forgiveness requires humility

by Barry Adkins
(Gilbert Az.)

I clearly understand that everyone grieves differently and that there is no “silver bullet.” My purpose is not to tell anyone how to grieve, as that would be disrespectful, but rather to share things that have helped me along the way. My hope is that my thoughts might help others in some small way.

Forgiving those who have wronged us is not easy to do, especially when those that have wronged us have not asked for forgiveness. But forgive, we must.
Pause for a moment, if you will, and look around, you will see many people who harbor grudges for both real and perceived things that have been done to them. Holding this grudge does nothing to help them heal the wounds or get “closure” – whatever that is.
As I watch the news media cover horrible crimes I see interviews with family and friends full of anger and hate declaring they want “justice” for their loved one. Anger and hate that is completely understandable to be sure. But if that anger and hate does not transform into forgiveness and humility, it can and will destroy the lives of the family and friends. So the person that committed that horrible crime has added to his list of victims because not only has he destroyed a loved ones life, but he has also destroyed yours.
Without forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to become a victim and the world doesn’t need any more victims. Don’t allow yourself to become collateral damage. You will never be able to move on until you forgive. It is as simple as that.
The key to being able to forgive is humility, something that our society does not promote as an important personal trait, but many people of faith consider it to be a very important. Society and the media want us to be proud. How often do you hear someone being interviewed on the news say, “I made a mistake, I was wrong, I’m sorry” or “I forgive the man that murdered my loved one?”
Many of our social ills are tied to a lack of humility. We get offended and angry because someone cuts us off on the freeway or some jerk is rude and disrespectful to us. Next time something happens to you that has you upset, ask yourself, “am I being prideful here?” I know this may sound harsh, and it’s not meant to be but, get over yourself already!
My mom used to say, “forgive and forget.” I submit that there is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. You can forgive, but that doesn’t mean you forget.
In my case, my eighteen-year-old son, Kevin, died of alcohol poisoning on the day he moved out on his own. I have long since forgiven those that were at the party with him and of course, I can forgive my own child. But the hardest person of all to forgive is myself. As his dad, there has to be something I could have done differently to prevent this needless and all to common tragedy. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking, I walked from Arizona to Montana with his ashes in my backpack, speaking at numerous schools along the way. Walking 1400 miles gives a man a lot of time to think. Somewhere on the open road between Arizona and Montana I found a way to forgive myself for “letting my child die.” Forgive I have, forget, I won’t.
The most important step you can take toward any healing process or “closure” is to forgive those responsible, even if they haven’t asked for your forgiveness.
With humility, comes the ability to forgive. Who do you need to forgive today?

Comments for forgiveness requires humility

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Mar 16, 2014
Your son
by: Anonymous

We as parents feel we are to protect our children. When they die from a choice that we cannot understand such as alcohol or drugs or a mixture ,we feel guilt -that parenting- what could I have done.....what could I have said that I didn't say.....all sorts of why's run though our whole system. There is no answer. We loved them, we each have struggles on earth and death of a child is the worst. To forgive ourselves for not being perfect because we although knowing this,feel we should have been able to do something that would have changed it!!! We have to as you write forgive ourselves for simply being human.....
Because we are not in control and death certainly let's us know that!!! The painful journey of walking on without them is the hardest walk and you made this walk for your son physically and now , the mental walk,the hardest of all. Keep walking within, you are not alone.

Mar 11, 2014
How to get through and live on
by: Anonymous - Joe's mom

My son passed last July and I am just getting to the point where I think I have to go on (but I still want my son here with me and accept I cannot have that.) I was just thinking of guilt this morning, as I do not know how to move forward without feeling the guilt, as I do not want my life to be without my son but do not have the luxury of the choice. So, like you, while I cannot change what is, I need to find a way to continue, not just exist, but to live. I am working on how to allow myself to find enjoyment in my future, knowing mentally that my son would tell me that if he was here, but emotionally, I am not passed the incredulity of my son's death. I appreciate your post, since I did not consider that while I forgive others, I may need to work on forgiving myself for that which I had no control to change. Thank you for providing new ideas to explore and best wishes with your journey as well.

Mar 10, 2014
by: Anonymous

You are an amazing person. I lost my son and I think about him all day long and miss him every minute of the day. I am so proud of you, that you walked his ashes and spent all those many hours thinking about your loss and how you could deal with it and grieve in a healthy way, if there is one. So many parents just stuff the pain away and abuse themselves and others because they don't know how to deal with the pain and perhaps the guilt.
I choose to face the pain head on. It is the only way to survive. Keep moving and God Bless you. Your son is so proud of you!!

Mar 10, 2014
by: Anonymous

I have to say that you are one awesome human being. I read your post twice and kept thinking he is so right now how do I get there? I don't sit here thinking about the man that killed my husband anymore like I did in the beginning. I'll be honest, I wanted revenge the first few months only because he didn't care that he killed someone and his attitude was horrible and it was "my job" to stand up for my husband. I can't say I've forgiven him because I'm just over thinking about him. I'm stuck missing my husband but I do have a few other people that I really struggle with forgiving. I'm actually a very forgiving person. My son said to me one day...."You are too forgiving and you're always wanting to make things right." I always thought that was a good thing. I have forgave many people in my life including my birth mother that put me up for adoption.
My problem is I don't have anyone to hold me up and support me like my husband did when I was down. I've lost so many people but my husband would be the only one to understand and support me. We were always there for each other.
I'm so impressed with how you walked so far and spoke to others and maybe saved a life through your tragedy. I'm sure your son is looking down and very proud of you. Thank you for your post. God Bless.

Mar 10, 2014
forgiveness requires humility
by: Doreen UK

Forgiveness is something that I never understood. I suffered badly damaged emotions from childhood. But I was a Christian and struggled with what I wanted to do but couldn't do. I honoured my parents according to God's Law. Whenever a sermon on Forgiveness came on the T.V. I felt uncomfortable and changed the channel. I became confused as to who I had to forgive for what since I was repressed. Not allowed to speak or express myself I grew up silent in a hearing world. The myth of "Children should be seen and not heard." I felt damaged. In my 40's I took myself off to therapy/counselling. I resolved a lot of my life issues and losses and became an integrated person. The struggles ended. I was actually concentrating on FORGIVENESS too much. I decided to do the counselling work and a lot of what I struggled with EVAPORATED/DISSOLVED. Forgiveness was not an issue anymore. I became a whole person. Many people are confused about forgiveness. "What is it?" "What do I have to do?" "I can't forgive!" I guess there are many misconceptions about forgiveness that many don't understand. The Church is never clear on this. But I guess God does bring us to our knees and we can spend a lifetime learning many lessons. I even went as far as to say to God "I am willing to be made willing to FORGIVE." A good starting point. But it can take years for us to BE ABLE TO FORGIVE those who have hurt us or done us wrong.
Corrie Ten Boom was preaching. In the crowd she saw the prison guard who stood outside the gas chamber's where her family were executed by his commands. This German guard said "Fraulein! I am so glad you believe in a God who Forgives. Corrie was frozen. She said "He put out his hand to mine and I couldn't do it." Then the Holy Spirit spoke to her and told her. "Corrie just put your hand out." She did and she felt almost like an electric current flow out from her hand to his. But it was her battle she needed help with by Divine Intervention. WE will all have our own experiences and struggles. But in the end we will all be more wiser about FORGIVENESS and its role in our Life, and Healing.

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