Forgiveness Within the Family

Hello All,

I’m still new here so I hope this is an appropriate place for this question.

I’m asking this in relation to extended family, meaning cousins and Aunts. I have no Uncles left. I’m a single man. Both my parents have been dead for some time now. I have no siblings. I was never married but I wanted to be. I have no children, and I did that intentionally since I wasn’t married. I don’t know if I should tell anymore.

I was born and raised Catholic, but due to poor understanding of God I became atheistic at 18. But at 27 I felt a calling so I started reading the Bible. At 30 I joined a Born Again type church. That church didn’t last long. I’ve become very dissatisfied with the whole protestant movement in America, and that’s why I’m asking on a Catholic forum.

All of the extended family is either Catholic or Catholic/Christian. To my knowledge God says we must forgive others. It’s not even a choice. It’s necessary. Or am I wrong? I guess I have to add more. My father died in 1976. Since I never found a wife, I stayed with my Mother until she died in Dec of 2000. The extended family is my father’s side, but they stayed in touch with me and my Mother until she died. Actually that surprised us back in the 70’s. I really didn’t want to stay with my Mother her whole life, but she was from Italy and believed I was supposed to stay with her unless I married. I stayed with her but we often fought. Just with words, and we always got over it. However, since she died, the rest of the family has cut me off. They all have 1 or more grudges against me. They aren’t interested in talking it out and forgiving me. It’s as if God rescinded what He said about forgiveness. Or did the Catholic church change it’s teaching on forgiveness? I really don’t understand what has happened. It’s like I now live in a universe where forgiveness doesn’t exist.

Or maybe God is allowing them to do this to me to chastise me for sins? I really don’t know anymore.

Thank you to anyone who reads this.

No, God has not taken back anything He said about forgiveness.

Do they have legitimate issues, ie, did you do something unjust, unkind, or wrong to any of them?

If so, have you apologized or made amends?

If not, there might be other things going on.

Oh goodness—sounds familiar. :smiley:

All I can tell you is to not give up on family. Some hold grudges some let it go. Keep in touch with them, they might not be much from your stand point but they are what they are. Somehow just realizing that made it easier for me. Make the move, keep in touch. I worry that you are left alone not married and no children. If you don’t mind my asking how old are you? Do you think you still might find someone and settle down with them? Maybe start a family of your own? Any and all things are possible. :slight_smile:

Hi, Geo, and welcome to CAF. :slight_smile:

We aren’t in a position to know you, or to know your family.
We don’t know your nature or why you made some of the choices you did, or how you interact with others, and what hurt exists in you and in your other family members.

Forgiveness is always necessary for Christians, but most of us are imperfect, and sometimes forgiveness can be difficult for any number of reasons. Sometimes people do distance themselves if that is the best way to remain charitable or healthy, that is, if dealing with a person is too destructive.

Whatever has occurred and is occurring in relationship or lack of relationship in your family, much prayer may be needed for healing in yourself and in them…God only knows what is the truth between your family members.

I’ll keep you in my prayers that God will enlighten, lead, and heal, you and the members of your family.

Kind wishes,
Trishie

Sometimes we can’t just sit back and wait for others’ expressions of forgiveness. Sometimes we need gently, kindly, sensibly, and patiently, to work for forgiveness and healing. Sometimes we ourselves need to take the first steps…

Blessing and forgiveness

I forgive you, anyone who ever hurts or judges me.
Whether or not you have sinned against me by malice of by mistake, I ask God’s help to forgive you, as Jesus demands in order that I too may be forgiven my sins, I must forgive, even if I must wisely avoid you.

Will you forgive me? Will you forgive my faults that annoy you? Will you forgive what I am or what you judge me to be? Will you forgive my kindly meant mistakes? Will you forgive where I hurt you in my honest desire to serve God?

In spirit, I kneel to ask forgiveness for good intentions gone awry. Perhaps you will not forgive or perhaps you will never inform me if you do forgive, yet I mean only kindness to others and to you. If I lose your friendship, I still love and pray for you and those with you.

Some day, through God’s mercy I will enter heaven and will never again make sinners choices or honest mistakes that cause others hurt, nor will others again wound me. I take comfort that those who cannot forgive or understand my motives must do so then. Until then your judgements of me — as the person, you deem me or the wrong you believe of me—remain until God who loves us can speak some kindness and perhaps even some truth in your heart for me.

“I bless you. I bless your thoughts and feelings. I bless your family, I bless your ventures, and I bless your life.” The power of those words is God’s not mine. I only bless you in God’s name, for He loves you profoundly.

I forgive you, where there are things to forgive even if you never acknowledge them and or do not value me even enough to see them. How can I blame you? I place you in God’s care and ask His threefold blessing for you. 1999-05

When we cannot forgive

Father help us to recover where injury goes beyond ordinary forgiveness and our hearts are in some way crushed, and our lives changed and devalued. Help us to find a way to forgive when we cannot smile or encounter the offending person with warmth because they have destroyed something in us.

Father please help us to forgive when we cannot forgive…and we cannot forgive because they do not understand how badly they have hurt us, and do not seek in any real way to acknowledge or try to heal the hurt they imposed on us. And even when we tried to tell them from the bottom of our heart but they would not listen, please help us to forgive.

Father help us to forgive when those who hurt our lives do not even remember how badly they have wounded us, and go on with their lives without concern, while we remain still held in some kind of time capsule with the consequences of their unfeeling and uncaring and attack.

Father, help us to forgive when those who wounded us by ignoring our needs and requests, yet who desire us to ignore their offense, and expect us to respond to their hints or manipulations while they make no concessions or apologies.

Help us to forgive those who impose their own conditions and rules upon us, without respecting that our hurt is real and radical, while they make us feel that they only desire our capitulation without justice, apology, or generosity from them.

Please help us to forgive those who have hurt us physically, or emotionally, or mentally, and above all, spiritually, by action or by neglect.

Father please free us, free me, in forgiveness that comes from Your Son, innocent, and murdered, but forgiving.

Divine Mercy

Holy God, Your mercy continues through all ages. Let us be merciful to You in return, by being compassionate to each other. Help us to facilitate each other’s healing, sustenance and growth. Guide us to encourage the best in each other. Often it is a small effort, a caring word, a smile, or a small kindness, that channels Your mercy with new life to another person.

Let us accept each opportunity as need arises, knowing that You command us: “Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, and plead for the widow. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” [Isaiah 1:17-18] Thank You for this mercy that bestows great blessing through our meager efforts and prayers.

I am sorry for what you are going through. It has been thirteen years now and none of your family will have anything to do with you? Out of curiosity are we talking about three or four people or twenty or thirty people? The reason I ask is if a few people won’t speak to you that could mean one thing however if dozens won’t speak to you then perhaps you did something or many things that put off so many people? Not trying to blame you just trying to clarify in order to help.

Something else to consider that it may not be a grudge but just busy lives. I have children of my own and a busy life and imagine if a cousin of mine contacted me that I hadn’t seen in thirteen years…perhaps I might talk to them but suddenly embracing them in my life after so many years might take time.

Also you asked about forgiveness. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. You can forgive someone but that does not obligate you to have a relationship with them.

You sound as if you are searching and that you may be lonely. Please seek to give of yourself in your parish, mission outreach, or other place where you can give your talents. In sharing your talents and giving of yourself you will may find some peace. Jesus loves you very much! He has given you gifts to share with this world. Your family may not embrace you at this time, seek love elsewhere. You are wanted and you are needed. Please take care as best as you can.

Hello Everyone,

Thank you all who responded. I didn’t think God nor the Catholic church changed the teachings on forgiveness, but I figured I better ask. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted this because I can’t even write about it without being over come by grief. But yesterday I woke up that way and it never stopped. So I saw no harm in writing about it. I was better today, but just thinking of all this brings the grief back. I do realize that 12 to 13 years is too long to hope for any reconciliation. And that just makes me all the worse.

But let me answer some of your questions since you were kind enough to respond. At this time I’m 60 but soon I’ll be 61. I have numerous medical problems so I’m almost a shut-in. I don’t belong to any churches, and since I no longer own a car I may never belong to anything again. I am also totally poor.

I’m not angry at any of them, so Trishie, if I ever sent them an email saying the things you suggested, that would just give them a new reason to be angry at me. They already see me as the dirt of mankind.

What made this all so strange is that while my Mother was alive we were always invited to all family affairs and gatherings. When she died all that abruptly ended. I tried calling some of the ones we were close to, and I emailed some of the others. I received either nothing back, or something very hurtful that wasn’t even true. When my Mother died I went into a pathological state of grief. I expected a phone call or a holiday dinner invitation, but they never came. That made me go further into the grief and depression that is now my life. 13 years ago I had 2 Uncles and they called me once or twice a year. They are both gone now. Due to a lack of communication I didn’t know 1 of those Uncles died until after he was buried, so this is a new reason some don’t like me. Luckily I found out when my last Uncle died so I was at his wake. I wasn’t received well that night. No one said anything, but looks can say a lot.

I tried to write up more, but I feel like I’m talking bad about people, which is a sin. They all believe they are right and I’m wrong. In the last 10 years I have virtually turned my life around. As much as I can. I was sickly as a child and it’s worse now. I’ve tried calling some and emailing others, all to no avail. Since they all consider themselves as Godly people I have had to conclude that God wants this to happen.

I live in one of the disaster zones created by super storm Sandy. I’ve believed in God almost my whole life. I talk to God everyday. But ever since that storm I talk about God to others every chance I get. I don’t know when I’ll die, and I probably won’t be buried. But if anyone at all remembers me, I want to be remembered as a man who loved God. Even though I’m as imperfect as they come. I am trying to obey God as much as I can. Because that is all I have left.

Thank you for reading this and answering it.

God Bless you all,

John

I have nothing to offer but my sympathy, John. Your story touched my heart. I am so sorry for your sufferings and loneliness. I am glad you reached out to others here on CAF. There are a lot of great people here who will encourage you and pray for you. God bless you, John.

Prayers for you, John.

Thank you everyone. I didn’t come back here until today because the depression broke. Since there’s nothing I can do about this, once the sadness stops, I have to stop thinking or writing about it.

Thank you to all who prayed for me.

John

I’m saddened by your experience, John.
and impressed by your courage in turning your life around.
It seems that you have tried your best to reach out to family members, so that I believe that no blame is yours before God.
It’s sad that people will categorize others and never consider that the person is so much more than they think. Already, we know that of you. And God knows.
I hope that you find friendships that are like family to you.
Kind wishes and prayers,
Trishie

Hi Trishie,

Thank you very much for your kind words and thoughts.

Since we know that with God all things are possible, there is some chance.

I just noticed you’re in Australia. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how we can meet people from all over the world, using this wondrous thing called the Internet. I’m in NY state, and in 1 of the disaster areas created by last year’s super storm Sandy. My building went without heat or power for 7 weeks. In that time I met 2 women close to my age who live on the other side. I never would have met them if the storm didn’t happen. The amazing thing was they invited me to go there for dinner on Christmas Eve, which I did. That was the 1st time I was invited anywhere for a holiday in 11 years. Unfortunately, they had to leave this building because their side took more damage than my side. But it was still a minor miracle even for just 1 night. I thanked God, and them, and I was very grateful. So I do have hope.

John

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