I have been going through the book called Chicken Soup for the Soul for some time now. If I continue to go at the pace I have been going, we may never finish, so I have decided to pick up the pace a bit. Instead of reading one sub-chapter each time, I have decided to attack a few sub-chapters simultaneously. Today, look at pages 39-46, which contain sub-chapters 12-14.
Chapter 12 is titled “Forgiveness is a Choice,” and the author is Katherine Van Hook. This chapter starts out with a quote by Robert Muller…
The author tells her story of how she was married and had two small children. She also had a friend that she thought was her best friend, and she trusted her. But, she would soon learn that her husband was leaving her for her best friend, and she would be left with a broken-down car and no health insurance. To me, this is a typical and unfortunate story.
She speaks of her dad and how he could forgive anything. She was impressed with his ability to forgive, so she decided to do the same. She forgave her husband and re-established her relationship with her “friend,” even falling in love with her “friend’s” new child that she had with the man that used to be her husband. Katherine feels that her ex-husband’s child with his new wife is like her child. Accepting and forgiveness gave the author peace.
I am glad she is in a happy place now and that, as she says, she has “immeasurable peace,” but I know that would not be the right road for many.
I do believe we have to forgive to move on. I also think we have to be cautious. In divorce, we hurt our spouses and any children or grandchildren involved. I don’t believe that displaying the new relationships as totally acceptable does anything for the kids involved. Although it may bring acceptance and peace to the writer, it poses more questions to the minds of impressionable children. They may say, “so it is okay to break a promise to God and cheat on your friend or your spouse?”… “It is okay to leave your wife nearly destitute with no health insurance, and it is okay to leave your children?”
The only way this situation would work for me is that the children would know this was not the right thing to do morally or ethically but that we can treat each other with respect knowing this was wrong on so many levels. This way, you would teach right from wrong to the kids involved.
Do you believe that forgiveness means acceptance of a bad situation?
Have you been able to forgive your spouse?
Chapter 13 is called “Fixing Things According to Sadie” by Laurence Mitchell. This story begins with a quote…
This chapter speaks about how we become emotionally bound souls with our spouses as we marry and have families together. This brings to my mind the scripture Matthew 19:4-6 which is read in many marriage vows…
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The author speaks of an excruciating divorce she experienced. She also speaks of her friend Sadie who would want her to forgive so that she does not become bitter. She knew her friend, who had recently died, would like her to move on and enjoy her life and memories and not be angry and sad for the remainder of her life. So that is what she did; she forgave and enjoyed the positive memories of her past and looked forward to a bright future.I agree that we need to forgive to begin healing and move on. Forgiveness, I believe, will protect us from bitterness.
When you forgive someone that has done you or someone else harm, what does that look like to you?
Chapter 14 is called “Baking Away Bitterness” by Linda Fitzjarrell. Linda tells the story of her 16-year marriage and how her marriage ended in divorce. She speaks of how bitter she had become toward her ex-husband and how she never wanted to see him again.
Linda did re-marry and had children with her new husband, and she was happy. She made carrot cake for dessert one Thanksgiving at her son’s request. She remembered it was her first husband’s favorite dessert as she made it. She allowed herself at this point to think of some of the happy times in her first marriage.
She learned the day that she was making the cake that her ex was in the hospital and had little time to live. She sliced a piece of cake for her ex and had it sent to him in the hospital. The story goes that it made him smile. It was a bit like a peace offering and a sign of forgiveness.
I can understand this type of forgiveness. She did not need to see him but sent him a sign that she was no longer angry and bitter.
Do you believe that you have to forgive to move on?
Do you believe that you will become bitter if you don’t forgive?
I do believe we should work on forgiveness. I also know it is a process and does not occur right away. I think we need to be wise in our forgiveness. In other words, forgive but don’t forget in order to protect ourselves.
God Bless You on Your Journey