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What if I insulted someone and can't make peace with him?


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#1 Nemanja

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:41 PM

I am quick on anger. It is a sin that I have a pretty serious problem with.
If I insult someone in my anger, I ask that person's forgiveness later - when I come to my senses. And I confess it.
However, I am concerned about situations which, in truth, happen to me rarely - maybe once in a few years or once in a few months in the worst case - but it does happen.
Traffic.
Two days ago, in a city 500 miles away from the city I live in, I had a minor traffic incident. Details are not important, the important thing is my non-Christian reaction to the provocation. I have shown the guy in another car "the finger" as a sign of ultimate disrespect. To make the matter worse, before I did it, I remembered the Lord's strict warnings, about anger and insults, from His Sermon on the Mountain. But I surrendered to my anger and did it anyway.
There is no way I can make peace with an unknown person like this. I will never see him again in this life, and even if I would see him somewhere, I would not be able to recognize him.
What can I do? Can this sin be forgiven?

#2 Phoebe K.

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

Hi, I am a catacumin and more from personal experience than knolage of tradition.

First I would sugest that confessing as you would in other incedences is the most productive way forward, in confessing before our Lord we can receive forgiveness from him. Personal forgiveness can happen if you meet again in this life, but if not we have eternity to find each other and sort such things out in the Grace of our lord, he will know the intention of your hart to seek forgiveness when you bring it to confession.

It is important however that you let yourself receive the Grace of forgiveness from Christ and move on, for our Lord knows our weaknesses and is Compassionate to us when we fall.

Your spiritual father will help you as much as you need in the proses of lurning to control your emotions, it is a long journey but in grace it is possible.

Phoebe

#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:55 PM

Something similar happened to me years ago. I was rude to someone I didn't know and wouldn't see again and so could not apologise. I confessed this to Fr Philotheos (an Athonite hieromonk I know who was visiting at the time). He said simply to pray for that person.

#4 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:19 PM

Take out a personal ad in a newspaper confessing your sin and asking the person to forgive you. Or if that's too old fashioned, post the notice online somewhere where many people will see it.

Better yet: Make a sign and put it in the window of your car for a week or more. Even if the person you insulted doesn't see it, many others will, and your example will make up for any harm you may have caused.

#5 Nemanja

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:03 PM

Take out a personal ad in a newspaper confessing your sin and asking the person to forgive you. Or if that's too old fashioned, post the notice online somewhere where many people will see it.

Better yet: Make a sign and put it in the window of your car for a week or more. Even if the person you insulted doesn't see it, many others will, and your example will make up for any harm you may have caused.

The incident happened in Florence, Italy. I found a few popular Facebook pages dedicated to Florence, used "Google Translate" to translate my appology to Italian, and posted it on those pages.

#6 Owen Jones

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:44 AM

On the one hand, contrition for even the smallest of sins is a good thing (IMHO). On the other hand, we cannot let things like this cause us to lose heart. To say that this is unforgivable is really to inflate oneself. The real issue with anger outbursts is to treat the underlying anger. And that actually takes honesty on a bit deeper level, practice of the virtues -- in this case patience with other people's imperfections perhaps? Perhaps there is another person with whom you are really angry and it spills over toward others? Are you beginning to get the impression that I am more a less an expert on the subject from personal experience?

#7 Alice

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 01:28 PM

The incident happened in Florence, Italy. I found a few popular Facebook pages dedicated to Florence, used "Google Translate" to translate my appology to Italian, and posted it on those pages.


Just a little note: Anyone who has ever drived in Italy or Greece must truly be a saint if they have never become upset or angry. People have asked me how I drive in Manhattan, and I will say that, despite the taxis and their maneuvers, it is like driving on a country road in comparison to the chaos in cities of Italy and Greece!!

This is a fact: a woman got so angry at my husband in Athens one day because of something or other, that she tried to run us off the road with her car, just like in the movies! I was praying, because truly, such road rage is demonic and I firmly believe that prayer can help it.

Another time, when I was 22 and newly married, and driving in a suburb of Athens, I was at a light, looked aside a second and by mistake, lightly tapped the car in front of me. The man got out of his car enraged, and told me to pull over to sort it out. (There was no damage at all)...He was cursing me out with every possible curse that exists, so I couldn't help but lie and say that I did not know Greek. I needed to diffuse the situation. My tactic worked. Was that a sin that I lied? I never thought of it as such. I was scared of him.

To Nemanja: Knowing the Italian and Greek mindset when driving, I would bet anything that the man you insulted took it as something which happens every day in his country and has probably forgotten about it. In a country like the U.S. and England, where sensibilities demand politeness more than in the Mediterranean countries, I would feel worse about it.

Don't beat yourself up about it. When you fall down (in sin), just get up and start anew. :-)

May God bless your sensitive soul!

In Christ,
Alice

#8 Owen Jones

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 02:51 PM

I would just add that, in general, when we have harmed someone needlessly or mistreated someone and are in no position to ever go to that person and make it right, as we grow spiritually it really begins to bother us. So what we have to do is turn that nagging guilt into something positive. Use it as a motivation, not to go out and obsessively try to do things to balance the scale, but to be better, so just be thankful to God for having a little bit of guilty feelings now and then. It shouldn't kill us. It's only when we get spiritually self-absorbed that such guilt drags us down. And although we should despise all of our sins, laughing at our faults is a good thing. The Devil loves it when we are super serious with ourselves.

#9 John S.

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:34 PM

Take out a personal ad in a newspaper confessing your sin and asking the person to forgive you. Or if that's too old fashioned, post the notice online somewhere where many people will see it.

Better yet: Make a sign and put it in the window of your car for a week or more. Even if the person you insulted doesn't see it, many others will, and your example will make up for any harm you may have caused.


Yow! I can’t bear to think of how many newspaper ads I myself would have to take out...

Confess it to your priest and do what he says. And OBVIOUSLY this sin can be forgiven. Keep in mind that we do not always have to confess our sins to the people we hurt. Sometimes we are not able, and sometimes it’s not even advisable. My old priest (now a bishop) told me that this is why we confess to priests: to get their direction and guidance on how best to repent.

#10 Nemanja

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:41 PM

Thank you all for your replies. And also, I apologize for not answering before. I have been extremely busy during the last week. As I said, the reason why I was so disturbed by this sin was that I was unable to make peace with the man, and if we understand strictly what the Lord said in the Gospel - this is a major problem. I remember an example from Lives of the Saints when a man had a conflict with a person who died (I think it was his spiritual father, so it was a much more serious relationship, to say the least), and no priest wanted to read the prayer of absolution to him, until he found a saint who "summoned" a soul of a deceased person to appear and forgive the person who was in spiritual trouble because of this. So, it can be very serious. I did not just start this thread for no reason. Yet, anywhere I turn I get the answer that I am being too strict in this issue, and I thank you for your help!

#11 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:30 AM

Just a little note: Anyone who has ever drived in Italy or Greece must truly be a saint if they have never become upset or angry. People have asked me how I drive in Manhattan, and I will say that, despite the taxis and their maneuvers, it is like driving on a country road in comparison to the chaos in cities of Italy and Greece!!

This is a fact: a woman got so angry at my husband in Athens one day because of something or other, that she tried to run us off the road with her car, just like in the movies! I was praying, because truly, such road rage is demonic and I firmly believe that prayer can help it.

In Christ,
Alice


Alice, I was once driving my car and my priest's wife was next to me. I had stopped at a red light, it changed to green, I took my foot off the brake and then, suddenly, this man decided that it would be a good time to race across the intersection. I nearly ran him over. I started swearing and then remembered who was sitting next to me. I swallowed and apologized. She started laughing and said her husband does exactly the same thing.

I think the Italians are the same.................una fatsa, una ratsa.

#12 Yolanda

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 12:32 PM

I have been reading the book Nonviolent Communication of a man named Marshall Rosenberg, it's a good way to show our amity.

And if we learn from Jesus Christ little by little, we have to struggle with various evils, no struggle, no virtue @_@...




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