Changing My Perception To Forgive

Part 1

INTRODUCTION

If you’ve been lied on and cheated, robbed and beaten, sexually abused and verbally mistreated; forgiveness is not a natural response. Many never reach the place of eradicating the inflicted pain: constantly disturbed and vexed by the sight of their offenders and memories of the offense. But now, instead of being vexed, review your past with a new perception!  De-victimize yourself from the assault of your offenders and break free. Learn to access the kind of forgiveness that rewards you with unexplainable peace, even when the one who has offended you, happens to be in the same room. This book will assist you.

PERCEPTION

Perception determines the reaction of an offense. The offense is unchangeable. But if a new perception is associated with that offense, it can change the response from a negative to a positive one.

A Story Clip of The Agitated Mrs. Cranberry

Mrs. Cranberry was on her way home on the subway train after a hard day of work.  While on the train, there were two little girls making great commotions; running up and down the aisle, jumping on top of empty seats, and crying, “Daddy, look!  Daddy look!”  The Dad would look up every so often and then return to, what seemed to be, deep thought.  Mrs. Cranberry turned to one of the passengers on the train and began ranting on how unruly these kids were and how, when she was a little girl, this would had been unacceptable.  Other passengers began complaining as well.  Mrs. Cranberry began whispering to another passenger, belittling the dad for his incompetence and weakness to control his kids.  She boasted, saying, “My kids would never do such a thing in my presence.  I already had a hard day at work, and now, I have to put up with this?”  Mrs. Cranberry said within herself, “This no good worthless explanation of a Dad, has 10 seconds to sit his girls down, or he’s gonna wish he never got on this train!” But by the time Mrs. Cranberry reached number 8 in her counting, suddenly, her stop came up, and she was more than thankful to finally get off the train. Her desire to forgive the man for further ruining her day, was no where to be found, all because of how she perceived the situation.

 

What a difference her perception might have been if she had more information on the situation.  For had she attained more information, she would had understood that the mother of the two girls had been in a terrible car accident two days prior, and the father had just received news from the doctors that his wife didn’t make it.  He had to inform his girls that their mommy would not be coming home anymore.  The impact of this report had not yet fully been absorbed by the little girls, but was being countered by emotional instabilities and frantic expressions of, what the passengers considered to be, unruliness.  He had just lost his best friend and did not know how to comfort himself nor his little girls.  It might had been much easier for Mrs. Cranberry to forgive the dad, had she known this added information.  It’s the same situation; the same circumstance; the same offense, but the difference in perception, would had made a difference in reaction.

When A Victim Changes His Perception

Although a victim has the absolute right to place blame on his/her offender, if the victim decides to take the unusual step of seeing it from the offender’s point of view, it could very well help the victim handle the situation in a healthier fashion.

A Story clip of Joe Simmons From Detroit

Joe Simmons was a 29 year old Black American, born and raised in Detroit. As a youth, he found it difficult to forgive White Americans in general, due to the perception forced upon him by his Black community. He was constantly surrounded by conversations of how Whites were always against Blacks, and how White Cops continually targeted Blacks. And this constant conversational input helped shape Joe’s perception of White Americans.

He was led to believe that he was a victim of White oppression. And he accepted that notion until, one day, he decided to ask himself a question, “What if this situation was flipped? What if I was a former African Owner of slaves, who bought and sold white slaves?  What if my Black spiritual leaders taught me that White Americans were cursed with a full covering of leprosy and was ordained to be of a lower class to Black people? Would I really make a special effort in trying to help Whites attain the same rights as I?”

As Joe pondered that last question, he could find no affirmative answer. He was shocked to realize that he would have no real motivation to help Whites gain equal privileges as himself, especially if his spiritual leaders confirmed that Whites were supposed to be lower than Blacks. This revelation brought about a better understanding as well as some painful thoughts. For Joe considered himself to be a kind and decent person, and yet, based on his observation, he would not had been willing to fight for equal rights for the Whites.  He concluded that, maybe there were probably many White Americans who were just as kind and decent as he, but whose negative perception of Black Americans was persuasively taught by teachers who they highly respected. His new way of perceiving the situation changed his outward response, and he was able to forgive because of it. And although he was taught not to accept White people’s help, because, apparently, it was considered “fake help,” his new perception enabled him to join forces with like-minded Whites who were tired of racism and was able to see each other as brothers and sisters rather than enemies.

When An Offender Changes His Perception to Gain Forgiveness

Offenders are usually reacting to past experiences of rejection, abuse, and memories of being defenseless.  In extreme cases, they offend without sympathy because they still see themselves as the victim. They might decide to do something extreme just to regain a sense of control, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. But if, by chance, an offender realizes the wrong he/she has done, and decides to seek forgiveness, the offender should take a good look at the offense from the victim’s point of view in order to understand the victim’s pain and to express the kind of sorrow and repentance necessary to win the victim’s forgiveness.

A Story Clip of John the Rapist & His Ex-girlfriend Linda

John Gooley had three convictions of rape.  His first rape charge was with his Ex-girlfriend Linda; the other two were acquaintances. He claims that all three girls were flirting with him but then, reneged, when it came down to performing the action he was hoping for, and he was too hot for sex to let that moment pass.  As for his ex-girlfriend, he found it fun watching her fight helplessly as he dominated.  At the time, he felt powerful and in control and full of sexual adrenaline. But after it was over: seeing his ex-girlfriend emotionally hurt and crying, he regretted what he had done, but he still felt she should take some of the blame.

After a period of years in prison for his three rape convictions, and having spent numerous sessions in therapy, he felt cleansed and convinced that he would never do such acts again.  After being released from jail for the last time, he decided to reach out to his ex-girlfriend to apologize for the terrible way he treated her.  He finally conjured up enough courage to call her; when she answered the phone, he said, “Hey Linda, this is John, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for the way I treated you in the past.  I’m not the same person anymore.  I would like to come see you and do whatever I can to make it up to you.”

Linda responded, “Go to hell John!  You ruined my entire life and probably the life of those other poor girls you raped! I hate your nasty guts!  You’re a pathetic freak and I don’t want anything to do with you!  I can’t even go out on a decent date without thinking about what you did to me!  Don’t call, don’t write, just leave me the hell alone!” (CLICK!) Phone call drops. John felt confused. He thought he had taken all the appropriate steps for reconciliation. He felt within himself, that after all these years, she would be over it by now.  He felt upset at the way she spoke to him.  The rejection triggered a subtle desire to take advantage of another woman, but he knew it was wrong. 

John decided to spend some time at an old hang-out bar where he met Linda.  While he was there, he saw one of Linda’s old friends who they called -Keisha. He approached her politely and asked if she would please hear him out.  As they sat, he began to explain how he had changed; how he apologized, and the entire phone conversation he had with Linda.  Then he told Keisha, “I don’t know why she treated me like that.  That was years ago and we were good friends before that happened.  I thought for sure she would be over it by now.  I truly meant every word I said when I told her I was sorry.” 

Keisha responded, “You just don’t get it John!  You really have no idea how bad you hurt her?”  “Yes! I do!” replied John, “That’s why I want to see her and make it up to her.” 

Keisha replied, “Is that so!  Do you really think you know how she feels?”  (silent pause)

Keisha continues, “Ok Hot Shot!  You see that guy over there sitting near the bathroom, looking like the Incredible Hulk? 

John: “Yeah! What about him?”

Keisha: “His name is Roy.”

John: “So what does that have to do with me!”

Keisha: “Well John, let’s say, one night, Roy decides to walk up and start a conversation with a girl you’re already trying to pick up, and then tells you to step off before he throws you across the room! Are you going to contend with him and continue talking with your girl; or are you going to do what he tells you to do?”

John (smirking): “I’m not about to risk my life over a girl and a seat! He can have her. I ain’t got time for that crap.”

Keisha: “Why not John?”

John: “Look at me Keisha, how would I look trying to fight that monster! He’s too freaking big, I wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Keisha: “So are you admitting that he’s too big for you to handle in a fight?”

John: “It’s not Rocket Science, Keisha! I don’t stand a chance against that ugly dude!”

Keisha: “Ok John, so imagine Roy meeting you outside after having a few drinks, grabbing you and taking you into an alley while no one is looking and strips your pants off, cover your mouth, and began forcing his penis into your dirty butt hole… Can you picture that John?  Can you imagine how you would feel? Think about it for a while! Can you see him laughing at you John, with alcoholic breath; playing with all of you body parts; watching you struggle helplessly; unable to get away?”

John: “You’re freaking crazy! I’m not about to imagine that crap!”

Keisha: “Imagine It! You no good dirty Bastard! Because whatever feelings you’re feeling about Roy playing with all your body parts and forcing his cock into your anus, is the same way Linda feels about what you did to her. And before you expect to get any kind of forgiveness from Linda, you need to first ask yourself, what would Roy have to do to win your forgiveness of him!”  (Keisha gets up and walk out.)

John sits there, shaken by Keisha’s graphic illustration.  He tries to avoid thinking about it, but can’t get rid of those animated pictures from his mind and that shocking question: “What would Roy have to do to win your forgiveness of him?”  John had never thought to see it from this angle. After brooding over Keisha’s illustration all night at the bar, he went home and wrote a serious repentant letter to Linda. After which, from that day forward, searched for Keisha every night at the bar, hoping that she would give the letter to Linda for him, knowing that Linda would probably burn his letter if Keisha wouldn’t help convince her to read it. One Friday night, Keisha showed up at the bar. When John saw her and began approaching her, Keisha put her hand up as if to say, “Don’t even come near me!”  But John begged her to hear him out, expressing how she was right and how her illustration really hit home. Keisha put her hand down and looked at John with very impatient eyes, saying , “You have two minutes John! Just two minutes!”  John reached into his coat pocket and took out the letter and asked Keisha to read it. After noticing that Keisha was done reading, he asked her if she would please convince Linda to read it. Keisha silently nodded her head and left the bar.

Keisha waited until after Sunday morning church service to contact Linda, hoping that the worship service would make Linda more receptive to the letter she had to present. After meeting up at a Park, Keisha presented Linda with the letter informing her that it was worth reading. When Linda opened the letter, this is what it said.

Linda, I’m the stupidest jerk in the world. I had to be out my mind to do something so stupid. I finally saw how I would feel if I was in your shoes.  It’s not a pretty picture and I hate the thought of it.  I was dead wrong for what I did. I would hate that person for the rest of their life if they had done that to me. You were a good friend, and I can’t believe that I was so dumb to do something so stupid. I’m asking you to please forgive me.  I know it’s probably impossible for you to do, but I also know that I would want the person who did such a thing to me, to ask for forgiveness so I can at least tell that person to go jerk himself… I’m really, really sorry.  There are not enough words to express how wrong I was. You were right in how you responded when I first tried to reach out to you; actually, you were more conservative than I would have been. Linda, please forgive me.   

Sincerely, John

After reading the letter, Linda felt a small burden lifted.  After a few days of toiling over rather or not to forgive him, she finally forgave him.  She never enjoyed hating him, for the thought of him constantly made her terribly sick. She needed John to acknowledge, understand, and feel the pain he had caused her before she would even think about forgiving him.  This letter helped convince her that he had, and she was now able to see him with a new perception. It felt good to her when she forgave him.  She felt free.  Although the memories would never go away, her new perception gave her the ability to become friends with John again.  And John treated her, and every woman, with total respect  from that day forward.

John’s ability to change his perception helped regain a relationship that, in most cases, would had been eternally lost. If you know you have offended someone, and they don’t want to let you live it down; try changing your perception and see it from the other person’s point of view.  It might help handle the situation in a more productive way and reward you with a restored relationship that, in any other case, would be eternally lost.

PART 2

COMING SOON

 

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