All Articles Tagged "forgiveness"
In a candid interview with W magazine, Jennifer Lopez opened up about the disintegration of her marriage and how she managed to forgive her ex-husband, Marc Anthony, despite the heartache that she endured as a result of their relationship and divorce. According to the singer and actress, though it was easier to dwell or what went wrong and nurse her hurt, she decided to move beyond that and release the disappointment and anger for the sake of her children.
“When it comes to work, I never get tired. But with personal failures, I have thought, This is too hard. When my marriage ended, it was not easy to find forgiveness. It wasn’t the dream that I had hoped for, and it would have been easier to fan the flames of resentment, disappointment, and anger. But Marc is the father of my children [8-year-old twins], and that’s never going away. So, I have to work to make things right. And that is, by far, the hardest work I do.”
“I hung in there for seven years,” she shared. “I knew very quickly that it wasn’t the right thing.”
Interestingly, Lopez adds that she still has some interest in giving marriage another try.
“We got together and broke up and are now together again. I still think about getting married and having that long life with someone. I love the movie The Notebook. A dream of mine is to grow old with someone.”
Check out Jenny’s full interview here.
When you bring children into the world and raise them throughout the years, you hope that they will become successful, happy, well-adjusted individuals. The last thing you think you will have to worry about is them trying to kill you.
But that’s exactly what happened to Yvonne and Zachary Ervin. On September 5, their sons, 17-year-old Cameron and 22-year-old Christopher attacked them in their home in the Atlanta area. The young men, who lived with their parents and allegedly hadn’t been violent in the past, brutally beat them. They stabbed their father in the back and tried to suffocate both parents with plastic bags. At one point, Zachary distracted his sons and Yvonne was somehow able to get away and call the police. Police were able to come quickly and save the parents, who sustained blunt force trauma. Zachary had to be hospitalized and was in critical condition for a while dealing with his more severe injuries.
But fast forward to this past Friday and the parents had recovered enough to make it to their sons’ hearing at Gwinnett County Court. Afterward, they talked to awaiting media, and let the world know that they forgive the young men.
“Those were not our boys that did that to us,” Yvonne said to WSB-TV, face still covered in bruises from the attack. “We did not raise them that way. We understand there are consequences for what they did. They understand that, but we’re just praying the world forgives them in the same way we forgive them.”
Zachary shared his wife’s sentiments, saying they had to stand by their sons in court and have been relying heavily on their faith. “We forgive our sons, we love them unconditionally. We have to make sure that they understand that to strengthen themselves.”
They love and support their sons, despite the fact that one of them reportedly told police that he schemed to kill them since he was 11. And despite the fact that their children are accused of drugging them with Xanax and trying to burn down the family home with them in it, as they had reportedly tampered with the gas line. When that didn’t work, they physically abused their mother and father instead. A motive for the attack is still unclear.
But as Zachary put it, either way, “There’s no malice, contempt.”
Cameron and Christopher continue to be held without bail, charged with two counts of aggravated assault and another two counts of first-degree arson.
I love my parents. I don’t think that there was ever a moment when I didn’t love them. With that said, I didn’t always like them.
I know, I know, that sounds so harsh, but it was true. When I was a child, I felt that they were either fun loving adults, or belt-wielding maniacs. The things my sisters and I got in trouble for didn’t seem to always be that serious, and I couldn’t understand why my parents would fly off of the handle.
As my sisters and I got older, we would look at the decisions that our parents made and would judge them so harshly for it. From the way that my mother seemed so irritated, to the way my father seemed to focus on “stupid stuff,” a bunch of teenagers were having conferences about how our parents needed to “do better.”
I’m ashamed to admit that I kept that critique of my parents up until the first month of having my daughter.
At first I thought about the different mistakes that my parents made, and promising myself and my newborn that I wouldn’t do them. “I’ll never lose my patience with you.” “I’ll always listen to what you have to say.” “I promise that if you’re upset about something, I won’t make it seem like it’s stupid.”
But after the first month of daughter’s existence, that’s when I realized that I had some of the best parents in the world.
I don’t think that any sane parent ever thinks: “Hey, I’m gonna make my children sad.” As parents, we always go into each morning, day, event, and moment with: “I’m going to do the best that I can to make my child happy.” But then, stuff happens. While you’re juggling the stones that life can harshly throw at you, you’re also trying to make sure that your children have the best life they possibly can.
Sometimes that means working later, harder and that can sometimes make you more irritable. But at the end of the day, you’re doing all of this to benefit your child.
But the one thing that I feel the most ashamed about, when I think back on how haughty I looked back at the things I felt my parents should have done better, is how I conveniently ignored all the things they did right.
I never gave too much thought about how whenever my sisters or myself were vomiting, how my parents would stay up with us, all night, cleaning up after us if we missed the toilet/bucket, and bought us any medicine that we needed to help us get better. I didn’t realize the price of comfort and stability that my parents gave my sisters and I and how hard they had to work to keep that slightly pricey roof over our heads. My mind ignored the prices of band instruments, dance classes, math tutoring, piano classes, and name brand clothes that my parents kept us in. Not to mention the time consuming hours they spent seeing us perform, or waiting for us after practices, rewarding us when we did well, and encouraging us when we failed.
Now that I’m a parent, I spend as much time as I possibly can apologizing to my parents for not seeing how great they were. I realized that at the end of the day, you can’t do even half of those things for your children unless you truly love them.
So, my message to you, dear readers, is that if you had a great parent(s) or caregiver who might have made some mistakes, but you turned out to be a great adult, definitely cut them some slack. Yes, they might not have done everything right, but they did things to the best of their abilities, and that’s something for which they deserve credit.
What does it mean to forgive?
That has been the question of the hour after the terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina left nine Black people dead inside of what was supposed to be a safe place.
There has been a lot of pushback to the idea that Dylann Roof deserves forgiveness, particularly from the families who offered it to him during his bond hearing for the single gun charge.
Yesha Callahan writes in a passionate piece titled “Dear Black People: Stop Being So Forgiving“:
I’m going to need black people to stop being so forgiving. This forgiveness thing has plagued us for centuries. I’m quite sure forgiveness was taught to black people by slave masters, the same people who taught black people Christianity. Isn’t it ironic?
Throughout history, black people have been benevolent and forgiving. And where has that gotten us? It’s gotten the families in South Carolina a white judge who told them in front of a merciless killer that they should forgive.
No other group of people have been expected to be so forgiving to those who’ve hated, killed and made them second class citizens. Has anyone yet asked or expected Holocaust survivors to forgive?
Roof’s act of domestic terrorism was a calculated and premeditated act. Fuck forgiving him.
And for those who say that forgiveness some how makes your heart better? Show me receipts and prove it.
Echoing those sentiments is Xolela Mangcu, a professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, who wrote for The Root:
In every discussion of racial injustice – whether in South Africa or the United States – the first consideration is to white feelings. South Africa is in the midst of a national debate about affirmative action. My own university, the University of Cape Town, did away with race-based affirmative action on the grounds that qualified white students were being excluded in favor of unqualified black students. The mobilization of sympathy for these ‘poor’ white kids is blind to the structural exclusion of black kids by not only the admissions process but by a culture that says these institutions properly belong to Whites. White supremacy reproduces itself by a combination of entitlement to privilege and forgiveness, and an entitlement to black lives as whites present themselves as victims of reverse racism.
I am on the fence. I get it. I get accountability. I get confronting White supremacy, or rather, getting White supremacy to confront itself. Likewise, those in the church have used respectability and the Bible as a way to temper activism and also to inflict harm on others, in particular, the LGBTQ community and women. As such, forgiveness can seem a lot like compliance. At the same time, I am extremely uncomfortable having this conversation right now when the families of these victims – the people who are most affected by these terrorist attacks – are hurting so much.
I don’t know how I would react if I were in that position. I do know that I have held grudges for less. I would like to think that I would be angry, and I would like to think that I would go full Clyde Shelton in the film Law Abiding Citizen and take everybody out. But who is to say? Thank God I am not, and have never been, in that position. In reality, I would more than likely feel helpless, deterred and depressed as opposed to feeling like a vigilante out for justice. And I would probably be wondering to God, why?
What I do know is that extending the olive branch is not something that Black people only do for White people. In Rwanda, where the genocide was Black on Black, Hutu on Tutsi to be more exact, the survivors granted forgiveness as a way to move on. In North Minneapolis, 59-year-old Mary Byrd not only forgave Oshea Israel, who shot her only child, Laramiun, to death during an argument at a party, but she peacefully lives next door to him.
Writer Lauren Giordano profiled Everett Worthington, a professor of psychology at Virginia Community University whose 78-year-old mother was murdered during a home burglary. It was an article in The Atlantic called “The Forgiveness Boost.” Prior to his mother’s murder, Worthington had been actively studying how and why people forgive and even created a method to help others in their own effort to forgive. Naturally, being faced with the reality of what had previously just been a theory was a hard pill to swallow. But Worthington decided to follow through with his method, which included recalling the incident, empathizing, altruistically forgiving, committing to the process and finally, holding on to forgiveness even when anger resurfaces.
And as Giordano wrote of Worthington, the hardest part was empathizing with the man who viciously took the life of his mother. But, “What helped on the empathy front, Worthington says, was that after the intruder killed McNeill, he ran from room to room, smashing all of the mirrors with the crowbar—even in the rooms he didn’t search. Worthington took it as a sign that he couldn’t look at himself.”
Through this process, Worthington told Giordano that he was not only able to forgive in less than a month, but his life was better for the experience. Whereas his brother, who had never forgiven the killer and held onto the anger and pain, killed himself several years later. In the piece, Giordano also wrote about the benefits of forgiveness:
But beyond that, forgiving people are markedly physically healthier than unforgiving ones. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that participants who considered themselves more forgiving had better health across five measures: physical symptoms, the number of medications used, sleep quality, fatigue, and medical complaints. The study authors found that this was because the process of forgiveness tamped down negative emotions and stress.
In other words, forgiveness at times is more than offering someone a pass for their crimes or misdeeds against you. But rather, it is a matter of reaffirming faith, and in some cases, gaining faith. It is a crutch when all else feels hopeless. And it is a matter of moving on instead of being held hostage by pain that is more harmful to you personally than it will ever be helpful.
I am not these families, but I imagine there are probably a few relatives struggling with living after losing someone they loved so much. And their faith and the act of forgiveness is probably the only thing making life bearable right now. I don’t know about anyone else, but who the hell am I to question that or try to take that away from them?
As many of you know by now, a lone gunman Dylann Roof opened fire in a church in Charleston, S.C., killing 9 people. As I sat stunned learning the details of this act of hatred and terrorism, all I could think of was how these people thought they were simply going to bible study to worship and then return home safe and sound to their families. I’m sure not one of them thought that they’d take their last breath in the house of the Lord that night. Their world ended with a gunshot – life taken without warning. It brings home the saying that tomorrow is never promised to you. To us. To anyone.
But without a deadline, many of us don’t live life as if it’s our last day on earth…every day. There’s no urgency to say “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,”…no urgency to do something we know we should do, or always wanted to do. Since we cannot conceive of an end to ourselves, we think we have all the time in the world to do what we want when we get good and ready.
But if you knew the world would end tomorrow, what would you do today? What would you say to those you care about, or even to those who have no idea how you feel about them? Who would you want to spend your last few hours with, and what would you be doing?
Since most of us don’t have the luxury of knowing when we’ll take our last breath, or when someone we love will be taken from us, it makes sense that we should tell those we love that we love them every chance we get. I never hang up the phone with my mother, father, sister or other family members without saying “I love you.” Ever. It’s something that’s been ingrained in me since childhood – my mother never let my sister and I go to bed angry with each or without saying “I love you.” And I’m so grateful she instilled that in us.
But I can’t say the same about my girlfriends…or my male friends for that matter. If I somehow I knew I would not be here tomorrow, instead of assuming they knew how I felt about them, I’d pick up the phone and call each and every one of them to let them know that I love and appreciate them all for their friendship, encouragement and support. If you’re reading this post, that means you!
But aside from love, what about forgiveness? Is there someone out there you’re holding a grudge against? Or is there someone out there you need to apologize to and ask forgiveness from? If so, what is keeping you from doing it? Whatever it is, let it go. Forgiveness is a powerful thing…whether granting it or asking for it. But since tomorrow isn’t promised to you, don’t hold onto or reject anything that doesn’t bring you peace.
If you could do anything in the world with your life, and knew you wouldn’t fail – what would it be? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Many of us keep ourselves from doing bigger and better things in our lives because we live in fear – we’re afraid to fail, or to reach higher than our outstretched hand can grasp. Let go of your fears, don’t cling to the past, and accept the invitation to grow. Let your life unfold into a stream of amazing moments.
To me, living each day of your life as if it’s your last is about being grateful, and expressing that gratitude with every breath you take. We should be grateful for each experience that teaches us something and for whoever comes into our lives – because each has been sent as a guide from above. Every morning is a new arrival, and each day is a chance to do better, to be better and to love harder.
The moment we realize this it’s amazing how the universe brings more love to your doorstep, begins to help you achieve your goals and works in your favor. The universe is God’s self portrait, and since no one knows when it’ll end but Him, put Him behind the thoughts that guide your every word, your every emotion and your every action. You’ll train yourself to be in the habit of giving love and showing gratitude every day of your life, and you’ll live each day with no regrets.
Don’t some people just make you sick?
Seriously, isn’t there one person who has come and gone from your life who made you wish they would turn into dust on sight because of the grief they caused you?
Everyone has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with anguish, and it’s typically brought on at the hands of someone they once loved or tried to. No matter what you felt you did right, that person still broke your heart and did you wrong.
For most, the initial reaction is to become bitter and wish you never met that person. However, there’s another way you can deal with the misery they caused you if you haven’t fully let things go. In fact, I have a few ways you can move beyond the pain, get to a point in your life where you’ll want to thank those who once made you cry, and realize the role they played in your life. I know this sounds a little strange, but hear me out.
There’s an old saying that goes, “People enter your life as a lesson or a blessing.” But the truth is, they’re both. The blessing can be the lesson you learn from them, but it’s up to you to decide what you will take away from the experience. The whole point of someone entering your life is to improve your character in some way for a greater purpose to be fulfilled. So don’t hate the person who hurt you, be glad they did because you wouldn’t have learned what you were supposed to otherwise.
Getting over a past transgression is not an easy thing to do. It’s a step-by-step process that takes time. The first step is to accept what was done. This is a struggle for many because it is difficult to believe that someone could cut you to the depths of your soul, especially someone you once cared about. But they can, and it’s important to get a grip on it, or it’ll have a grip on you. One way to accept the hurt is to revisit it, think about why it shook you up, and take note of how not to go down that road again. After this, it’s time to make up in your mind that you’re going to move beyond the hurt and let it go. So many people hold grudges in their heart and spirit because they haven’t released grief mentally. Believe it or not, this can hinder your progress and future blessings. Never let a person rent space in your head for free, especially one who disappointed you and probably isn’t even thinking about you.
If you’re still having trouble with letting things go, the possible next step is to confront the wrongdoer. Tell them directly how they made you feel and a few other things that may come to mind without getting ugly, but rather, in the hopes of getting closure.
If you can’t muscle up the guts to face them, write them a letter, send a message via social media (in their inbox of course), or call them. Go through whatever method you are most comfortable with and express yourself freely. Just be sure you get everything off your chest (in a nonconfrontational manner), and then you’re free to have your own private release party. I suggest shoe shopping! It always works for me, but whatever you do, be sure it helps you with your healing process.
As long as we are alive we will experience pain and suffering at the hands of those we love–and a few strangers. It’s just a part of life. But how well we react to it and what we take away from it all will determine the depths of our character and how far we walk into our greatness. So the next time you think about a person who broke your spirit, or you so happen to run into them, be sure to thank them for helping you become a better person for a better purpose.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? a speaker, and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
All relationships have their ups and downs that can make us question if they’re worth trying to save. After all, there are no perfect people, so we can’t expect our relationships to be perfect either.
The truth of the matter is friendships can be hard to maintain at times. Life, distance and other factors can get in the way. If you and your bestie are no longer close, it might be time to make a few changes. Here are some tips on ways to mend a broken friendship.
In life, everyone is bound to make a mistake or two. As wonderful as you think you are, there will be something you say or do that’s considered offensive to others. Then there are times when other people fall short of your standards that can cause resentment and anger. The question is whether or not you’ll forgive them.
If you think holding a grudge is a great character trait, you’re wrong. Here are some ways it damages your life and career.
So there I was, tired as all get-out, watching and live-tweeting “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” I spent a good part of the day (from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at church, singing in my choir for Palm Sunday. By the time it hit 8 p.m. EST, I was already ready to be in bed. However, a lively debate woke me up as I tweeted, and while it came about because of the reality show, it wasn’t necessarily a debate about the ladies.
It was a debate about what it means to forgive.
If you watched last night’s episode, I’m sure you peeped the scene where Kandi and Phaedra talked about Phaedra’s newfound friendship with NeNe. Despite the ugly things NeNe said about Phaedra in the past, she managed to change and has grown to like the Southern belle. Phaedra chose to forgive and forget because NeNe has been a supportive shoulder to cry on as she’s watched Apollo get himself thrown back into prison—this time, with two kids directly impacted by his decisions.
According to Kandi, who still cares very little for NeNe, if Phaedra can forgive her, it should be a cake walk when it comes to forgiving Kenya.
It’s safe to say that Phaedra was not feeling that idea, calling it “a matter of opinion.” And if you’ve watched past seasons, I’m sure you know why Phaedra would be hesitant to make amends with Kenya. Despite Apollo admitting that Kenya never tried to sleep with him as he had previously claimed, the two did admit to sending text messages to one another without Phaedra’s knowledge (they claimed the messages were about business). Plus, our own eyes watched Kenya flirt with Apollo during their trip to Anguilla, and in Mexico, even doing so in front of Phaedra’s face. At a certain point, it went from being the harmless behavior of an overly flirtatious person, to being outright disrespectful. But alas, both Apollo and Kenya were in the wrong.
So with that in mind, I asked whether or not Kandi had oversimplified everything based on the actions both NeNe and Kenya displayed in the past. One talked trash while the other flirted with Phaedra’s husband AND talked trash.
While it would be nice to see Phaedra let bygones be bygones, let’s not pretend like this is such a simple task, especially when all parties involved are clearly still hurt.
Kenya actually felt some type of way about the question I tweeted. She responded to it by saying that it didn’t matter what she did to her in the past–if Phaedra is the Christian she claims to be, she should be able to forgive easily.
I understand what Kenya is trying to say, but I disagree about the following two things:
For one, people tend to forgive and let go of pain at their own pace. Every time these women get together for a trip or a dinner, they’re trying to force a peace treaty to happen so that the offender can have a clear conscience. This happened in the Philippines. But did we not just watch Kenya get a kick out of helping Cynthia confront Phaedra about rumors that she was cheating in front of everyone? Now, a few weeks later, you want someone to “engage” in a conversation with you to make peace? It’s not always that simple.
And secondly, with this group of women, and many other people, they believe that with forgiveness comes immediate friendship.
Please don’t play yourself.
Sometimes people can forgive and find it possible to be friends with someone after all the betrayal and shenanigans. Phaedra did that with NeNe. And even NeNe did that with former housewife Kim Zolciak, and vice versa. But every person is different. At the end of the day, just because I forgive you for something harsh you did to me doesn’t mean that you haven’t displayed a character flaw that makes it hard for me to trust you again. Being cordial, being pleasant and being supportive when one needs such support is a lot different from, I forgave you, now let’s be BFFs.
To me, that’s where Kenya always has gone wrong. People can forgive you and not necessarily want to be associated with you. That’s just something you have to know and move on from. At the end of the day, forgiveness is about that person—they are moving past a certain attitude or feeling of vengefulness caused by a specific offense on your part. But that doesn’t mean they want to be chummy with you, and that’s okay.
So for everyone who assumes that forgiveness equates to friendship, pump your brakes. As for Phaedra, while I can’t fault her for being upset, she should forgive Kenya. Holding on to that bitterness will only hurt her (and halt her blessings as a professed Christian) down the line. But as for Kandi, Kenya and the like, they need to allow her to forgive and move forward when it feels best for HER to do so. To force it for the cameras would be phony. At the end of the day, one can forgive you for the pain you’ve caused, but not everyone is down to forget about the person you’ve proven yourself to be.
On Sunday night’s episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, the ladies (minus NeNe) took a long arse flight to the Philippines to kick back, relax, and finally handle their issues. By the end of the episode, Porsha was bickering with Claudia again, Cynthia was seeking to make amends with Phaedra, and the Southern belle and Kenya finally decided to sit down and work on their problems. Are pigs flying or nah?
Let’s chat about all that went down on RHOA ep. 19.
The Women Prepare To Hit The Unfriendly Skies
As the episode begins, the ladies pull up at the airport, faces beat to perfection, trying their best to get along since they’ll have to travel for more than 20 hours together. Oooh child! My knees hurt at the thought.
After therapy with Dr. Jeff, the ladies seem to be friendly enough with one another as they arrive–the only exception being Ms. Phaedra Parks. As she pulls up curbside, she tells Porsha that she would like to stay in her car until time for check-in because she doesn’t want to be anywhere near Cynthia after the Mr. Chocolate shenanigans. Porsha encourages her to actually try and mix and mingle with the ladies, which Phaedra reluctantly ends up doing.