Friday, December 17, 2010


Forgiveness is central to life as a Christian; our doctrine of the forgiveness of sin is the primary philosophical difference between Christianity and other religions. We are offered God's forgiveness for our sins, when we repent of them, as we forgive those who sin against us and repent of it.

Forgiving my wife has not been so hard, for a couple of reasons. I can excuse most of the impact; and what I can excuse, needs no forgiveness. Jealousy really doesn't bother me as much as a normal person. She left me back in February, and initiated the divorce months ago, so she's only cheating on me in a rather technical sense. And I can certainly understand the loneliness and pain a divorced person feels; a new relationship slaps a band-aid on that. Still, I wouldn't have done to her, so some forgiveness was required; where you acknowledge that it was actually wrong but still forgive. But I love her, and that makes it much easier. I reminded her that we'd been talking about getting together for lunch sometime, so she'd know I wasn't holding this against her. (BTW, much thanks to the sexblogger world, especially Perverse Cowgirl and Rogue Bambi, for showing me that there is much better than her out there.)

The other guy is more of a problem. His offense against me was much smaller; he never made any vows. But my problem is I always had an instinctive dislike of this guy to begin with. He's got a fashion sense/style that I automatically dislike (oiled and saturnine). And there was always something about his conversation.

But, much more than that, I think he's hurting her. It isn't good for her to be in a relationship so soon. On his side of the balance, she and I became emotionally attached when she was still technically in her last marriage, and though I pretty much kept it from becoming sexual, now I know that the emotional attachment wasn't good for her either.

My instinctive reaction to this guy is that he is exactly the type to hurt a woman emotionally, so that instinct complicates my attitude. I still have a problem with him. There is a part of me that wants to irimi nage him into next week. Forgiving his sins against her is for her and God, not me. But I don't think I've even successfully forgiven his little sin against me.

Most Christian resources would tell me that I do not actually need to forgive anyone until they repent; in fact they go further and indicate I should not. These two are certainly not repenting (I haven't even pointed out the offense.) I don't buy that I should wait for them to repent though.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified [Jesus] there, along with the criminals &mdash one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)
Jesus didn't wait for them to understand their offense or repent. And He is my model. But I'm going to need to pray for help in offering this guy Christian love. (If you're a praying person you'll know how hard that will be.)

If I could allow myself to hate, it would be so much easier in the short term; it's a great temptation. If I hated her I wouldn't have to acknowledge my own faults so much; if I hated him, likewise. (Well actually I do hate him a bit, but I'm working on that.) It would hurt me in the long term though. Christianity is certainly not different in that, I think lots of religious, philosophies, and even self-help seminars could tell me that.


  1. I kind of do believe that first you have to learn to hate before you can let go. Had loves never die out entirely, for me, so it's imperative I learn to hate. It helps me to forgive myself for making the mistakes I made.

    I don't believe, but I don't think love and hate are made entirely out of a different substance. I'm a pretty hot-headed person myself, so my intake on this is, that you can only hate someone who means a lot to you. It wouldn't matter otherwise. So, to get over something, not learning to love, but learning to let go could be the key.

    This coming from an entirely un-christian and well-meaning yet hot-headed person. :)

    And thank you. I'm happy to hear.

  2. Your "helps me to forgive myself" sounds rather like the good side of my "I wouldn't have to acknowledge my own faults so much".

    I don't actually want my love for either of my previous wives to die out; I just want to change the eros, romantic love, and most of the storge, affectionate, filial love, to nothing but agape, charitable love. I want to love her in the sense that I wish her well and would help her if she needed it, not in the sense that I miss her (which I still do) or that I want her back (which I don't, thanks in part to you.)

    Hating her to be free of missing her or wanting her is not a Christian option.

  3. I think first you have to acknowledge and only then you can forgive. The love probably won't wane entirely (if you're that sort of a person, like myself), but will change. I guess only time will do the trick.

    But your feelings regarding the new man do seem jealous and seem to me to be far from letting go. So, taking the distance, even if you won't call it hate, acknowledging the things that went wrong, the incompatibleties, is necessary for recovering. Isn't it?

    Sometimes I think christianity enforces not being honest when it tries to enforce the good values. People feel hate. It's what you do with it that matters and makes you a cristian or a good person, in my books.

    It's a good thing to miss a loved one. You are also missing yourself with her. Now you have to go and build a new self. It's pretty scary.

  4. It's true I can't forgive any offense against me that I don't acknowledge as an offense in the first place. And I think there was one for me to forgive; like I said I wouldn't have done this to her. Forgiveness is necessary to allow me to keep the charitable love, where I wish her well.

    Incompatibilities aren't the same as an offense; those I should acknowledge to get rid of the romantic love, which is not good any more.

    I do not think Christianity enforces not being honest; quite the opposite. You repent of your sins to be forgiven them, so you must be honest about them to repent of them.

    I don't think my feelings towards him are mostly jealousy, because I can so easily and happily imagine her with someone else who I liked and admired. I can think of several men. In fact there was one she was staying with for a while that I felt pretty good about. This guy I never liked to begin with, he always struck me as someone who would be bad for a woman, especially a vulnerable one. I'm sure there's an element of jealousy. And I already acknowledged the hate. But I really don't think the hate flows primarily from jealousy.

    Letting go is no part of my plan. You don't let go of your friends. If I'm right about him I don't want her to fear talking about it because of me, and I want my friends who are angry at her now to be there for her.

  5. Rogue Bambi, thinking about this further (thank you for the comment that prompted it), I think that I was right in that I am not so jealous, but I was missing that I am envious. I am very envious, for example, that I couldn't get her to wear her convention costumes for me in private, but he can get her to wear a slave collar in public; and I am envious of all that implies. And I am angry that she told me how terribly hard she was trying with me, which spared her ego at the cost of mine.