Today, I have been reflecting on the forgiveness process that I have gone through concerning my father, and how it applies to others in my life. My father was very angry, ragefull at times and he physically abused me when I was growing up. My process of forgiveness included: denial, then anger and blaming, acceptance and forgiveness and finally the recognition that there was nothing to forgive.
Originally, I simply denied that there was anything wrong with the way I was raised, that the beatings weren’t that bad and that I deserved them I was indeed a difficult child. Later in my life I recognized that I was angry and that no-one should be treated that way, regardless of how difficult they are. I spoke of my anger openly, but not to him, since I did not think it would do any good and would probably hurt him, which he did not need.
I then realized that I had similar anger and rage to his. I also realized that he got that way because of the way he was treated and that “there but for the grace of God”, went I. At that point I did write him a letter expressing my past anger, present understanding, acceptance and forgiveness.
Finally, I began to experience the pure, selfless love that I associate with God. I began to live that love. During my last visit to my father, before he died, I realized that I felt that love for him and that within that love there was nothing to forgive. I find the same to be true of all people.