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Meditations on forgiveness and reconciliation

You can't buy happiness

After writing here about the first anniversary of my being fired from a job, where I believe my boss manipulated me and treated me badly, I’ve been thinking about forgiveness. I said in that post that I’d started the process of forgiveness over this. But I haven’t finished it yet.

I believe firmly in forgiveness as the pathway to inner peace. I don’t know about you but I find peace to be crucial to my ability to access joy.

Peace and joy are occasional but regular themes on this blog. They don’t come naturally to me. I worry about the future and I ruminate over bad memories. Also, I deeply want to right wrongs. There’s a certain power in these traits when I channel them well, but they can also consume and paralyze me.

In my 20s I learned how to let go of unwanted thoughts and how to breathe deeply to let peace in. I learned to accept that in life something is always wrong, and while I should act on the wrongs I can fix I must otherwise lean into what’s good. I’ll always find some good when I look for it.

Ice cube croutons

Even now, in my 50s, I have to deliberately practice these things. They may never come naturally. Who knew a healthy inner life would take so much maintenance?

But when I haven’t forgiven, none of those practices work very well. Forgiveness cleans the slate.

I have suffered this wrong, absorbed this loss, and moved forward in my life. But I still harbor extremely negative feelings toward my former boss. Even though she was fired shortly after I was, I still wish for greater justice. So my forgiveness is not complete. I trust that it will be, in time.

I feel sure that I will avoid her in the future. She still works in my industry in this town; we could easily cross paths again. My forgiveness will not mean that I should behave as if nothing happened. Someone who has treated me this badly earns the judgment of “unsafe.” While it’s not impossible to regain my trust from there, it’s extremely difficult. It should be.

I’m behind on blogging again. Too much of my blogging time has gone to other priorities lately. For the rest of this week I’m going to repost my essays on forgiveness.

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10 thoughts on “Meditations on forgiveness and reconciliation

  1. Greg Clawson says:

    Jim, I also struggle with these same issues. A friend gave me this book and it really helped me:

    Biblical Foundations for Freedom: Destroying Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth.
    by Art Mathias

    Regards, Greg

  2. Forgiveness is not an “all or nothing” thing. Some will be completely excused, others condemned forever, and most dealt with on a “known basis”. If you can figure people out before they become needing of your forgiveness you’ll be a lot happier in life. It isn’t easy.

    • You’ll see as I rerun some old posts on this topic this week that I separate forgiveness from reconciliation. My goal is to forgive all who harm me — that is, absorb the loss, feel the pain, and cease to hold anything against the person. But I won’t reconcile with everyone who harms me, depending on the nature of the relationship, how much damage they did, and what their actions say about their character.

  3. analogphotobug says:

    I am working on some forgiveness issues from a bad boss also. He didn’t succeed in firing me (He was eventually fired for thinking that he could argue with a senior vice president), But he did block my professional development. Now they really need me for a special project, so I’m hanging out until all of medical problems are resolved, and then I’m seriously considering moving on…..

  4. DougD says:

    Looking forward to this week. There’s some people I’ve forgiven but haven’t reconciled and that’s fine if you never have to see each other again.

    I hope things are getting simpler for your family these days.

    • I think you’ve been around long enough that some of these posts will not be new to you, but who knows, maybe you’ll have forgotten about them and they’ll be as good as new to you!

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