Samaritan Counseling Center We are here to help. Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:12:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Samaritan Counseling Center 32 32 Forgive and Forget? Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:49:44 +0000 Forgive and Forget? Or Why Mumford and Sons Have a Hit

Forgiveness is both a warm uplifting word and a tough hard word.  Warm and uplifting because of our ideals and aspirations that forgiveness makes us better people.  The adage “to err is human, to forgive divine”– we imagine that we are imitating the very action and presence of God when we forgive.

At the same tie forgiveness is a tough, hard word. It is easy to say and so hard to do.  Many of us are so afraid that if we forgive another we will be shown to be fools, set up by the very actions of the other that we have forgiven.   Forgiveness may be divine; yet a person risks the same thing happening when he or she offers forgiveness to another.

I see this many times when a couple is dealing with an affair.  The victim of the affair is often hurt and angry for being betrayed.  The one who had the affair often feels repentant becomes frustrated that his/her spouse can’t let go of the hurt and anger.  The victim of the affair feels that there is an extra burden to bear:  that of “forgive and forget”, another adage that our culture gives us.

Can one truly “forgive and forget” when a wrong has been done?  This is very difficult indeed.  I got a new take on this phrase when I was listening to Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait”.  The song deals with a wrong done on the part of the singer and at one point this line is sung:

“You forgave, I won’t forget”

When I heard that line a new sense of forgiveness sprang into my mind.  This song speaks to the fact that the person forgave the wrong doer but that the wrongdoer takes responsibility to not forget what he did to cause harm to the relationship. We usually say to the one wronged:  “you forgive and forget”.  This puts no responsibility on the part of the one who did the offense.  The song suggests a more reciprocal relationship between the wrong doer and the victim.

 Perhaps in small matters “forgive and forget” works for the one who was wronged.  It is easier to do this with small things.  But on bigger matters, the reciprocal nature of forgiveness comes more into play.  To really ask a person to forgive you it makes more sense to sing the song to that person: “You forgave, I won’t forget (what I did)”

The other aspect of forgiveness that comes from the song is the nature of waiting.  The song’s title is “I Will Wait”, meaning that the wrong doer, if he/she really wants forgiveness needs to:  1. Remember what the offense was and how it harmed the relationship and 2. Wait for the one who was wronged  to work a process of letting go of hurt and anger.  The waiting for the letting go of hurt and anger is a test of the sincerity of the one asking for forgiveness.

Love may be patient and kind.  Forgiveness, as an aspect of love, takes time, patience and work on the part of both the wrong doer and the one wronged.

On Cooperation Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:49:27 +0000 On Cooperation in a World Where Violence is Too Frequent

Anthony J. Garascia


On April 15, 2013 I received this message from my daughter Margaret, who was I Boston watching a friend run the Boston Marathon:  “Wanted to let everyone know I’m ok.  We were watching outside in downtown”.  She was referring to the bombing that had just happened at the end of the course.

That same day, all across Michiana, attendance had been down at area schools due to a graffiti message scribbled on the bathroom wall of a Department of Motor Vehicle branch.  There was a vague threat to kill students at various schools.

We live in a world that is uncertain and which seems to more often than not lose its bearings.  If you ask many parents their main concern is for the safety of their children.  How do we not only create safety in our classrooms and families, but how do we teach a different way of non-violent cooperation to our children?

I heard a report recently on apologies.  Seems that when we don’t apologize and hold our ground we actually feel better about ourselves.  Does this help explain why so many people have a hard time apologizing and forgiving?

Sometimes in our society cooperation and tolerance appears wimpy, like you are giving in, that you have no backbone.   Americans tend to be fiercely competitive.  A competitive strategy works many times, yet it also creates winners and losers.  And sometimes both the winners and losers nurse grudges and grievances, which can, if left unchecked result in verbal and physical aggression.

But what would happen if also taught cooperative strategies that create “win-win” situations.  These strategies would have us listen to the stories and experiences of the other and understand the commonality in them.  This is essentially what we do when we work with a couple or family that is having extreme conflict.  We try to find the common ground that unites people, then grow the strength of that common ground.

Being cooperative and willing to listen t doesn’t mean sacrificing one’s principles; one can hold fast to them but in a way that is non-violent and respectful of the other.  To be cooperative and be willing to listen and compromise might seem wimpy to some.  Yet it remains a powerful alternative to an extreme competitive spirit that divides the world into winners and losers.