The Problem With Forgiveness

No one will escape life without needing to forgive or be forgiven. It's a necessary aspect of a happier life.

At times though, we can cheapen its worth. We quickly instruct ourselves and others to forgive. Therefore we minimize situations and fail to recognize the extent of wrong that has been done.

I work often with those that have been sexually abused or have experienced huge loss. At times, situations have occurred years earlier and yet their cry for help is now. They have been told by well meaning others that forgiveness is the first step.

What does this do though? Firstly, it places more pain upon the one that has been wronged when they are so vulnerable. Rather than feeling supported and understood, responsibility is placed upon the weakened shoulders. They therefore feel the culprit.

Secondly, by simply stating that "you need to forgive", the full extent of a situation has not been recognized. The victim therefore is only left feeling inadequate and ashamed. 

Forgiveness is needed and is powerful. It brings one to freedom.

To thrust it though upon one in crisis, only adds to their burden and is cruel. 

Forgiveness needs to be given and should be practiced. Yet it is often more constructive and healing when one has been allowed to grieve.

It is more needed toward the end of the process rather than at the beginning.