This blog post was inspired by a question we receive from our community.
Finding the Path to Forgiveness after a Tragedy Caused by a Family Member
Grief recovery and forgiveness can be a terribly sensitive and complicated subject. We don’t claim to be experts (or anything close) in this area, but we have found in our experience working with people that. . .
You can’t drag someone down the path to forgiveness. Your family member will start down this path when they recognize that arriving at the destination is accomplished for their own sake, not for the one being forgiven.
Your family member will not be ready to actively participate in resolving the source of their negative emotions toward the person who caused the tragic event, until the they understand the impact that these feelings have on their own happiness and well-being.
And, not until they fully understand the important messages that these negative emotions are trying to give them will they understand the impact that leaving this situation unresolved is having on their lives, nor will they recognize the actions they can take to resolve it.
Use the Power of Compassionate Listening
If you wish to help one family member in the process of grieving, forgiveness, and recovery toward the one responsible for a tragic event; we suggest the most powerful thing you can do it is to listen to their pain. Listen completely, openly, and without judgment or agenda. Listen so carefully that you understand the important message their negative emotions are trying to offer to them. Listen so accurately that you can reflect this important message back to them in a way they too can understand–completely, openly, and without judgment or agenda.
The negative emotions they feel toward the other family member are the result of focusing their attention on the negative details and impacts of this tragic event. But like all emotions, when carefully explored they always lead to an understanding of what is most important or valuable for the person to experience next–in this case, how to recover what they have temporarily lost.
We are confident that when your family member clearly understands the valuable aspects of their life that seem to have been taken by this event, that understanding can be the first step on the path to recognizing what they need to do to begin experiencing those things again–and even more.
Other Posts that May Help with this Process
Get Support from Grief and Forgiveness Pros
If your pain about your family member’s pain is so great that it prevents you from listening with this degree of objectivity and compassion, we suggest that you find someone with the empathy skills who can.
We recommend that you begin your search by investigating grief recovery, counseling, or support groups in the communities where your family member lives. Such help can be found from organizations online such as: http://www.griefshare.org/ and http://www.caringinfo.org/GrievingALoss/GriefSupport/FindingHelpForYourselfOrALovedOne.htm.
To find others, Google this exact string: +Grief +Forgiveness +Support +Groups
For results specific to your location, you can then add “your city” in quotes at the end and click search again. Often, the local community resources you’ll find are free.
If you are trying to help your family find the forgiveness necessary to recover from a tragedy, we hope that, at least in some small way, you can find value in these words.
We honor your intention and wish you all the best in re-creating wholeness, love, and hope in your family.