Not a single person avoids messing up from time to time. Part of our human condition involves making mistakes. We forget, we get tired, we get angry, or we get distracted. No one seems to be exempt. Sometimes, we need to forgive other people. At other times, we need to forgive ourselves. Usually, self-forgiveness requires much more work than forgiving others. We underrate forgiveness. We underuse forgiveness. So, what exactly does “forgiveness” mean?
The Mayo Clinic states that forgiveness involves a decision to let go of bad thoughts. Not an easy thing to do! One process to promote forgiveness begins by recalling an un-forgiven event. As you recall the incident, imagine a door shutting between you and the memory. When the door closes, notice that you stand in a new, safe space. Once you visualize the door firmly closed, tell yourself, “I am a Child of God living in a safe space in the present moment. I release everything behind that closed door.”
“Forgiveness” does not mean denying the truth about a situation. It does not make negative behavior right. Alcohol Anonymous encourages us to reject unacceptable behavior without rejecting the individual. No matter how awful the circumstances, you gain greater health when you forgive. To make this personal, can you change your thoughts toward yourself or someone else? Can you reject wrong actions and still accept the individual — especially if you are the one being forgiven?
Whether you like Pope Francis or not, you must admit, the man speaks and lives in ways that change people’s hearts and minds. In doing so, Pope Frances changes the world.
Personally, I like this man of God. Although I am not Catholic, I appreciate his courage. Below, I share a few reasons for my deep respect for the pope.
- With his scientific background, this educated pope demonstrates intelligence and understanding about nature. On his recent trip to the United States, he urged followers to respect and abide by President Obama’s stand on climate change. When each of us arrived on earth, nature greeted us with visual canvases of splendor and symphonies of songs. Taking care of planet earth is nothing more than good stewardship. When we cap pollution, clean up our oceans, reduce smog, and seek alternative forms of energy, we honor God. Even if climate change has nothing to do with man’s behaviors, honoring the planet provides a concrete way to express thanks.
- Pope Francis encouraged the church to follow the teachings of Jesus by ministering to the poor, the sick, and the underprivileged. He did not recommend a checklist of required behaviors or conditions.
Anger can be a healthy reaction to inappropriate or unwanted events. Although I never condone hurting someone or breaking possessions during a fit of anger, I believe anger can be positive when expressed appropriately.
Alternatives for Expressing Anger
Offer the following alternatives to an angry child who hurts himself, others, or property. Say, It’s OK to be angry. I am not willing for you to hit but I am willing for you to show me how angry you are by _____. Explain a few methods such as the following ideas.
- Demonstrate anger with clay (kinesthetic).
- Draw a picture showing what the anger looks like (visual).
- Talk into a tape recorder to tell about the anger (auditory).
- Write and then destroy an anger letter (tactile).