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Forgiving a Person Who Is No Longer Alive Part I

"So get rid of your feelings of hatred. Don't just pretend to be good!"1

A Daily Encounter reader asks, "All my life I felt rejected by my mother who blamed me for her having a stroke when she was pregnant with me. Now she has passed on so how can I forgive her?"

Dear Jamie (name changed), forgiving someone who has passed away is not as difficult as it may seem. First, you need to get in touch with the emotions that unwarranted blame and rejection causes. You can be certain that you will have a lot of hurt and anger that needs to be expressed to make forgiveness possible. Unresolved resentment makes forgiveness impossible.

Your hurt needs to be wept or sobbed out in all of its intensity from the pit of your stomach. With such intense pain it is usually advisable to do this in the presence of a capable counselor or counselor-led support group. You need to imagine in your mind that your mother is present and you are expressing these feelings to her. Remember that tears are God's gift to drain the pain of intensely painful memories.

There are several healthy ways to express your anger. You can write out your feelings. Pretend that your mother is alive and write a very personal letter to her. Don't worry about correct spelling or grammar, just write ... write ... write out all your angry feelings in all their intensity. Tell your mother exactly how you feel and why you feel this way. You may need to do this several times until you no longer feel angry at her. Also, read each letter to God and ask him to help you release your anger so you can forgive your mother.

You are not doing this to hurt her (which you can't) or to hurt anyone else but to get these self-destructive emotions off your chest so you can be freed to forgive her and in so doing be free to fully live and fully love.

To be continued

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to get in touch with all of my unresolved negative emotions and find a safe way to get them off my chest so I can genuinely forgive all who have ever hurt me. And then help me to let go of the past so I can move ahead to live a fully productive live. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB).

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All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.