Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

I have been trialed severely over the past 12 months and have finally come to learn the true meaning of struggle and trials and tribulations that the Lord allows, even if it is at the expense of watching a loved one suffer or even die. It is not because God is evil or even because we are evil, but because evil has entered into the world, and it is our battle to withstand it and hold on to the Lord.  

As part of rebuilding and efforts of regaining my peace, I came across one of the many fruits of struggle, which is self-examination, and I saw it as an opportunity to learn and improve. I found that I do hold grudges. It is not about road rage or the need to belittle and beat down a mistaken fellow human who erred and kindly came and apologized. Attributing it totally to the upbringing of my loving parents, they never taught us to hate or seek revenge, but always to live peacefully and lovingly with all men and ALWAYS forgive an apologizing brother or sister.

I am referring to someone who constantly makes it a mission to hurt me, never listens to apologies or opinions (even when I know in my heart I did nothing wrong), and utilizing all forms of mental and emotional blackmail to make my life difficult. When it is a stranger, it easy to walk away and pray for them. When it is someone close to you, like a relative that will always be in your life, it is more difficult to handle. I understand the Christian ideal of always forgiving others as Christ did on the cross, but the pain caused by this person, and continues to do so, is excessive, irreversible, and constant. The wounds are so deep that forgiving is very difficult.

Broken relationships are very hard to mend when they have been hit hard and resulted in much pain. Sometimes people think that forgiveness means that your relationship must pick right up again and continue as though nothing happened. That can be the case for some situations, unless the relationship was severed at a very deep and personal level and still has real potential to escalate again. It always hurts more when the offense comes from someone you least expect due to the level of closeness and trust. One can still forgive, without necessarily working towards rebuilding the old relationship, because it is obviously a new relationship, with new meanings, and new guidelines. With the new dynamics being part of the equation after a dispute, it is not likely that an old broken relationship can ever revive to its former status. To avoid the sins of judgment, strife, and complaints, it is then better that people go their separate ways, especially when the situation had reached a point where the two are no longer compatible. In these circumstances, their mutual friends will tend to take sides and give rise to gossip and more backbiting.

Have peace in your heart, always willing to forgive. It is alright to move on, but do not hold any grudges. Forgiveness and brotherly love cannot be hypocritical, and thus, you do not need to force yourself to pretend to be something or someone that you are not. Our father Abraham taught us a great lesson for when it is better to part ways and take the smaller portion for the sake of peace and to avoid strife. To avoid a situation from escalating and causing more contention and rivalry, Abraham stepped down and allowed his close relative Lot the first and better choice. Thus, in his wisdom, parting ways was a gesture of peace and forgiveness:

"So Abram said to Lot, 'Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.'

And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom
" (Genesis 13:8-12).

Home | Ask A Question | Search Q&A