Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

By Solomon Schimmel | Go to book overview

TWO
The Essence of Forgiveness

A lonely and bitter friend of mine and his three adult, married children have not spoken to one another for years, ever since he remarried following the tragic early death of his first wife, their mother. From the children's perspective, he remarried too soon after their mother's death, and he showed more concern for the emotional needs and feelings of his second wife than for those of his children. He in turn perceived his children as selfish, not appreciating his loneliness as a widower and his need to forge a satisfying relationship with his new wife, even if it meant paying more attention to her than to his children. He is now deprived of the pride and pleasure he could have in their accomplishments and barely knows his grandchildren because of the mutual anger, recrimination, and blame that has destroyed what once were beautiful parent—child relationships. My friend was a doting, self-sacrificing father, a man to whom family was of prime importance. Here he is entering his senior years, devoid of the family joys and satisfactions he worked so hard for and deserved. His children, who loved their father before the rupture that resulted with his remarriage, are deeply hurt as well and are embittered that they have essentially lost a father, and their children have lost a grandfather. The situation is pathetic and tragic because neither father nor children are schooled in the arts of empathy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. They are caught in a no-win bind of emotional and moral foolishness, unable to extricate themselves from their mutual blame and recrimination for hurtful words and actions of the past. How sad it is to witness them living out their lives, unforgiving and unforgiven.

Forgiveness in family relationships is complicated by the ambivalent emo-

-40-

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Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Permissions viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Wounds Not Healed by Time *
  • Introduction 3
  • One - Revenge & Justice 11
  • Two - The Essence of Forgiveness 40
  • Three - Why & When to Forgive 61
  • Four - How to Forgive 89
  • Five - Forgiving Oneself & Forgiving God 121
  • Six - The Essence of Repentance 141
  • Seven - Repentance & Reconciliation 182
  • Epilogue - The South African Experience 220
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 251
  • Index of Names 259
  • Index of Subjects 261
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