Christians, how do you work on shame and forgiveness for self?

Roland

Confident
Perhaps forgiveness is not a one and done transaction. It could be a lifelong process like recovery, a component of recovery.

I also know that Christian belief includes justice for victims. How does Forgiveness exist alongside Justice if Forgiveness is wiping the slate clean in the matter of a two minute prayer? Then Justice is obsolete.

My abusers used that against me. I was to forgive their abuse no matter what because my faith required me to wipe the slate clean with them over and over again as though it never happened. So the abuse just continued...until I got away of course. You could say their Christianity included Forgiveness for themselves but none for others and definitely did not include Justice.

But mine does. Mine includes Justice.
That is religious abuse, and my abuser did that too. Forgiveness does not mean you let it go and allow it to keep happening. It means you don't 'hold it against them' anymore. But just as you said, it's a lifelong process for people that were abused repeatedly. I like how you brought in the concept of justice. From God's perspective, he sees the abused and the abuser both as broken people in need of redemption. If a person asks forgiveness, they should be repentant, as in, they do their best to not repeat the harmful behavior again. That said, it is not a requirement that the abuser asks forgiveness, and repeat for an abused person to forgive them. Forgiveness is an internal concept. Rather than forgive and forget, allowing the abuse to continue, you forgive and protect yourself. That's basic boundaries.
 

Rorster93

Confident
That is religious abuse, and my abuser did that too. Forgiveness does not mean you let it go and allow it to keep happening. It means you don't 'hold it against them' anymore. But just as you said, it's a lifelong process for people that were abused repeatedly. I like how you brought in the concept of justice. From God's perspective, he sees the abused and the abuser both as broken people in need of redemption. If a person asks forgiveness, they should be repentant, as in, they do their best to not repeat the harmful behavior again. That said, it is not a requirement that the abuser asks forgiveness, and repeat for an abused person to forgive them. Forgiveness is an internal concept. Rather than forgive and forget, allowing the abuse to continue, you forgive and protect yourself. That's basic boundaries.
If Forgiveness is internal I don't know what it feels like. I bring up Justice because I feel anger toward my abusers that feels like the Justice I was due but never received. Does anger mean there is no Forgiveness? I'm not sure, again I don't know what Forgiveness feels like.
 

Defaultxlove

MyPTSD Pro
How does Forgiveness exist alongside Justice
There is justice in love. And God is love.

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace 🥰
Long share to answer this:
How does Forgiveness exist alongside Justice
Forgiveness is like a let go of negativity from your being about something that happened.

Mainly from your heart.

Justice is balancing or making right a wrong.
That's exactly the story of Jesus in the Bible.

For example: someone harassed me. For a while. I was forgiving, and prayed for them for years. Thinking vengeance is the Lord's.
It will work out or I'll be helped dealing with it.

They were repeat offenders. It was becoming dangerous, they broke my back door the glass shattered and it was an antique door. That made me most mad. They triggered me to black out. That's where I drew the line.

Anyway. I started a police record. Still forgiving them, so it can keep my heart fresh and flowing of love to and from others (alive?).

They played so many games at one point the judge said "it's too dangerous to drop the charges of harassment due to the harassment continuing" .

It's easier to forgive smaller things. With ptsd we can struggle with processing complex emotions. I think experiencing them intensified is complex as well.

The justice I got was in court. But there's a scripture "vengeance is the Lord's", so that's what I think of when I don't get to see justice. I trust justice will come, whether I see it or not doesn't matter.

What helped me most was separating myself from what they chose to do. How they chose to behave was from their mind, behavioral patterns etc. Not sure if this helps.
 

Roland

Confident
If Forgiveness is internal I don't know what it feels like. I bring up Justice because I feel anger toward my abusers that feels like the Justice I was due but never received. Does anger mean there is no Forgiveness? I'm not sure, again I don't know what Forgiveness feels like.
Once you've forgiven someone, you don't really feel anything towards them anymore. It's not the same as numbness, though. You've already walked through the anger stage, depression, all the stages of grief, and you've accepted what happened, and no longer hold it against them. Rinse repeat for forgiving yourself. If you're angry, you're still in the process of grief and healing, not forgiven yet. Again, that is perfectly okay, no one should rush you through the process of forgiveness. It takes a lot of time and inner work.
 

Rorster93

Confident
The justice I got was in court. But there's a scripture "vengeance is the Lord's",
I have not received Justice and the lord did not bestow vengeance on anyone I know. Perhaps he is sleeping. ...well my husband/stepfather died in a car wreck exactly a year after I filed for divorce. I filed in Jan 2020, he died Jan 2021. But I don't like to think that was vengeance because he died. It hurts to know he died.

I read an earlier response in this thread that I really liked. Forgiveness is not letting the abusers off the hook. It is giving to god that person for him to deal with so you don't have to, all you need to focus on is healing from their abuse. I would quote them but not sure how to do certain things on this site yet.

I would have saved his life if I could despite all that he had did to me.
 
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Roland

Confident
the lord did not bestow vengeance on anyone I know

I honestly think it comes in ways we can rarely see. Karma is the street way of saying "you reap what you sow" biblically. Maybe you don't see the abuser ever getting what they deserve, however, I think it comes in the afterlife or maybe even the next life. Vengence is the Lord's as in God will take care of it.
 

Rorster93

Confident
I honestly think it comes in ways we can rarely see. Karma is the street way of saying "you reap what you sow" biblically. Maybe you don't see the abuser ever getting what they deserve, however, I think it comes in the afterlife or maybe even the next life. Vengence is the Lord's as in God will take care of it.
I feel like the people who hurt others are absolutely miserable on the inside. If they weren't, they wouldn't be abusive. So vengeance is really not even something you have to ask for, it's a guarantee.
 

Roland

Confident
I feel like the people who hurt others are absolutely miserable on the inside. If they weren't, they wouldn't be abusive. So vengeance is really not even something you have to ask for, it's a guarantee.
That's what I always think too. Like when I think about my dad, I'm like shit, the amount of hell I've been through and will still go through because of it. But then I think about how much better off I am than him, that what controls him has always controlled him and will likely always control him, where I'm getting freer and better. By conscious choice I am not an abuser, and I do my best to also not abuse myself. When you're mindset is that way, it's much easier to deal with. Like I definitely couldn't say I've completely forgiven him or myself, but I'm on that path, where what can he say about himself, honestly? He still abuses, he's still toxic, he's still addicted. Where's his quality of life, or joy? I don't see it.
 

Rorster93

Confident
That's what I always think too. Like when I think about my dad, I'm like shit, the amount of hell I've been through and will still go through because of it. But then I think about how much better off I am than him, that what controls him has always controlled him and will likely always control him, where I'm getting freer and better. By conscious choice I am not an abuser, and I do my best to also not abuse myself. When you're mindset is that way, it's much easier to deal with. Like I definitely couldn't say I've completely forgiven him or myself, but I'm on that path, where what can he say about himself, honestly? He still abuses, he's still toxic, he's still addicted. Where's his quality of life, or joy? I don't see it.
It's good that you are on this path of recovery. You are breaking the cycle. Many people just become their parents but you are one of the few who is doing the hard work to get better and to choose to do differently than him.

It's sad knowing that someone is stuck like your dad, but as stated earlier you reap what you sow. There's no need to pray for vengeance.
 

Friday

Moderator
Not Christian, so I hesitate weighing in on this thread… and will cheerfully exit stage left @lostforgottensoul

I'm not sure, again I don't know what Forgiveness feels like.
There are many many many definitions of forgiveness.

In Christianity? Forgiveness is divine. Which means most followers attempt to achieve that. Being as close to gods as they can be, I expect. Even if it’s inherantly sacrilegious, it’s still an ideal, to be a god, godly, godlike. I’ve argued -or at least attempted to argue- with a bishop & a couple of cardinals -on several occasions- on just that topic.

For my ownself?

I tend towards a more Asian, than Christian view. Forgiveness is giving up all hope,.. of a better past.

It condones, concedes, and understands… nothing. It is intensely personal & not at all Christian. Despite the bishopric & cardinals laughing/agreeing with me as I’ve attempted to argue with them. Because, as they’ve all of them pointed out? Forgiveness is a Divine requirement. Not a human one.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve argued -or at least attempted to argue- with a bishop & a couple of cardinals -on several occasions- on just that topic.
This is just my opinion. There are really a lot of different versions of "Christianity". I strongly suspect Jesus of Nazareth would be appalled at a lot of what gets said in his name. As brands of Christianity go,the Catholic church seems to be pretty stuck in a mire of human created rules. I don't know that they've cornered the market on truth. My personal take on it is "How would we KNOW if someone has cornered the market on truth?" I don't really think we CAN know that in this time and place. All we can to is take our best shot and be open to the possibility that we're wrong. Any god worth following would have to realize that.

The thing about real justice is you have to be aware of the whole situation to know what is really is. Most of the time, we, as individuals, only see part of the picture. The part I see might make someone seem like an evil bastard. The things I'm not aware of might change that drastically. I think passing judgement might be totally above my pay grade when I consider the limits of my knowledge.
I feel like the people who hurt others are absolutely miserable on the inside.
Some of them probably are. Personally, I believe that evil really exists in the world and it can be a choice. Some people hurt others because they want to. They get something out of it and they enjoy it. They don't actually see anything wrong with hurting others, they do it because it's what they want to do. But, true motives are one of those things it's hard to be sure of from the outside. (Above my pay grade!)
 

Rorster93

Confident
I choose to be Catholic. When I was married, my stepdad/husband converted me to Baptist, it was a requirement to be married to him and the only way to go to heaven. After I filed, I asked "what do I believe?" What would have happened if I never met this person. Well, I was born Catholic so I went back to my home faith. I am a member of the church and love attending, I enjoy praying to the saints and quietly meditating before mass. I love the community and opportunities to serve which feeds my soul. I still ask myself, "what do  I believe?" Even when presented with my own faith's religious dogma such as Forgiveness being a devine requirement. Jesus was made flesh and has first person understanding of our emotions. I also feel certain interpretations of scripture are too cut and dry, black and white, serving towards those who are already practicing "perfectionism". But what about the rest of us? It's not as black and white. So, to me Forgiveness is a process, sometimes a life long process but if we continue to strive towards bettering ourselves, being saintly or christ-like if you will, or finding peace and centering if you don't, it counts towards us.
I tend towards a more Asian, than Christian view. Forgiveness is giving up all hope,.. of a better past.

It condones, concedes, and understands… nothing. It is intensely personal & not at all Christian.
I read and practice a bit of Buddhism. It helps in a number of ways. A lot of times, I find the same concepts in scripture that were either missed or ran over with a bulldozer by many religious leaders. Sometimes I feel like Buddhists read the bible more quietly.
The thing about real justice is you have to be aware of the whole situation to know what is really is. Most of the time, we, as individuals, only see part of the picture. The part I see might make someone seem like an evil bastard. The things I'm not aware of might change that drastically. I think passing judgement might be totally above my pay grade when I consider the limits of my knowledge.

Some of them probably are. Personally, I believe that evil really exists in the world and it can be a choice. Some people hurt others because they want to. They get something out of it and they enjoy it. They don't actually see anything wrong with hurting others, they do it because it's what they want to do. But, true motives are one of those things it's hard to be sure of from the outside. (Above my pay grade!)
I am not, at this time, ready to consider what I don't know. Because there are people who have been through hell and back and still choose not to hurt others. So there is no excuse. I refuse to even consider this right now. I'm allowing myself to have this resentment and anger towards my abusers because for years all I did was excuse them. Well, I'm not right now. Right now, I'm pissed at them. And that's ok.

I read somewhere that psychopaths are subject to a brain abnormality that causes them to behave the way they do so their actions are really not their fault.

Sometimes I wonder what made my abuser the way he was but that's something I will never get the answer to.
 
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