In 1995 Brenda Adelman’s father (whom she adored) shot and killed her mother (whom she considered her best friend) and then turned around and married her mom's sister. He was not remorseful, and, in fact, refused to talk to Brenda about what happened. O he went to jail for what he did, but his plea bargain and good behavior got him out in only two years. Apparently the court bought his story that he had only “recklessly caused his pistol to discharge directly into his wife’s head.”
As you can imagine, Brenda struggled with forgiveness, as any of us would, I suppose. I don’t know if there was any connection, but she became a psychologist. Over the years, she has dealt with many other people who struggle with forgiveness. From her own experience and from her counseling, she gives the top five reasons people give for not forgiving.
1. If I forgive this person I am condoning what he or she did.
2. My anger assures me that this person will never be in my life again. In other words, I have to stay mad at them so they can never be around me again.
3. If I forgive them, they will hurt me again.
4. Who would I be if I forgave them? Somehow, forgiveness seems to make us the doormat who is losing our identity.
5. What happened to me or a loved one was just too horrible.
If you boil all of these reasons down, you come to one over-arching conclusion: We do not want to forgive because forgiving implies losing. If we give up the grudge, we are giving up our dignity and self-respect some how.