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Newcomer question regarding Forgiveness Sunday


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#1 Susanna

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:14 PM

Hello,

I used to post here a few years ago, but have not done so in some time. Just personally, I find that Orthodox groups offer more of a temptation (for me) rather than benefit, so although I do occasionally read Monachos, I don't post. I rejoined because I have a question that someone here might be able to offer some help/advice/reading suggestions for.

Forgiveness Sunday is this week, I've always felt like I recieved great spiritual help from this day. Then, my life changed very drastically in the past year. There is someone who I as very close with (I thought), and our relationship has greatly changed. I know I must ask this person's forgiveness, but I honestly feel no compulsion to do so. I know, if I cannot forgive, I will neither be forgiven. I think part of my dilemma and confusion is this; even if I could ask forgiveness with an open heart, I still don't want to have future contact with this person. It is just too painful. I don't feel hate for this person, only terrible hurt and disappointment and a desire to stay away from them.

I will speak with my priest before Sunday, but I guess I just wondered if anyone can suggest any readings that might offer some help?

Thanks

#2 Susanna

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 01:54 AM

Sorry, but I can't find any editing feature, and the typos are driving me crazy, but it seems they're here to stay! What I meant to say was "someone I was very close with."

#3 Jason H.

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:25 AM

Susanna,

I don't know your personal situation but I can only tell you that I too have had this problem with forgiving someone who hurt me physically and emotionally. For so long I refused to even think about the possibility of offering him forgiveness. Or let alone actually telling it to him. In my eyes he didn't deserve it for what trauma he put me through.

Yet through the guidance of my Priest I was able to learn that by telling the person I forgive them, I was unleashing all the pain, suffering, and memories that were attached to that individual and because of it, my act of forgiving him, I was able then to know it was left up to God's Will. I was left burden free of the torment that it caused me.

I hope that this may help you in some way.

-Ignatios (Jason)

#4 Christina M.

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 12:48 PM

Dear Susanna,
Here are some helpful readings you might be interested in:
http://www.monachos....t/whats-new/706
http://www.monachos....t/whats-new/707

I hope everything works out well for you!

In Christ,
Christina

#5 Nina

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 05:40 PM

I do not know where I have read it but it is acceptable to forgive the person and still maintain distance since contact can bring temptation. As Fathers say peace of the soul has to be our primary goal (by forgiveness we reach it and also by avoiding future contact we do not provoke ourselves).

#6 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 09:04 PM

Remember that forgiveness is chiefly a condition of the heart, and we seek to forgive not to create some worldly relationship (which may in any case be impossible, and may be unhealthy), but to unburden the heart of an enslavement that is always the result of division from our neighbour.

We seek to forgive not to create a new worldly relationship, but to open our heart to God. For without forgiveness, we cannot be like God. Nor can we receive Him. As St John says:

"As it is not to be imagined that the fornicator and the blasphemer can partake of the sacred Table, so it is impossible that he who has an enemy, and bears malice, can enjoy Holy Communion. […] I forewarn, and testify, and proclaim this with a voice that all may hear! ‘Let no one who has an enemy draw near the sacred Table, or receive the Lord’s Body! Let no one who draws near have an enemy! Do you have an enemy? Do not approach! Do you wish to draw near? Be reconciled, and then draw near, and only then touch the Holy Gifts!’"

#7 Susanna

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:44 AM

Thank you all for your valuable replies. Without going into too much detail, I can say that this person is not my enemy, rather someone who I had a spiritual relationship with, and I think we each very much misunderstood the other. This person has a family estrangement that really mirrors the problems that *we* have, so it's a very sad and complicated situation. But, as I said this person is not an enemy, just someone who failed me, and I probably failed her in some way as well. The quotation from St. John was very enlightening. And on a more base note, I suppose not really "liking" someone is not the same as have an enemy, which of course, spiritually detrimental.

#8 Andrew Prather

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 05:10 AM

I found this very helpful:

http://www.monastery...o_not_react.pdf

#9 Angie

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 05:50 AM

I do not know where I have read it but it is acceptable to forgive the person and still maintain distance since contact can bring temptation. As Fathers say peace of the soul has to be our primary goal (by forgiveness we reach it and also by avoiding future contact we do not provoke ourselves).


Hi Nina,

Hope you are well. :)

This really says it very simply, and I would love it if you do find out which spiritual father says this, to let us know. I do like this quote, it really sums it all up.

#10 Susanna

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 02:11 AM

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I spoke to our priest, who knows the situation very well, and his perspective was a great help. And thanks to Nina, that very simple advice *did* exactly sum things up for me.

#11 Angie

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:38 AM

I do not know where I have read it but it is acceptable to forgive the person and still maintain distance since contact can bring temptation. As Fathers say peace of the soul has to be our primary goal (by forgiveness we reach it and also by avoiding future contact we do not provoke ourselves).


I am going to print this, and put it somewere were I can see it, as it is very hard sometimes when different people have different advice, and yet you want to explain things a little, but you cant find the right words to say to them. They think they are doing the right thing, but in reality they are making it worse as they tend to judge you.

But if you have something as above, with just a few words and straight to the point, people might just leave it alone, and focus on their problems instead of others.

Thanks Nina, and if you find out which spiritual father said this, it will be even better.

#12 Nina

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:28 PM

Nina, and if you find out which spiritual father said this, it will be even better.


Ok Angela. That advise is definitely not from me. I will keep my eyes opened about it. However (for the moment) my previous SF told me also this advise. He is Father Theologos, the monk-missionary in Congo, about whom I posted a couple of days ago the link in another thread. He said this advise because I was struggling when I was a teen with someone to whom I was very respectful and loving. She was a friend of my mother and each time I would run into her she would just say very offensive things as a response to my hello-s; and honestly I could not tolerate verbal abuse each time I saw her because she was also a neighbor and I would run into her very often. So I cried and asked my spiritual father and he advised me so because he knew I never did something wrong to this woman.

Now I am older and I deal with it differently I guess, because last summer I saw her at the wedding of my brother and she managed to throw red wine on my evening dress (my husband could not beleive his eyes when he saw what she did because he was by my side at that moment! lol) and I did not mind because the dress was red and I had extra evening dresses, :) and also now I can be nice and greet her (which I did as I especially went to their table for greeting her and her family) and still maintain distance. I can forgive her but can't buy a new dress each time I run into her. lol

I heard today the talk of Father Irenei on forgiveness, which Christina M. posted in another thread. It was amazing. Esp the second half of the talk was very enlightening in relation to this thread. He spoke about forgiveness as a type of askesis (ascetic labor/exercise) and it was very interesting to learn that forgiveness can also be a tool for acquiring more humility. It is so true and I highly recommend this podcast thanks to Christina who posted it and of course to Father Irenei who prepared it so beautifully. I listened to this talk today about 6 times (well I had plenty of time because I can not go to church for 40 days and my husband is working this weekend), and I do not usually listen to talks more than 1-2 times in the same day.

http://ancientfaith....hall_we_forgive

#13 Angie

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:02 AM

Thanks Nina for this link, I will listen to it today. Maybe I should wear red next time, or ask for white wine, instead of red! :)

#14 Nina

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:10 PM

This really says it very simply, and I would love it if you do find out which spiritual father says this, to let us know. I do like this quote, it really sums it all up.


Abba Agathon said: "Even if someone is extremely dear to me, but I know that he leads me into faults, I cut him loose from myself."

An Elder said: "Do not live in any place where you see people feeling envy towards you; otherwise you will not make progress."

A brother asked an Elder: "If my brother scandalizes me, do you want me to make a prostration to him?" The Elder answered: "Make a prostration, but cut yourself off from him; for we have Abba Arsenios, who said: 'Have love for all men, but keep distance from all men.'"

Abba Isaiah said: "If you wish to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and to crucify your old man with Him, you should cut off those who bring you down from the Cross; and you should prepare yourself to endure abasement and still the hearts of those who provoke you."

p. 196 -198 - The Evergetinos I

There are several other sayings of the same message.

#15 Mediterranean

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:37 PM

To forgive someone means that we want to see him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
If you do not want to see a some person in the Kingdom then it means that we have not forgiven him.

#16 Angie

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:47 AM

Thanks Nina, these quotes are so meaningful.

#17 Donna Rail

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:49 AM

I, too, have trouble forgiving. It is one thing for which I'm praying to remedy, this Lent. (I didn't get to go to Forgiveness Vespers- wish I had.)

#18 Paul Cowan

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 01:46 AM

To forgive someone means that we want to see him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
If you do not want to see a some person in the Kingdom then it means that we have not forgiven him.


This can be very presumptuous. Whose to say "I" am going to heaven in the first place?

#19 Nina

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 03:07 AM

To forgive someone means that we want to see him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
If you do not want to see a some person in the Kingdom then it means that we have not forgiven him.


Yes, dear, you are right. What you say goes along also with what Father Irenei said here.

The quotes are just in cases (since there are some cases) when we can forgive and would like to avoid placing ourselves in a tempting situation. And that's ok since in Heaven :) we can not provoke each other. :)




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