Tag Archives: forgiveness

Follow this Plan for Stronger Emotional Health and Relationships

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

pexels-photo-975436.jpeg
Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

You live inside a cube with a window and door. Each of us does.

With you in your cube are what you value, and what makes you who you are. Your family, church, job, and hobby are in there. So are your favorite entertainments, and deep thoughts. In one corner is a dark spot of flaws and selfish behaviors.

All our cubes are filled in the same manner.

As you go throughout your day, bumping into other cubes, maybe annoyance grows.  Inside your private space with unchallenged ideas, you feel safe.

It is simple to dehumanize others we refuse to see.

Observe and connect

Open your window and watch from a distance superficially.  Possibly some faces look back at you making assumptions. You presume to know what they are thinking.

Communication is empty of understanding.

Ah, the door. Swing it wide and invite others in! Expose the real you. Take responsibility for your decisions. When you and at least one other person are welcome to enter and leave each other’s cubes freely, your basic human need for positive, meaningful connection will be met!

There is joyous give and take, generous communication, forgiveness, and honesty about darker egos. That is how we learn and grow.

Be emotionally healthy

You have no control over whether other cubes open. Let them go. You will not have freedom with everyone. However, it is not healthy to stay hidden inside, never reaching out, sharing, or helping.

It is not healthy to allow someone else to live in your cube trying to meet all your needs. It is equally not healthy and is dangerous to stay in another person’s cube, living for his or her happiness.

Whether family, friends, or romance, choose relationships wisely.  Within a positive and meaningful connection you need validation, to know someone values you enough to be involved, and genuine acceptance. Look for these.

A connection is ready 

Jesus offers all three.  He knows every second of your existence. This validation and acceptance is proven in Psalm 139. Jesus also showed how much he values you when he left heaven to sacrifice his body for your eternal soul.

If people in your life refuse to connect, remember you have One who always wants you to know him as he knows you.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 139: 1, 16 

“You have searched me, Lord and you know me… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

God Teaches a Self-protective Hypocrite to Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Twice during church services, the pressure of hypocrisy jolted me into tears to the point I could barely stand. Each time,  a false interpretation of my role had been translated into unloving attitudes and behaviors, including self-righteousness.

The hypocrisy was mine.

One public sobbing was at least twenty years ago.  A pastor stood and said, “I do not know why I am reading this, but sense the Holy Spirit is leading me to do so.”  With that, he read part of Revelations (2:4) where God chastises a church for losing its “first love.”  

It was as if someone struck my legs.  I folded to the bench and wept.  The service continued.

In that moment as the pastor read,  truth clicked.  I was like that church! Jesus is the first love of all who claim him as Savior.  He said we show our love for him by obeying his commands. (John 14:15) His command is to love each other as he has loved us! (John 13:34)

Before ten years passed, my prayers were again embittered. Mentally condemning anyone judged less righteous than me,  I mumbled, “Thank you God that I am not like her.”

It is fair to say,  that moment is one of my most shameful memories and a great regret.

You see, Jesus used a story to illustrate prideful hypocrisy.  While one man asked God to forgive him of his many sins, a religious elitist stood nearby and prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people …or even like him!”  

Ouch.  As three fingers pointed back at me,  I cried in sorrow.

God always meets us where we are.  If outwardly we act tough and inwardly die, he sees. If our faces smile and laugh while our stomachs seethe in anger,  he knows.  If past trauma or any other source of fear feeds a self-protective attitude of hypocrisy, he is not blindsided.  If  his people are willing to listen, he will speak and teach us to love.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Luke 18:9-14 

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee ,  and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

******COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Pics: glass window by DRAGONARIAES of rgbstock.com; Pharisee by freebibleimages.org  

 

Rahabilitation: Starting Over

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

[The following is an excerpt from They Were Real (c) 2014  

Inspired by Joshua 2:1–21 and Matthew  1:5–16 

She closes the door with a counterfeit smile as the corner of the last coat passes from shadow to dawn. The traveler had left scents of sweat, and the cold feel of cash in her palm. Sleep deprivation and guilt challenge her ability to care, to feel anything this moment. She returns to her bed, this time to sleep most of the day away.

She is a victim of circumstance, a prostitute without options, she tells herself, laying her head on her pillow. Having no husband or children in this society means poverty for a woman. Clasping tightly her coins, she closes off her mind until they each fall, clattering to the  floor.

Knock.  Knock.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

It is not time yet, her foggy mind tells her. She peers at her window. She is right, the new day is not over as the sun has not yet drifted below the tops of nearby hills. What could anyone want?

Two young men stand outside in the early evening heat. Rahab recognizes immediately these are not ordinary customers; they are Israelites. Fully awake now, she sees her chance.

“Come in, quickly. Did anyone see you?” They shake their heads.

“Wait here.”

Quickly climbing the narrow ladder leading to her roof, her thoughts focus. This is my chance. This is my one opportunity. Do not waste it! Nervously, she listens. The visitors’ voices are whispers, but at least she knows they are still there. Do not leave!

Harvest had ended only a few days earlier. Fresh flax with which to cover her roof is still resting in the daylight to dry. Grasping one stalk after another, Rahab  organizes  them into a makeshift hedge, double-checking to leave no holes a neighbor could see through. Confident in her complete wall, she descends into her house to face the strangers.

“Go to the roof. I have made it private. Lie down there until I give the word.”

Jericho sits on a nine-acre mound surrounded by desert. It is because of a ceaseless spring that the founders built a town here at all. It is the source for drinking, washing,  and irrigating. Because of this water, most houses have jars overflowing with fresh post harvest grain. Essentially, they are prepared to hold out for years in the case of a siege. Still, rumors fly about those Israelites whose army is defeating city-kingdoms at a fast rate. Fear grips the hearts of men  in Jericho.

Rahab knows her neighborhood. This is where the poor find space in an increasingly crowded city. Where she lives, no one wants to be. The back of her home is against the city’s six-foot-deep protective wall. If anyone wants to attack Jericho, he will have to find a way to climb the twenty-foot fortification and somehow avoid the arrows of Jericho’s best sharpshooters.

Her house and those of others in low circumstance are vulnerable because this is where any attempt at a takeover will happen. Rich people do not live against the wall. Only society’s “disposable” make their homes here.

Desperation of the kind known only among the hopelessly hungry and ill causes normally good people to commit acts they would not consider under better circumstances. No doubt, someone saw these men enter her house and seized the opportunity to gain a few coins or favor from the king by turning them in.

It is no surprise when some of the king’s men pound on her door and shout for her to come outside.

“Bring out the men who  entered  your  house, for  they are spies!”

Rahab is brave. “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from and do not know where they have gone. They left only a few minutes ago. Pursue them quickly and you will overtake them.”

The king’s men set out, and the city gate shuts behind them.

The Israelite visitors had remained quiet for over an hour. They needed to escape Jericho. Ushering them back inside, Rahab pleads, “We know  who you are and why you are here. The men of Jericho have spoken of little else for weeks. We have heard how your God leads you to victory after victory, and great fear has numbed our  entire  city.  I’ll help you out,  but when you return with your army,  please protect me and my family.”

“Have a scarlet cord tied in the window, and make certain all of your loved ones are in this house.”

She agrees.

Wrapping a strong rope around a  beam  and  crawling one by one through the thick hole in the wall that passes for Rahab’s window, the men climb down to the open field. Rahab retrieves the rope.

This is my chance at survival and my  last  opportunity to become the kind of woman I long to be. Once out of Jericho and among the Israelites, maybe I could marry and have children! Perhaps their God will grant me joy.  Rahab’s  hopes for happiness are not new.

Over  the  next  three  days,  she  informs her family. In keeping with the promise, Israelite soldiers attack Jericho but rescue Rahab  and all  who have jammed into her tiny house.

It is yet another act of gracious forgiveness and love that God leads Rahab to her future husband and gives them a  son. Her great-great-grandchild is David, the king of Israel. Several generations later, her bloodline produces Jesus, the promised Messiah, Son of God.

Whom God favors includes the poorest of our poor, most sinful of our sinners, and the least of our least. He welcomes all who believe into his family. Consider Rahab. While God’s one and only natural Son lived on earth, he had the DNA of a foreign  ex-prostitute running through his veins.

God’s love rejects no one.

Today’s Helpful Word

James 2: 24-26  (NLT)

 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

 

Is Laughter the Best Medicine for America’s National Mood Disorder? Part 2

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries  

A national leader, buffeted by war and assassination attempts against his life, once wrote poetry and songs as a means of dealing with his emotions.  He was a war hero who struggled with depression. Responsibility for his country weighed heavy on his mind while he prayed. 

He was a king who did not come from royal blood. His family broke apart in explosive and tragic ways.  First, his father-in-law, king before him, hunted him down for years out of jealous rage. HIs first wife mocked him and left. He lost three sons, one to stillbirth and the others murdered.

Two of his sons tried to overthrow their father’s kingdom. Another son raped his own sister. It is no exaggeration calling this preeminent family majorly dysfunctional.

Here is a clue to the trouble. About the second son who tried to overthrow the king, it is written, “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?’ “

Yes, it was David, King of Israel in roughly 970 to 930 BC, who reigned well in public and terribly at home.  

King David’s grief and plea for mercy

Some of his songs are filled with grief over his crime and failures. For example, one follows his adultery and murder of his lover’s innocent husband.* 

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love…
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night…
  Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me…
 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves…

Sometimes it is easy to sit back in our armchairs or at our computer screens judging leaders who seem to have two faces. King David was flawed, yet he never stopped seeking God. I know religious people who have miserably failed at parenting, marriage, or leadership. I am divorced, and certainly imperfect, yet my heart is after God. 

 How God views our personal failings

God does not look at us like we see each other. I see positive and negative behaviors in myself, family members, friends, strangers, and national leaders. He sees our hearts. When our desire is for God, he knows it.

That is why we can laugh. No, what happened to David’s family is not funny. Harm brought to any of us through family dysfunction is not amusing. National and global crises are no joke. Tragedy is not fodder for entertainment. 

Laughter can come from a place of peace when we know the ultimate judge (Jesus) sees us as forgivable. He does not enable or endorse our sins, however will respond to sincere hearts who break over them. We have a chance (not a loophole making sin ok), for the repurchase of our soul that we sold to the highest bidder.  

Laughter follows mourning

King David’s song continues:

then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness…
 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God…

Our country needs to laugh. Here’s the thing – we need to mourn first. Charlottesville, human trafficking, racism, sexism, stigmas, hate toward anyone who is different or who does not agree with our pet ideas, national infighting, infidelity in marriage, abuse in the home, and so much more, are national and personal sins for which we need to repent. 

It is clear we fail each other and God. Fallout from our poor and unkind decisions can be great. Painful consequences will occur. Even at our best we fall short of perfect love, absolute unselfishness, and wisdom. 

Let us allow difficulty to bring us to our knees in prayer. God will answer us. King David was not always a great man, and his family and nation suffered. In the end, he consistently pursued God. HIs life is an example of divine mercy and answered prayer. His honest and revealing songs and poems became part of one of the most read and quoted books in history, the Book of Psalms. 

Each of us can choose, regardless of pain and worry, to surrender to Jesus Christ, and laugh with joy in his love. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 16:11

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

 

**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*Psalm 51

*earth pic by NAZRETH on rgbstock.com; crowd from kozzi.com

‘Twas The Night Before Church (an adaptation of The Night Before Christmas*)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

‘Twas the night before Church, when all through the house,
 

One heard the (dainty!) snoring of a woman knocked-out.

Sunday’s outfit slung over her chair

In hopes that she wouldn’t forget what to wear.pdkrbsm

 

Chicken and rice was ready, and sitting in a dish,

Waiting to take to church in answer to her wish.

Her soft electric blanket held her in a tight wrap,

As she had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

 

When out of the darkness there arose such a clatter,

She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Her eyes to the alarm clock flew like a flash,

It was too early, so under her covers she dashed.

 

The clouded sun brightened a new-fallen snow

When she awoke realizing it was too late to go.

She glanced at the window when what should appear,

But four flying white-tails belonging to deer.deer-running

 

They ran in a row, simultaneouly quick,

She knew in a moment they must be God’s gift.

More rapid than eagles more creatures came,

And she smiled and shouted “praise to his name!”

 

” ‘Now, believer, now, Christian! now, worshipper, fall!

Come to the Father right where you are!

The deer may fly, but your spirit, too,

Come to me, child, for I love you.’

 

His voice was unmistakeable as snow flakes fly,

So she met with God there while looking to the sky.

The pastor is smart and no doubt did espouse,

But this morning at home, her heart God did rouse.

 

The deer long gone, their beauty elsewhere,

She walked to her office, paused, and sat there.

When she heard Him again, “daughter do as I might”,

So she set her fingers on the keyboard and began to write:

 

“God is dressed all in light, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes are all shining, so we read in the Book,

A bundle of gifts he has flung our direction,

Each of them chosen and given with affection.

 

“His eyes-they see each person! His heart is merry

When He looks on His children whose sins He has buried!

We bow and admit, Him we need to know,

And He makes our darkness as white as the snow.

 

“Hope is now possible, and we grin with our teeth,

Aware that for us He wore thorns like a wreath.

He died and lives again – to fill more than Christmas bellies!

Our spirits’ deep needs He meets… like a chef’s at a deli!

 

“In painful moments, we may put living on a shelf,

Yet may laugh because of Him, in spite of ourselves!

A look at His Word, acknowledging He is Head,

Soon remind us He knows we have nothing to dread.

 

“Remember friend, Jesus held seven stars in His hand,

Yet He reached out to John, and touched the man.

This is the God who loves you and me –

Able to hold the universe and close by us be.

 

“He will return in the clouds, (the angels might whistle!)

What joy when we fly up to Him like down of a thistle!

Whether once dead or alive, we will rise out of sight,

Shouting, ‘Happy praise to God!’, and ‘what a great night!’ “

npdauagToday’s Helpful Word

John 10:10

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

-Jesus

*********

COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

 
*Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863).  Twas the night before Christmas.

Why and How Would I Forgive that %&*$# ? Part Two

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-26058297In my opinion, the most difficult person to forgive is the one who is currently and repeatedly causing harm. Frustration can be insurmountable trying to deal with an offender who ignores our voice or pleas to stop. It may be appropriate to use the term “abuser” to describe this person who is operating under the assumption of power and control.

Someone once said to me that the first step toward recovery and healing from abuse is to stop the abuse. When physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, spiritual, or financial abuse is occurring, it must be stopped.

How are we supposed to forgive a person like that? Should we?

We have examples of such amazing spirit in the lives and deaths of people who suffered while forgiving those who brought them harm. One hundred years ago, minutes before her death, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna prayed for those who were about to kill her. Earlier she had forgiven the murderer of her husband.*

What about now? Photos of Hutus and Tutsis, the two warring cultures whose acts of genocide killed millions of people in Rwanda, show survivors from both sides standing together 20 years later forming a new interdependent society. Pascale Kavanaugh began to care for her abuser in 2010 after the woman suffered strokes that left her helpless. Pascale sat by her mother, her enemy, and read to her. Through this experience, Pascale’s hatred changed to love and forgiveness.**

This type of struggle is familiar to me. Because my family of origin was unhealthy, I have had to address this position of forgiving while being hurt. Of course your issues are unknown to me. What I can point out is what I have learned in the process.

  1. It is sometimes necessary to leave. No one can tell another when it is time to end a relationship. I had to learn my value before I could say goodbye to toxic people. However, abuse is never ok, and you can seek help from a number of community and religious organizations.
  2. It can help to see the offender as human.  Jesus is the epitome of understanding this as he asked God to forgive those who were killing him, “because they do not know what they were doing.” ***
  3. It can help to accept that this person may not change. Much of my pain in harmful relationships has been caused by a lingering hope that tomorrow or next month, or after some event, the offender will soften. These pipe dreams kept me stuck in damaging holding patterns.
  4. It is helpful to let go of the woulda-couldas.  If only the past would change, I thought, then everything would be okay. But it won’t. Harm has been done, pain is reality, thinking about regrets only injures us more. Today’s option is moving forward. We know who and where we once were, but do we know who we want to be? We can go for what we want.
  5. It is a relief to believe that God  is the offender’s judge and we can leave behind any desire for revenge or vindication.
  6. It is important to forgive the right person. I have found it impossible to forgive someone who hurt me when deep inside I was actually blaming myself.
  7. Return good for evil. This does not mean to become or perpetrate an attitude of passive slave or door mat! However, by practicing kindness with boundaries, I have felt my heart become free of resentment. Jesus said to pray for our enemies.

Why forgive? Because it empties our hearts of bitterness. How to forgive? By extending kindness and mercy. No one promises this is easy.

*************************

Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

-pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

*A Russian Orthodox Church Website Orthodox Christianity and the World http://www.pravmir.com Great Examples of Forgiveness file:///C:/Users/nancy/Downloads/great-examples-of-forgiveness%20(1).pdf

**By Jane Claire Hervey http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/extreme-forgiveness/ A Mending Feud   and The Unexpected Caregiver

Choose Kindness Before You Lose Ten Years of Your Life

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015 Nancy Virden

I didn’t know what I was getting into.

It was my intent today to empty out some old files, fully expecting to load a large waste can. Plopping on my bed, I started to examine dusty records and irrelevant information. I landed on one titled “Encouragement and Blessings.”

Oh, I knew what was in there, old birthday and Christmas cards, thank you notes, and not much else. Instead of tossing the contents, I started to read.

The second letter pulled off the top took my breath away as soon as I saw the handwriting.

It was a love letter from my now deceased mother to her long-lost daughter –  me. Dated 1991, she was responding to a note I had sent to her one week earlier. My correspondence had been an apology for my nasty attitude over the years. I could have given reasons why I retreated from our relationship, but chose not to.

It isn’t my letter that matters anyway.

My mom wrote of her love for me and how much she longed for our friendship. Up to that point, our relationship had been both hostile and cold. It was unhealthy, maddening, and all I knew. Nonetheless, we were trying to patch up the past.

When I first read her letter long ago, my tears were about regret, loss, and fear. We were venturing into new territory being nice to each other.  I was wary and unsure it would work out.

Today however, reading that letter for the second time brought tears of sorrow because she died ten years after writing it.  During that decade, shaky emotions threatened our fragile bond. It was a surprise a few months before her death when she told me I was her best friend.

Twenty-three years have passed since our letter exchange. We enjoyed a more normal mother-daughter relationship for only ten years.  I can still grieve the coulda-woulda-shouldas.

Our time together on this earth is over.  Yet I have this letter exposing the woman who longed for me as much as I once longed for her.  She apologized for her part in giving me a low quality of life. (Imagine that!) She described how hard she’d tried to overcome abuse by my father. She wondered what she had done wrong to drive her only daughter away.

As a mother of grown sons, I can see how hurtful the absence of relationship with me must have been for her. We often have better eyesight when we look behind; in the moment is when we make half-blinded choices.

I encourage you to make a quality decision for kindness today. Don’t waste another minute in bitterness. Sixty seconds go by quickly, then sixty more and sixty more. Before it seems possible, ten years will pass.

I’m grateful for those ten years of richer connection to my mom.  

_______________

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

 – pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

Forgiveness May Be a Futile Exercise …Unless…

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Think about this for a moment: Unless we can forgive ourselves we cannot forgive anyone else. Is that true?

1) A woman I know is emotionally tortured over her involvement in a past abusive relationship. Admittedly, she was manipulated and used in the scenario; anyone would say she had been a victim. Nevertheless, years later she often feels rage and hatred toward the abuser and offers no mercy to herself either.

2) A set of parents within my social circle are frequently devastated as they observe their son abusing himself through drug addiction. They question why is it he who turned to this tragic way of life. What could they have done differently to protect him?

The mother is pained remembering a time she believes she let her son down. She blames herself for his predicament. It is impossible to carry this burden alone, so she publicly speaks critically of her husband, complaining about his failures as a parent.

3) A young adult wishing to attend college had his saved tuition money stolen by his father who spent it all gambling. The young man, without a higher education, gained a family and an average job. His own children are adults now, and he scrapes by financially, accruing debt on the way.

As he sits in the school financial aid office with his daughter who has big dreams, he hears he cannot co-sign for her loan. Inside, he rages at his father who cheated him and made it so difficult for him to be successful. No one on the outside likely thinks he understands how his debt lifestyle harms his daughter, but they are wrong. He is acutely aware of his failures.

Locked in a low self-worth mindset and believing we have few options,  we may adopt anger, hate, rage, unforgiveness, and judgmental  standards as ways of thought in all our relationships. Realizing we are forgivable and undeserving of abuse, somehow sets us free from resentment.  I’m not sure how it works, but it does.

*********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline     1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from rgbstock.com