I saw the episode on ID. You said, “I’m about ready to forgive him,” or similar words. Just my opinion–Why would you want to do that? Are you being pressured by well-meaning people who say all Christians must forgive everyone of everything? The Bible doesn’t teach that. Don’t hurt yourself worse by extending false forgiveness. You’re under no obligation to forgive that man, ever. Only if he comes to you and asks you to forgive him–*then* you might consider it. Until then, why would you ever want to even consider it?
Dear Skeptical Forgiver,
Coincidentally, your email came right during the time that I’m studying forgiveness. I’ve also received a letter from Braae, the killer. All of this has prompted me to really know what forgive even means. I can see how a viewer or reader can speculate,
sort of like fans watching the game. They are full of commentary but we all know, they would nor could ever be the player.
Understanding someone’s grief process and how they work through a tragedy is nearly impossible for someone other than that person. With certainty, we proclaim stances beginning with, If that was meor I would never. I know this because I do it too. It takes practice and awareness to see things from more than one perspective.
I watched the episode again to examine specifically what I said in regards to forgiving Braae and confirmed that I never mentioned doing it out of obligation to my faith or any other reason. What I feel today is the same as how I felt 18 years ago. I explain this in detail in my book which, will also contain Braae’s letter to me.
I’d like to answer your question by talking about what it means to forgive;
Forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake and forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
I never had to try to forgive him because my heartache was for my Mom, not him. My feelings toward him were insignificant and could not bring her back to us. So, if I carried anger and resentment toward him, who hurts? Me, I do. You stated that he must request forgiveness for me to offer it. Well friend, he has and you know what? He is a narcissistic, sick human and I have no way of knowing if he is sincere. Ultimately, know this – he carries no weight in my capacity to forgive, he is inconsequential in the decisions I make for myself.
Here is an excerpt from this portion of my book:
You studied forgiveness and asked for it from us, believing that your access to heaven depended on it. The bible ( the means in which your using to learn and request our forgiveness) states that when someone hurts us, we are under obligation to God to forgive that person. You refer to multiple scriptures and feel strongly that simply reciting a little prayer of forgiveness is useless if not extending the it toward the perpetrator as well. Forgiveness seems more like a feeling and feelings derive from our thoughts. Our thoughts in themselves have no power but they come alive when we give it feeling. To me, it’s releasing an afflicting grudge and heartache we bear after complete heartbreak. So, If I do not feel sad, angry, or resentful due to accepting what is and the amount of time I’ve had to heal, have I forgiven you? Maybe the answer is yes. Moreover, if I applied the biblical definition of forgiveness then am I simply stating I forgive you because I’m told to do so or do I actually forgive. See, the answer is in the heart.
The only question now is, how is your heart? I will know by your answer when I ask you; where are the other two women?
*Anger and resentment suffocate love, creativity, and a full life. Forgiveness does not indicate renewing or creating a relationship and I believe it has nothing to do with the perpetrator. It allows us to live and breathe without gasping for joy.