Forgiveness, Theology, Uncategorized

He was a friend, after all.

“I hope you don’t think this means we are together now.” I blinked; he walked out of my dorm room. What at first was a meeting of friends ended in sexual assault. The first kiss was okay, but everything that followed violated my trust, my body, my confidence. Strangely, labeling it “sexual assault” did not immediately occur to me, despite my saying “no” several times. I did not yell for help. He was a friend, after all. Continue Reading

Forgiveness, Theology

Forgiveness is my “one thing.” When I rise, forgiveness is the first thing on my mind and often the last thing I think about at the end of the day. It has become the lens through which I view myself and the world around me. My daily need for forgiveness, as well as the expectation to offer it, no doubt grows out of my Reformed heritage and its focus upon God’s grace. Further, I ‘m sure close family members and friends wish I’d move on and talk/write about something else. In simplest terms, this post is the reason why  I won’t (or can’t) let go and why I hope to interest others.

Until my ONE thing is done, everything else is a distraction. -Gary Keller

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Forgiveness, Theology

Self-Forgiveness: Abigail’s Story

I weaved around marimbas, timpani covers, and instrument cases as I sprinted across the gym. I reached the wall and skidded to a stop as I looked up hoping, praying, and wishing with my whole heart that my name would be up on that list. I lifted my eyes up, then I closed them to look again. I must have seen it wrong the first time because my name had to be on that list. But when  I opened my eyes, nothing had changed.

I didn’t make it. Continue Reading

Forgiveness, Theology

For clergy only

I graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1990. My time there was a mixed bag when it came to theological training, though it certainly managed to strengthen my faith. As well, I began to develop various new skill sets, such as preaching, pastoral care and evangelism. Heading into my first church, what skill would I need the most? The answer grew out of a comment that one of my professors shared in class one day:

Whenever you go to a new church, you can count on two things: Half of the people are going to love you, and half of the people are going to hate you.

What? I didn’t go into the ministry to be hated! Why? Continue Reading

Forgiveness

Want to live a longer, happier life? Try forgiveness

Forgiveness in and of itself is good in many ways, but in short, it has potential benefits for mental and physical health, happiness, and even physiological functioning. (An understanding of forgiveness is captured in my book on “Forgiveness and Health” where we take up the meaning of forgiveness, but more importantly we also consider at some length how forgiveness is good for you.)

Most of the benefits seem to come from the stress-reducing effects of forgiveness. Remember that you might feel justified in holding out on forgiveness, but rarely does that make you feel better. The equation looks something like this:

Well Being = Forgiveness – Stress

It doesn’t take long to understand that more forgiveness and less stress makes you feel better. Our edited volume on forgiveness and health bears this out again and againforgiveness reduces stress which enhances health.

Psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists and physicians agree that forgiveness helps enhance health. That’s why some hospitals are now even using forgiveness as a method of helping patients cope with illness and disease and enhance quality of life for patients (as one example, the Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia).

Keep in mind that it is easy to think that forgiving the big things in life is the most important, but consider the frequency of those events. By definition, big things are fairly rare things. Rather, think of your daily situations, which are much more common. If you can more quickly engage the forgiveness process you potentially experience years of less stress and more forgiving, peaceful and healthy years.

ED. NOTE: Much of the above writing for this post is drawn from a digital publication I author on behalf of Luther College and is used with permission. – Loren