I am really ticked off that so many experts, shrinks, religious leaders, and medical doctors say that if you've been wronged, regardless of how severely, you must forgive the person who wronged you or you are considered a bad person who will never heal.
I think that is some of the stupidest tripe I have ever heard expressed.
First of all, if unconditional forgiveness itself does not allow for judgment, how is it fair that other people can judge your virtue simply because you won't find it in your heart to forgive somebody? (Throw that at the next person who tries to judge you for not forgiving someone).
Secondly, forgiveness focuses on the perpetrator. A victim should not be fixated. It freezes them and prevents them from getting on with their life.
I want to tell you a story about someone who I have never forgiven. This person - who shall remain nameless to protect their identity - was someone who I trusted to arrange something for me. I put my mind, body, soul and savings into this experience, and this person did not take the responsibility to make sure serious information was checked. And because of that, everything I put in was blown.
They ruined something that meant a tremendous deal to me. And, to top everything off, this person still wanted compensation. I thought it would have been more professional and classy to say, "Since you did everything I asked you to do and I blew it, don't pay me." But instead, they sent me a bill. After some period of time, I finally told them, "The truth is I don't, can't and won't forgive you. This was your responsibility and you blew it. You've been compensated, and I'm left here staring at my fingernails."
As you can see, I expressed no forgiveness, and yet, I think it was still extremely healthy. I get very frustrated hearing how many of you go through tragic situations or horrible things and then get pressured by people to forgive the person who wronged you. The truth is, forgiving may be the worst thing you can do.
Over the three decades I've been on the air, it has been horrifying to hear so many people say that they've been pressured to forgive a perpetrator. I've listened to countless stories about families who have turned their backs on victims of crimes like sexual abuse because the victims wouldn't keep their mouths shut, forgive their attacker, let things go, and get on with life. There have been many women who have called in saying that they stood up to an abusive husband only to be cut off by their children because they wouldn't forgive their abuser.
That's what makes a lot of people say, "I forgive you" - family members telling them that if they don't forgive, there will be hell to pay. Out of fear of being banished or messing up their family, many victims keep their hurt on the inside. However, this becomes very toxic because they don't and shouldn't actually forgive their abusers.
I say don't give in to this pressure. Most of the time, everyone in the family simply wants there to be forgiveness because it will make family functions seem normal. But there are things that are unforgivable.
Another thing that infuriates me is when people say victims are supposed to forgive as a gift to their offender. In my opinion, this takes responsibility away from the offender, and a lot of times, the forgiveness serves as a benefit to the offender. I've seen sick things like people put on trial for molesting, torturing and killing children, and the parents say, "I forgive him." I just want to take those parents and slap them up one side and down the other. Why? Because they are betraying their children, that's why. They may be making themselves feel better and look really good, but they are betraying their children. I find that despicable.
After the Columbine High School shootings, mourners put flags on a hill with the names of the children who were murdered. And beside them, somebody decided to put up flags for each of the psycho-creeps who shot them because they died too. I went on the air that day stating that it was a desecration because showing compassion for evil is showing evil to the innocent. That was one of the most disgusting displays of phony righteousness I have ever seen. The parents who had lost their kids had to deal with flags for those creeps placed on the same soil as the ones for their murdered children.
You should not forgive someone until they have earned the potential for forgiveness. How do they earn it? They need to follow the four "R's":
1) Responsibility -- The perpetrator needs to take complete and absolute responsibility for what they've done. They should not blame it on anyone else, their childhood, bullying, or moon spots. If it was their own decision, they must take full responsibility for having made that decision without justification or excuses.
2) Remorse -- The perpetrator must be truly remorseful. Most people feel bad because they were caught or had to suffer consequences, however, that's not true remorse. The only problem with this step is that no other human being can tell for certain if another is truly remorseful. People can say it, but we don't really know what's in their hearts.
3) Repair -- The perpetrator must do whatever it takes to repair the damage. Some damage cannot be repaired. I remember reading a story about a driver who plowed into a group of young people riding their bicycles. One biker, who was a superior human being and an athlete, had his arms, legs, and just about every rib broken, and his brain would never be the same again. People wanted the driver to be forgiven after creating a lifetime of torture for this young man. To that, I say, "No!"
4) Repetition -- The perpetrator must take whatever steps needed so that this action is never repeated.
A lot of you folks who simply forgive your drinking or philandering spouse over and over again only give them permission to repeat their behavior. Don't be weak. Follow the four R's.
Everybody who has been hurt has to go through a grieving and healing process. It often takes a long time. No one can tell you how to do it or how fast to go. If someone is obsessing over you not forgiving someone, tell them to leave you alone.
And if someone continues to lay judgment on you because you refuse to forgive what you consider an unforgivable act, send them to me. There are things that are unforgivable.