A Little Book of Forgiveness by D. Patrick Miller

By D. Patrick Miller

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Jealousy dissolves into playfulness, suspicion into helpfulness, and possession into shared freedom. f Early in our relationship my wife and I struggled through an unusual pattern of conflict. " I don't know if this was easier than blaming each other in the conventional fashion, but it did lead us to the capacity to allow each other to fail at crucial moments. Accepting that we both fail, and will fail, is what might be called proactive forgiveness. " As we glimpse that learning to love is our fundamental need, it's easier to be patient about each other's tendencies that might otherwise be intolerable in the short term.

29 Don't be alarmed when resentment returns after you think you have thoroughly released someone from blame. Our attachment to fear runs deep, and the thought of holding no grudges whatsoever loosens fear's grip. Then it whispers in our ear that forgiveness might steal away our old familiar world of isolation and suspicion. Whenever you find a good reason to reinforce an old grievance, ask yourself what fear has actually done for you lately. 30 In the forgiving relationship, the struggle over power is replaced by the mutual impetus to serve.

In the old life I deeply doubted my worth and purpose, and secretly thought that I had too many insoluble problems to be of real help to anyone. The bridge from my old life to the new was forgiveness: the complete release of my pained idea of who I was. This is the most important work I have ever done on my own behalf. In retrospect I marvel at the victory I was earning during the time that I felt I was suffering a total, grinding defeat. 42 Begin with the dull ache of a long-held shame. Don't try to argue away its justification; you've lost that argument many times already.

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