Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong–

This quote from Mohatma Ghandi popped up in something I was reading this week: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Prior to the discussion of what forgiveness is (is it letting the perpetator off the hook, or not?)there is the question, who is able to forgive? Ghandi says only the strong can forgive. Having been a victim of an injury indicates that one has been weakened. How does one get strong enough to forgive?

It seems to me there is some validity to the perspective that emotions such as anger are similar to warning lights on the dashboard. A flashing light indicates something is wrong. The problem must be corrected before the warning light will go off. In the same way, anger over an injury is a warning that the perpetrator is dangerous to one’s well being. As long as there is perceived danger from the perpetrator, the warning light is going to flash whenever the memory comes up. This is a good, normal, healthy thing. When one is no longer in danger, the warning flash is no longer necessary.

For myself, learning the ins-and outs of cultic Christian groups and narcissistic leaders has brought confidence that I can spot ’em now. I know objectively what was wrong with G. Geftakys and the Assembly, and am no longer in danger from them, or any group like them.

I have acquired the tools to keep myself safe. My soul can be relieved from the torment of unresolved anger. I am now strong enough to fogive. I can turn the perpetrators over to the hands of God’s righteousness judgment.

But because I am a being who forms conditioned responses to stimuli, the flash still goes off unnecessarily sometimes. I have to remind myself of my safety, and consciously release the perpetrators again into God’s hands. This is probably part of “the renewing of the mind.”

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Margaret Irons and her husband Steve and three children were in the Fullerton Geftakys Assembly for twenty years. We left in March, 1990. We are still recovering and learning in Orange County, CA.

2 thoughts on “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong–

  1. As I am reading these comments 2 1/2 years after their posting, I find myself, despite the progression of time, still in agreement with the initial fact “done very little to apologize and make right their abuses”. Why haven’t original AM’s and AK’s, of whom many are living in local proximity to one another and many who were Assembly leadership, been sought out for such attempts at restitution? Pontificating in the comfortable and safe pulpit of the internet blog/websites/social media of ones own growth and healing and remorse is a far cry from apology or restitution. Sadly, therefore, I have to concur… you can take the man out of the assembly, but you can’t take the Assembly out of the man, or woman. The “superior Assembly mentality” continues to reside intact despite all proofs to its falsity. In fact, to be transparent, I must confess the beam of it in mine own eye. May I hold out hope of true humility and healing for us all?

  2. Hi Margaret & Steve,
    I was discussing with a former Assembly member yesterday, and she was commenting on the fact that the former leadership have done very little to apologize and make right their abuses.
    One couple apologized to our family, but she has experienced no leadership making things right with her family. She has forgiven them, but would like them to acknowledge their abuses. What you say about still having the superior Assembly mentality is correct, even when former members go to other churches.
    Thanks for all you do.
    Love, Jan Boyer

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