents can often be guilty of this by shushing us or soothing us and assuring us that whatever makes us mad is not worth raising a fuss about. Parents can get in the way between us and those who did us wrong by either always protecting, always pinning down the arms of our rage, or forever pacifying us. Parents say, “Forgive and forget” and what they really mean is, “Don’t make a fuss, I can’t stand the noise.” Don’t confuse the technique of smoothing things over with the high art of forgiving those who transgress against us. Smothering conflict is not the same as helping people forgive each other. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
Excusing is the opposite of forgiving. We excuse people when we understand that they were not to blame but we forgive people for things we blame them for. We excuse all if we understand all. Excusing takes insight. Think of the reasons you could submit to show another person that you were not to blame for the rotten thing you did. Perhaps the fault is in your DNA and thus you need to be re-engineered! Or perhaps the fault lies in your psychic conditioning where you had a crazy upbringing and your father was passive-aggressive and your mother was Bipolar. If they made you what you are today then you do not need forgiving, you may however need therapy! Or it could be that the culture made you what you are. You were conditioned to do whatever in your culture gave you pleasure and to avoid whatever in your culture caused you pain. The culture that formed you can be changed. It is when we admit the mystery of another person’s free choice when we come to where the crisis of forgiveness lies. Forgiveness is tough. Excusing is easy. It is a mistake to confuse forgiving with being mushy, soft, gutless, and so understanding. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
When we forgive someone it does not mean we forget the hurtful act. Forgetting is not part of the package of forgiveness. In fact if you forget, you will not forgive at all. You can never forgive people for things they have done to you if you have forgotten about it. You need to forgive precisely because you have not forgotten what someone did. Your memory keeps the pain alive long after the actual hurt has stopped. To remember is to tap into the storage of pain and it is why you need to be healed in the first place. Forgetting could be an unhealthy way to escape the inner surgery of the heart that we call forgiving. There are two kinds of pain that we forget: hurts too trivial to bother about and pains too horrible for our memory to manage. The pains we dare not remember are the unhealthiest of all because we are fearful to face something horrible that once hurt us. We attempt to stuff the horrible experience into the black holes of our unconscious but it will come back disguised perhaps like a demon wearing an angel’s face. Only when we have been healed can we in essence forget. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
Forgiveness is about the transformation of people rather than about certain therapeutic techniques. People need time to uncover anger, especially anger that has dwelt with the person for years. Forgiveness involves seeing the offender in new ways and allowing the feeling of empathy to emerge. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
“When you come upon your enemy’s ox or ass going astray, see to it that it is returned to him. When you notice the ass of one who hates you lying prostrate under its burden, by no means desert him; help him, rather, to raise it up.” Exodus, Chapter 23, Verse 4. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
In the Bible the book of Exodus introduces the 10 commandments but it also introduces a whole slew of laws perhaps serving as a deeper insight into how to live the commandments. Forgiveness is embedded in many religious traditions including Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu. The cosmic perspective might ask a client to see an offender in a broad, spiritual context and ask questions like, “Is this person loved by God?” or “Where do you think that person will go when he or she dies?” or even “Do you think that person is capable of being transformed and showing genuine goodness?” In 1991 a Gallup poll found that more than 80% of Americans believe that they cannot forgive “deeply from the heart without God’s help.” If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
Forgiveness is a tool for resolving excessive anger in a variety of contexts and disorders. As stated before, forgiveness had been shown to decrease anger, anxiety, and depression and increase an individual’s sense of hope and self-esteem. Many individuals come to therapy because they have experienced considerable injustice from others, sometimes over years. Forgiveness is one of the direct routes to dealing with anger born out of injustice in a way that is constructive and healing. Forgiveness therapy is straightforward and many are now asking for this sort of help, “How do I forgive someone who has hurt me so badly?” Forgiveness therapy offers explicit approaches for altering thoughts about past events and people who have been unfair to an individual. Forgiveness therapy is a way for both client and therapist to examine situations where the client was (or still is) treated unfairly for the express purpose of helping the person to understand the offender, to learn to slowly let go of anger with this person and, over time, to make a moral response of goodness toward the offender(s). If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.
For the next several posts, I thought we might consider the topic of forgiveness because simply put, people who forgive someone can greatly improve their emotional health. Research has shown (Dr. Robert Enright) that people who forgive can decrease anger, anxiety, and depression and increase self-esteem and hope following a forgiveness intervention. Forgiveness may be important in people’s emotional healing from events and relationships that cause considerable suffering even if these individuals do not have a psychiatric disorder per se. Some usual ideas about forgiveness fall into such categories such as “move on with your life” or “let go of the resentment.” However forgiveness of deep offenses from other people can be psychologically healing in many ways. Forgiveness has a specific task: to help people overcome resentment, bitterness, and even hatred toward people who have treated them unfairly and at times cruelly. Forgiveness is a specialist in quelling the kind of anger that debilitates the injured or wounded individual. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.