OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2011, 20:11

Forgiveness doesn't always include forgetting or complete trust on our part - nor does it have to include asking that consequences not be imposed. It simply means, at the most basic level, a willingness to give up the natural tendency to condemn and to insist on personal retribution. Full, Godly forgiveness is described in those terms (forgetting and agreeing not to impose deserved penalties), but God is the only one who really can see into someone's heart and make that determination correctly. We are to strive for the ability to understand and apply full, Godlike forgiveness wherever it is proper, but . . .

There are situations where we simply can't forget or completely trust - like someone who has sexually abused children. There's no way I would advocate anything that would result in leaving children alone with that person, even if I was 100% convinced the person had repented, and even if I really did forgive the person. You don't drop off an alcholic in a bar, even if that alcoholic was completely sincere in his or her commitment to abstain. I also would not advocate the person be freed from having to serve a standard (even if minimal) jail sentence for those acts, even with sincere repentance and my forgiveness. Some things actually do require imposed consequences, imo.

Too often we conflate these things and end up thinking we can't forgive. Forgiveness is hard enough; throwing in totally unrealistic and even destructive elements into the mix can make it impossible.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SilentDawning
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by SilentDawning » 08 May 2011, 20:23

Ray -- where do you come out on the Love issue. MnG argues that it's necessary to achieving full peace and its part of our progression to become like God -- having his motivations for the things we do. Personally, I'm happy just to go with some humility and equity for the person and let God do the loving once my peace is back in place again - particularly if the person is a loaded gun, as I described earlier.

Just curious. I do think MnG's argument has merit. But I'm concerned I'll never get there -- at least, not from where I'm at, at the moment. For example, I have no desire to work alongside some of the people who have hurt me (in a non-criminal way) over the years -- I want to keep my distance and leave them alone.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 May 2011, 20:35

I believe we should strive to love those who have hurt us, but I also believe that is a very different thing than forgetting, not advocating proper punishment, etc. There are people in my ward and my stake and my job and in my extended family, for example, whom I really do love - but I don't want to spend very much time with them. Our personalities simply are such that, even though I really do love them, I don't really like them all that much as "friends" or "buddies". That is true especially of those whose actions are destructive, imo - which means that even if I can handle it, there's no way I'm exposing my wife and children to it, especially if it's just to prove that I really do love them.

Again, I think we conflate too many things too often and make things much harder than they have to be. Idealism is fine (great, in fact, in theory) - but it really is only a theory, since none of us actually live in an ideal situation. It's OK to modify idealism to strike a good balance with realism, as long as we never give up on the concept of the ideal and never stop looking for ways to get closer to it in whatever ways are possible.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 08 May 2011, 20:47

Regarding TRUST:

I think we misunderstand the relationship between trust and forgiveness. Forgiving someone doesn't mean giving them trust. To trust someone simply because you've forgiven them would be dishonest and forgiveness, above all, has to be rooted in honesty.

Forgiveness isn't a denial of the offense - that would be an act of weakness. Forgiveness is an honest recognition of the offense with all the pain, hurt, betrayal, and mistrust that accompanies it. That's why true forgiveness is an act of strength - because we see the reality of our offender's imperfections and we choose to extend mercy anyway.

Because we extend this mercy from a perspective of honesty, we are going to set boundaries that protect ourselves and the offender such that both parties can begin to work toward renewed trust. That doesn't happen in a day. And most relationships have parameters of trust specific to the relationship - in other words, I trust my husband and my parents more than I trust my neighbor. I trust my neighbor more than I trust the friendly checkout girl at the local grocery. That's natural, we don't have time to develop all relationships to the same degree so find comfortable parameters for the relationships in your life and go from there.

As a real life example - my father-in-law has drug and alcohol issues. We visit him, we go out to dinner, we talk to him on the phone, we tell him we love him, but I'd never leave my kids in his care. It's beyond his capacity to be responsible and I consider it an act of love and mercy not to put him in the position of failing to meet my expectations. (Not to mention the fact that I don't want my children to be subject to the drama.) It's because I love him that I trust him only to the degree that he is trustworthy. That allows us to have a positive relationship.

What it boils down to is simply this - you don't automatically grant complete trust to everyone pending a negative experience. You grant trust incrementally as you accrue positive experiences. And when you reach the limits of a person's trustworthiness, you (in your own mind - they don't need to know) set boundaries.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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PiperAlpha
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by PiperAlpha » 09 May 2011, 10:17

That's one of the best sermons on forgiveness and trust I've ever heard. Thank you, Mercyngrace.

How then, do we forgive (as we are commanded to do) when we are so hurt that we don't want to...and that is just being honest?
mercyngrace wrote:Because we extend this mercy from a perspective of honesty, we are going to set boundaries that protect ourselves and the offender such that both parties can begin to work toward renewed trust.
What if I don't want to build a renewed trust anymore for fear of being hurt again?
“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”
Elder Ronald E. Poelman, General Conference Oct 1984

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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 09 May 2011, 10:53

You have to let go of fear, PiperAlpha. If you really believe that this life is fleeting, there's not a whole lot worth fearing anyway.

Remember, Paul taught:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
There's an interesting scene in the final installation of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle. The dwarves who had passed through a stable door, the portal to the next life (Aslan's country - heaven) were oblivious to the glorious world around them. In spite of being seated at a table laden with delicacies and rich foods of every kind, decorated with crystalware and the finest china, they believed they were huddled in the dark, musty, filth of a small stable. They simply could not see things as they actually were. When Lucy tries to give them food, they are convinced she is shoving manure at them. Of them, Lewis writes "They were so afraid of being taken in that they could not be taken out."

Living in fear is like that. It's smelling dung instead of the minted lamb and tasting stagnant water where fine wine is poured.

We can get to the point where we don't fear because we realize that people who sin against us are doing so because they can't see the feast. They are the pitiful creatures trapped, if only in their own minds, in the small world of the sullied stable. Knowing this, has helped me to feel compassion for those who offend me instead of pain considering my own suffering at their hands.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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PiperAlpha
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by PiperAlpha » 09 May 2011, 11:03

or I'm the poor creature that can't see the food. :think: It is hard when I'm in pain, to see clearly.
“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”
Elder Ronald E. Poelman, General Conference Oct 1984

AmyJ
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by AmyJ » 22 Feb 2018, 09:27

Katzpur wrote:
03 May 2011, 17:34
Ray Degraw wrote:
"Thou hast the words of eternal life. Where else should I go?" (or whatever the exact quote is)

"Pure Mormonism" is beautiful. I totally embrace it. It's the policies and the politics that drive me up a wall. And when I'm criticized for criticizing the policies and the politics, I just want to just give up and throw in the towel. But then I think, "Where else should I go?" There isn't anywhere else for me.
I am working on this. I am more comfortable with LDS theology then I am with the theology of other religions. It's the people creating judgements, policies and politics that drive me nuts. I am trying to find people in my area that don't drive me nuts to associate with in church. From what association I have had with people outside the church, it is even more frustrating to establish connections to them.

I go nowhere else because a) I don't know where else I could go that would be "trading up" , b) I am not interested in spending the resources (including emotional family currency) to find another place right now, c) I don't believe that with my current mindset and understanding/developmental phase, that I am qualified to make that type of decision now. I feel that I lost a lot of a theological foundation when I realized how little I really knew, and am striving to progress to the point where I would be out of shock (I am sure there is a better word out there) enough to be qualified to make that decision (if I ever decide I need to leave).

I have heard it said more than once that knowing how little you actually know about something is the beginning of wisdom in that current field - so I am doing what I can to set up my environment for success and trusting the process (slightly).

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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by AmyJ » 22 Feb 2018, 12:20

SilentDawning wrote:
08 May 2011, 18:18
1. Why include the love component. Why not just do the humility train of thought and forgive at that point. Why is the whole love component necessary, in your opinion?

2. Do you think it's possible to get the forgiveness from a different sources than humility and love? For example, I'm reading The Beginner's Guide to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path. The author quotes the Dalai Lama who observed:
Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness to them....Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all.
Applying this to forgiveness, if you think about someone who has wronged you, and realize their actions were simply their version of a pursuit of happiness, and that you got hurt in the way, doesn't that help one forgive, and see that we are all simply trying to achieive happiness? And that at times, we collide with each other?

I reminds me of a comment my Dad made once. We were in business together, and someone kept calling us for sales reasons. I said I was getting a little disturbed at the interruptions, and my Dad said "He's just trying to earn a living". Same principle -- when someone wrongs you "they think they are simply making their lives better".

When I think of a woman who distributed this very nasty note to the entire Ward council about me personally (which hurt me deeply) years ago, if you look at her actions as simply a quest for trying to do what she felt would bring her the most happiness (rightly or wrongly) it doesn't seem as personal, and paves the way to forgiveness....

I'm sure there are other sources, and I would be open to listening to them. I so detest having grudges anymore.
When reading this email chain it seems that the most important part is setting both the offendee and offender an as equal footing as possible. M&G stated it in terms of being as equal a sinner as the other person. The Dalai Lama quote seems to state that others are elevated to the point of the person in the eyes of the person "equal in their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it".

When equality is achieved, empathy usually tags along (though sometimes it gets transformed into charity I think).

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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by AmyJ » 22 Feb 2018, 12:33

SilentDawning wrote:
08 May 2011, 19:56
Thanks. I think it would be a lot easier just to quit at the humility or "equality of rights to pursue happiness" approach suggested by Buddhism. In fact, for me, to simply get to this phase would be an achievement. Perhaps I need to let that much settle on me for a while until I'm ready to actually love the person.

Also, what about self-protection and trust? This is tricky, because claiming the right to no longer trust can feed the grudge in a back-door kind of way. However, there can be good reasons for never trusting the person again in this life. And then, we have the need to protect oneself from such things as depression or mental hardship once an unrepentent person has shown the capacity to inflict such suffering on us. Once you get your thoughts together on trust, I'd love to hear what you think about its relationship to forgiveness.
I think that both can co-exist.

I love my toddler to pieces - but I don't trust her to act differently than she is developmentally capable of doing so. I, as her parent, also require that she continues to strive to the developmental limits regularly. I don't condone her acting out - I will try to set up an environment where she does not have to act out - and I will temper consequences to reflect that (the ones I can impose). However, neither do I go out of my way to encourage this behavior of hers, nor do I suspend ALL consequences of acting out.

The grudge feeding comes in when we impose a "should" into the equation. "That person should know better, so I can't trust them". The "should" de-equalizes the standing of both people and goes back into unrealistic expectations.

For me, the acting definition I have is "Forgiveness means giving up my right to hurt you because you have hurt me." It means refusing to keep score while observing that there are developmental relapses in this area for some people. It means "suffering" or "allowing" certain circumstances to a certain extent.

For me, the acting (short answer) definition of trust is "A judgement call of a person's capabilities based on personal observations, developmental factors, and pertinent communication between individuals". I "trust" my husband more than I do my 8 year old daughter because he has covered more developmental ground, I have a longer time observing him, and he is a better communicator. But this means that I "trust" my daughter will not always tell me the truth, or communicate with me effectively, or make the best choices.

I will freely admit that in my current faith/identity transition I have replaced optimism with pragmatism for a lot of things.

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