Author Topic: Letting go and forgiveness  (Read 2493 times)

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Offline Myrrh23

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Letting go and forgiveness
« on: August 24, 2008, 11:24:44 AM »
Is letting go the same as forgiveness? If not, how are they different? Can one forgive a person, but not like them and not want to have anything to do with them?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 11:26:05 AM by Myrrh23 »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2008, 12:17:00 PM »
As far as I understand, yes, forgiving means exactly "letting go" - your total un-wilingness to retaliate against the person who offended you, and your non-remembering the pain of the offence committed against you. It's like, no matter how badly someone offended you, you are meeting this person and starting a friendly conversation, as if the insult toward you has never ever happened.

On the other hand, forgiving and forgetting an offense does not automatically mean that you suddenly started to like everything about a particular person, while formerly you disliked something about this person. For example, if I was insulted by a person who was dead drunk, I will forgive and forget the insult, but it does not mean that from now on, I will "like" that this guy drinks like fish.
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Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2008, 12:36:36 PM »
I think George is right.  This is what I strive for, too, to let it go and to allow myself the freedom to dislike and avoid them.

However...

This is only the first, small step:

The grace of God is not in the man who does not love his enemies.

O merciful Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit teach us to love our enemies, and to pray for them with tears.

O Lord, send down Thy Holy Spirit on earth that all nations may know Thee, and learn Thy love.

O Lord, as Thou Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, so teach us, too, by Thy Holy Spirit, to love our enemies.

O Lord, all peoples are the work of Thy hands- turn them from enmity and malice to repentance, that all may know Thy love.

O Lord, Thou didst command us to love our enemies, but it is hard for us sinners, if Thy grace be not with us.

O Lord, pour down Thy grace on the earth. Let all the nations of the earth come to know Thy love; to know that Thou lovest us with a mother’s love, and more than a mother’s love for a mother may be forgetful of her children, but Thou forgettest never, because Thy love for Thy creation is boundless, and love cannot forget.

O merciful Lord, by the riches of Thy mercy save all peoples.  -St. Silouan the Athonite


So, while I try to let it go, I recognize that this is only the best that I can do, and that I lack the grace that would achieve more.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 12:37:07 PM by tuesdayschild »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2008, 03:47:20 PM »
Is letting go the same as forgiveness? If not, how are they different? Can one forgive a person, but not like them and not want to have anything to do with them?
I think if we forgive, we need to let go of the hurt caused. As far as not wanting to have anything to do with them, I think it depends. I think sometimes we do have to prune our social garden and avoid contact with certain people, especially if contact with them is harmful to us or to them. I think this is what Christ meant when He said: "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)
But we need discernment here to ensure that we are doing this for the right reasons, and not out of spite or vengence.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2008, 05:07:29 PM »
while I try to let it go, I recognize that this is only the best that I can do, and that I lack the grace that would achieve more.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I lean towards the understanding that it is *I* who has to do everything. When Scripture or Fathers say that "the Spirit does" this or that, they mean that He TEACHES us to do this or that in His Holy Church. It does not mean, though, that He is going to do something instead of us.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 05:07:46 PM by Heorhij »
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Offline Myrrh23

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2008, 09:52:27 PM »
Does it mean you have forgiven a person if you're no longer bothered by what they have done, but wouldn't hesitate to call the cops on them or turn away from them when they start up their stuff again?
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All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator

Offline Byzantine2008

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2008, 10:28:24 PM »
Does it mean you have forgiven a person if you're no longer bothered by what they have done, but wouldn't hesitate to call the cops on them or turn away from them when they start up their stuff again?

I can totally relate to this situation.

Have been trying to combat bad thoughts about my brother in law for about 6 months after he physically attacked me and I regretfully retaliated.

He insults me now every time he sees me. My inlaws just tell me to ignore him but sometimes i feel like going round 2 with him.  >:(

I have told my wife and myself I will never raise a hand to him again but it is awfully difficult especially when he lives next door.

The parents always side with him no matter what he does.

To top it off he is a greek evangelical who hates Orthodoxy. My wife was a previous evangelical but God brought her back to the Truth.

So in brief my situation is a little tense.



Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 10:29:44 PM by Byzantine2008 »
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Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2008, 10:33:21 PM »
You know, the more I think about it, the more I lean towards the understanding that it is *I* who has to do everything. When Scripture or Fathers say that "the Spirit does" this or that, they mean that He TEACHES us to do this or that in His Holy Church. It does not mean, though, that He is going to do something instead of us.

I know what you mean.  In fact, I've had heated discussions in which I have argued this, that it is I, not God, who does it, whatever it may be.

But I am coming to believe that this is a false dichotomy, that either I do it or God does it.  The Orthodox principle of synergy suggests that we, God and I, work together.  God will not do anything if I resist Him.  He does not force Himself on anyone.  Even the Incarnation would not have occurred if Mary had politely declined.  Grace is not, I think, that God does it for me, but that He is made ever more manifest in me.  And so I say that I yet lack the grace to love my enemies.

Does it mean you have forgiven a person if you're no longer bothered by what they have done, but wouldn't hesitate to call the cops on them or turn away from them when they start up their stuff again?

Be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.  I think you can forgive someone their past and also refuse to participate, even by silence, in their present "stuff."

But then I'm just some yahoo on the internet,  What do I know?

Offline Myrrh23

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2008, 11:01:35 PM »
But then I'm just some yahoo on the internet,  What do I know?

Enough from this thread to earn my respect as a good Orthodox follower, love. :) You are being as wise as a serpent, but as gentle (with humility) as a dove.

I can totally relate to this situation.

Have been trying to combat bad thoughts about my brother in law for about 6 months after he physically attacked me and I regretfully retaliated.

He insults me now every time he sees me. My inlaws just tell me to ignore him but sometimes i feel like going round 2 with him.  >:(

I have told my wife and myself I will never raise a hand to him again but it is awfully difficult especially when he lives next door.

The parents always side with him no matter what he does.

To top it off he is a greek evangelical who hates Orthodoxy. My wife was a previous evangelical but God brought her back to the Truth.

So in brief my situation is a little tense.

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.


I'm sorry you're going through all that, Byzantine. :( My mother treats my brother like a Prince on a throne who can do no wrong, but I'm like the child that should have been aborted. Everyone has people in their lives who need to get their priorities straight. You're not alone in having to deal with people who act like spoiled, unconcerned brats. :-* Much support, love!
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We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator

Offline EofK

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 12:20:23 PM »
Absolutely you can forgive someone but not get ensnared with them again.  Just because we're called to forgive doesn't mean that you should be treated like a doormat.  If this person is hurting you or threatening to hurt you, by all means call the police!  Besides that, if you were to go along with whatever they're doing not only would you be enabling the behavior but you could be considered an accomplice if it's something truly illegal. 
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline Amdetsion

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 12:55:09 PM »
As far as I understand, yes, forgiving means exactly "letting go" - your total un-wilingness to retaliate against the person who offended you, and your non-remembering the pain of the offence committed against you. It's like, no matter how badly someone offended you, you are meeting this person and starting a friendly conversation, as if the insult toward you has never ever happened.



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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 01:21:08 PM »
Absolutely you can forgive someone but not get ensnared with them again.  Just because we're called to forgive doesn't mean that you should be treated like a doormat.  If this person is hurting you or threatening to hurt you, by all means call the police!  Besides that, if you were to go along with whatever they're doing not only would you be enabling the behavior but you could be considered an accomplice if it's something truly illegal. 

Abba Agathon:

Abba Agathon said, 'If someone were especially dear to me, but I realized that he was causing me to do something less good, I should put him far from me.'

http://www.monachos.net/library/Selection_of_Sayings_of_the_Desert_Fathers

Offline Myrrh23

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Re: Letting go and forgiveness
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2008, 12:12:39 PM »
Thanks for all the help, guys! :)
*I am no longer posting on OC.net*

We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator