How to forgive?


We are created to love others the way God loves us. Therefore, we can never have true peace until we love our enemies and forgive them. Furthermore, we can never have peace in our heart if we hate, reject or condemn any person.*** *** When we betrayed God and rejected His friendship He did not take revenge, condemn us, give up on us or hold resentment against us. On the contrary, because of His love for us, He wanted to save our soul from death. He therefore, compensated for our sins (that we committed against him), forgave us, and put His life back in us by sacrificing His own. In other words, He (the victim) compensated for our crimes (we committed against Him) by His own life. In doing this He showed us that to truly love and forgive, is not only to give up resentment or claim we have against our offenders, but also to compensate for their wrongdoings (against us). We can compensate for the wrong doings of our offenders by helping them to overcome their weaknesses by our prayers and acts of sacrificial love towards them. Sacrifice empties our heart of selfishness. This makes our heart open to accepting God’s love for them. In prayer we become intimate with God. This allows God to enter our heart and purify our spirit. When we make sacrifice on behalf of others and pray for them, we accept God’s help on their behalf. We can also accept God’s help on behalf of others, when our love for them makes us one with them.


I’m in a situation where a relative of mine has a sado-masochistic personality. That person has a “victim” mentality, which is the self-punishing part of the personality which loves to punish itself.

For example, this person has 50 years and 100 things against them, but picks only the slightest of these and accuses me of holding a grudge against them. That makes this person a martyr of sorts, on the one hand. And, it punishes me (the sadism part of this person’s personality) for being upset over what some might say is a trivial matter.

I have explicitly ended our relationship, even though we are relatives, close at that.

On the EWTN Mass on 8/13/09, Fr. Mark Mary spoke about this forgiveness 7 times 70, etc. but nevertheless AGAIN said that we don’t have to be a “doormat” for somebody.

This opinion has been expressed by Fr. Mark, Fr. Pacwa, Mother Angelica, and Fr. Groeschel.

BUT, this whole matter of not being a “doormat” has been poorly homilized on EWTN. And the fact is, that’s the situation many of us are in, when confronted by this whole forgiveness issue.

What difference does it make if I forgive my relative, if they never change and simply take my forgiveness of them as opening the door to the next insult? For that is exactly what almost happened recently, and I did not fall for it.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the sort of person who, in fact, Fr. Groeschel advised that we simply have to ignore. Pray for? yes, but otherwise ignore.

Even after the resurrection, Jesus does not go running out to greet St. Peter (ala the father of the prodigal son who goes running out to greet him). No, Jesus rather makes Peter twist in the wind for while, by making him answer three times, Do you love me?

Oh yes, “seven times seventy” is the theory, but Jesus twisting Peter in the wind is the reality. And, Jesus DOES this by challenging Peter if he’s really changed his life.

Don’t we have the right to ask as much? ever? And, what if they answer, “no”? Then what?

Maybe we CAN forgive “seven times seventy” but that also doesn’t mean that things aren’t changed.


I am disappointed that there seems to be so little interest in this thread, for such an important topic that, if nothing else, occupies a central position and theme in the Lord’s Prayer.

I continue my readings on the Jewish Talmud (“study”). One of the rabbis mentioned that the Jewish Day of Atonement is a day [obviously] for making atonement, with prayer and sacrifice to God for sins that are committed against God. Now, of course, every sin is against God, because every law / command comes from God.

Anyway, the Jewish practice is that a Jew is supposed to be reconciled with enemies BEFORE the Day of Atonement – Kind of like what Jesus said – if you bring a gift to the altar but your brother has something against you, go and make peace with your brother and then come back to finish the worship at the altar. Same idea.

The rabbis seized on the dilemma about such a neighbor who would not talk to you, much less reconcile with you. The rabbis advice was, to try to make peace with your “brother” or “neighbor” three times. If unsuccessful, then your duty is discharged. There is only so much you can do.

That’s not all the relevant advice in the Talmud. Another set of advice has to do with helping your neighbor if he is in trouble. You should go and help such a neighbor, and quietly present yourself to him, in an attempt to make peace. It’s a lot like the previous paragraph, but there’s the additional drama that a neighbor in need might see you in different light if you genuinely try to help him.


An aside: the Jews are “the people of the book” who are vaguely referred to in paragraph 108. As it says there, we are NOT people of the book.

This is illustrated in this topic. The Jewish approach is to study the commands in the Bible and adapt every aspect of their life to them. Not a bad idea, at all, I think.

Catholics, on the other hand, as is typical of Christians in general, take a more theological approach, and argue good behavior in a more philosophical way (while not abandoning the Bible, to be sure). For example, forgiveness might be illustrated in the case of the woman caught in adultery – on a more theological, intuitive level, and definitely not on a literal argument about what punishment the woman deserved.


Crumpy, I will respond to your post, I agree with you that more attention should be focused on this subject.
Forgiving someone is a huge challenge at the best of times, especially when you are treated as a “Doormat” of sorts.
Forgiving someone can be a simple process. A few years ago my ex-wife and I parted company. Several factors played a part in our separation. Deception was the main cause of the breakdown. Both she and I failed to communicate circumstances that affected us in our marriage and because of these indiscretions against each other, we felt parting was the best and only way to deal with the situation.
When I learned of the indiscretion she had perpetrated against me for so many years which started prior to our marriage, which ultimately affected our marriage. And upon learning the truth, I was devastated. Feelings of Anger, Hurt, Frustration,realization, came to the forfront of my emotions. I held onto these emotions for several years, to the point I wouldn’t even acknowledge her in conversation with a group. After soul-searching for many months and hearing her asking for forgiveness on numerous ocassions. I thought to myself, “Who do I think I am?” I’m not perfect therefore I should grant her forgiveness as I have been forgiven by her many times before for my indiscretions.
Crumpy, just because I forgive her and I am at peace with myself in regards to this issue, I will not allow myself to be put in that situation again. What I am saying is, you can forgive anyone who has slighted you, but that does not mean you have to deal with them.
As Fr. Mark Mary and Fr. Pacwa, Mother Angelica, Fr. Groeschel advised, there is only so much you can do. As long as you feel and are satisfied in your giving of forgiveness, that is all that should matter. Let those who have wronged you and have received your forgiveness, come to you for further contact.


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