Can You Learn to Be More Forgiving?

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Sharon Langmaid July 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

The Bible says if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. We should look at the log in our own eyes before trying to remove the 'speck' in the other person's eye.

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Lessie July 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm

This agrees with the information I've collected. May I use this survey in an article and book I'm writing?

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Brigitte July 1, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Forgiveness is for the one who was wronged more so than the perpetrator. When you forgive you get your heart cleaned out. It's supernatural. It is healing to forgive.
Someone wronged me and I hurt for years over what they did. One day I decided to meet with the one who wronged me and to forgive them face to face. Amazing... I started to feel relief from what they did to me that day. Over a period of time the pain in my heart went completely away.

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Flo July 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm

It can be easy as well not to admit fault when it is ours. Office politics would have us cover up or ognore our mistakes while putting everyone else under a microscope, but sometimes admitting our own limitations or asking for forgiveness can be even harder than giving it. True, one does have to admit they are not perfect when they as for forgiveness, but others around us will recognize that we are self-aware enough to realize our mistakes, conscientious enough to realize their impact, and strong enough of character to take responsibility with an eye toward improvement.

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Joyce Agyemang-Danso July 1, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Wow... Tearing up as I read all the comments on forgiveness. Elizabeth, Alan, Tony W., CAF, etc... excellent writings on Forgiveness. Makes one ponder all the comments written- all so true. Thanks to all; excellent topic today for our Trivia Tuesday!

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Anthony Walker July 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

Next Topic - Love.
Dr. Peter Pronovost says that for our efforts to promote a safe envoironment in the hospital, will be enhanced when we promote LOVE.

Love of our jobs, professions, careers.
Love of caring for the patient.
Love of each other.

Wishing all of my Hopkin's people lots of love on our holiday!!!
Tony

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Stephanie Price July 1, 2014 at 11:12 am

Great idea. Thanks, Anthony.

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emily July 1, 2014 at 10:24 am

Elizabeth & Dale---I would like to work with a group on forgiveness as well if you are looking for more attendees.

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Elizabeth Duvall July 1, 2014 at 11:19 am

That would be great. Dale suggested Atwater's. There are several Atwater's locations so Dale needs to pick one. Coordinating schedules is the next challenge. Wednesday-Friday I finish at Bayview at 3:45. I could meet at any Atwater's probably by 4:30 or later.

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Elizabeth Duvall July 2, 2014 at 8:06 am

To Emily, Dale, and anyone else who is interested in meeting to discuss forgiveness: My e-mail address is eduvall1@jhmi.edu. Dale suggested Atwater's. Send me an e-mail if you want to attempt to schedule a time and a place to meet.

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Tony Keyes July 1, 2014 at 9:49 am

Good topic. The bible teaches a lot about the power of forgiveness and it is fitting that science catches up to the obvious every once in a while. I have learned that forgiveness sets you free as much as the other person. Forgiveness not given leads to bitterness.

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CAF July 1, 2014 at 9:42 am

An excellent topic that is relevant to all of us. The idea of forgiveness is very attractive and the logical course to beneficial change. The practice of real forgiveness is probably one of the most difficult things we will ever attempt to do. Many will fail. It typically takes a long time to durably let something go. Best of luck to all of us in this area.

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Bobbie July 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

Sometimes learning to forgive others starts with forgiving yourself.

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Bonnie C July 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

Bobbie - So true! At the very least, we have to admit we're human and make mistakes. Our society doesn't forgive easily, and we learn to hide our errors in shame.

Frequently we harbor resentment against a person or situation, but are a little timid about approaching the one who "wronged" us, because we know (or suspect) we played a part in whatever happened (we lost our temper or over-reacted, perhaps, and the other person/people were offended by our behavior, etc.); when we honestly look at a situation, sometimes we have to ask for forgiveness to let the healing begin.

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Alan July 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

If we treat forgiveness as an essential rather than an option, we can live with healthier minds, bodies, relationships, and social communities. One concept of forgiveness that makes a lot sense to me is when I forgive a person, I release them from a debt. I don't forgive because I think "you owe me" and I won't forgive until I am satisfied; which in all likelihood will not happen. I have to right off the debt. Whether a person apologizes, admits a wrong, or makes reconciles/recompenses does not matter. The act of forgiveness is about me not carrying or owning the burdensome care of something I cannot change....the heart of another. Wrongly supposed, forgiveness does not necessarily release the offending party of consequences or whatever goes with the package of their behaviors, words, choices....The Bible Scriptures have a great deal to say on the subject of forgiveness with pragmatic advantage to daily living, which I have found helpful over the years. One piece of advice my wife and I agreed on when we got married was "to not let the sun set upon our wrath/anger" and to forgive before the end of the day. That way issues are finalized as early as possible and each day has the promise of new mercies and good stuff! Finally, how many folks regret unresolved hurts on the passing of friend or loved one because no one would take the steps to forgive? So, if you realy love someone and are trying to think of a great give to give them, wrap up some forgiveness and have it ready for the moment.

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Bonnie C July 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

Alan - one other benefit to forgiving as quickly as possible is that the resentment and anger don't grow into a huge "cancer" that eats away at anything good that lives in the relationship (whether it's with a spouse, family member, or co-worker). I've known people who refuse to forgive for years, and their anger is a very real part of their life, but they can't even remember the reason for the anger any more.

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Alice Fuller July 1, 2014 at 8:45 am

Forgiveness of coworkers for perceived or real wrongs done is also important. Easy to say but all of this is hard work!

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Sandra Norris July 1, 2014 at 8:36 am

I learned alot regarding forgiveness and my health. Thank you.

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Jodi July 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

Are there trainings available that will help in the forgiving process?

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Brigitte July 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm

If you'd like I can tell you what I learned (email or phone) and teach you how to go about it. I'm off next week on vacation.

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Elizabeth Duvall July 1, 2014 at 8:14 am

Anyone can learn to be more forgiving. Once you realize that your pain, resentment, anger, and stuckness are holding you back from living your fullest possible life, you understand that forgiving is beneficial to you. And failing to forgive is killing you.
You can forgive people who aren't seeking your forgiveness. You can forgive dead people. You can even forgive yourself.
JHBMC's very own Harrison Library can help you with forgiveness. Borrow one of these titles: The Book of Forgiving, by Desmond and Mpho Tutu, Forgiveness is a Choice, by Robert D. Enright, or Exploring Forgiveness, by Robert D. Enright. I am returning all three this afternoon, so they should be available.
For Lent this past year, I decided to forgive my ex-husband, hence my run on the forgiveness literature. I found out this is hard work that could not be accomplished in 40 days and 40 nights. So, I keep working at it. The Tutu book suggests exercises which involve carrying around a small stone. This is useful as a metaphor for the way a lack of forgiveness weighs us down. I have discovered that it is more like carrying around a hornet's nest.
I keep working on it. I'm learning a lot. It isn't something easily scratched off of my "to-do" list. But it stays on the list, because it has to get done. And, like most worthwhile things, it takes my effort, the support of people who are experts, and, quite a bit of grace.

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Dale July 1, 2014 at 8:37 am

Elizabeth,
Drop the rock!!!
Let's get together after work one evening....do you like Atwater's?

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Elizabeth Duvall July 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

Who doesn't like Atwater's? Which location? We can start a club.

emily July 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

I am interested in the group!!!

Terri Bateman July 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

I enjoyed learning more about forgiveness.

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