Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teshuva - when you are the perp....

Another Hebrew word dealing with forgiveness is T'eshuva ...

I came across the following definition somewhere in my journeys but forgot to copy the source. ooops...

T’shuva has 8 steps, each of which starts with an “R” word.

regret, remorse, repent, resolve, right thing, restitution, rehabilitation, restoration.

  1. Regret. Have regret for what you have done wrong.
  2. Remorse. Express your remorse to the person you have wronged.
  3. Repent. Decide not to do the hurtful behavior anymore.
  4. Resolve. Express your resolve to the person you have harmed.
  5. Right thing. Do the right thing and apologize, ask for forgiveness.
  6. Restitution. Compensate the person for the wrong as best you can.
  7. Rehabilitation. Change your behavior.
  8. Restoration of relationship. If the person forgives you and chooses to reconcile.
Which reminds me of a fairly recent book coauthored by Gary Chapman who most folks know as the author of the well known "5 Languages of Love" books.  He sums up apologies...teshuva...in the following 5 ways:

  1. Expressing Regret — "I am sorry."
  2. Accepting Responsibility — "I was wrong."
  3. Making Restitution — "What can I do to make it right?"
  4. Genuinely Repenting — "I'll try not to do that again."
  5. Requesting forgiveness — "Will you please forgive me?"
And another more consolidated list by Rabbi Shraga Simmons at aish.com. 

The process of teshuva involves the following four steps:
Step 1 - Regret. Realize the extent of the damage and feel sincere regret.
Step 2 - Cessation. Immediately stop the harmful action.
Step 3 - Confession. Articulate the mistake and ask for forgiveness.
Step 4 - Resolution. Make a firm commitment not to repeat it in the future.
And so...in the ebb and flow of life...sometimes we are the perp...sometimes we are the one "perpetrated" against.  Both have their own unique angst...yet both are remedied by the same solution....forgiveness.  

"With a little time, and a little more insight, we begin to see both ourselves and our enemies in humbler profiles. We are not really as innocent as we felt when we were first hurt. And we do not usually have a gigantic monster to forgive; we have a weak, needy, and somewhat stupid human being. When you see your enemy and yourself in the weakness and silliness of the humanity you share, you will make the miracle of forgiving a little easier." Lewis B. Smedes -Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve
"Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle of blame--and pain--in a relationship...It does not settle all questions of blame and justice and fairness...But it does allow relationships to start over. In that way, said Solzhenitsyn, we differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent, and to forgive." Philip Yancey
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