During the second Stepping Stones class, one of the things we talked about was how Judaism looks at forgiveness, specifically when you are obligated to forgive and when you need to ask for it. During the time I was going to church, I was taught that, no matter what, you have to forgive someone, even if they haven’t asked for it. Otherwise you were being un-Christian, a heathen, etc. But the way the Jewish concept of forgiveness, at least how it was explained to me, states that you are only obligated to forgive someone if they ask you directly for it. This completely blew my mind.
I do not associate with most of my extended family because of how they acted after my grandma died. I have not forgiven them for how they treated my mom after Grandma’s funeral and I honestly believe that I will never find it in me to ever forgive them. My family has a particularly strong stubbornness gene, so it is doubtful that they will ever apologize or acknowledge what they did. For a long time, I tried to maintain those relationships, but my patience ran out. I felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong and I’m the terrible person, but learning about how Judaism views forgiveness suddenly lifted the weight of my guilt off my shoulders. I’m still trying to figure out if that makes me a terrible person.
Perhaps I’ll ruminate more on this tomorrow.