Ever since I read Sunday's words by the journalist David Gregory, I have found myself returning to his words about forgiveness and difficult parents. This can be a hard time of year to deal with abusive parents. Judaism teaches that we do not have to forgive them for the abuse - especially if they don't ask us for forgiveness. (In Judaism one is not forgiven by G-d for a sin against another person until one has asked that person for forgiveness.) The relationship I have with my parents continues to change - - sometimes in a good place and often not. Yet, I know that I must continue to come to terms with the abuse of my childhood in order to continue to heal. This does not mean forgiving the abuse. It means doing what I can to live as a survivor & thriver.
David Gregory connects forgiveness with being good to others.
"As Jews, we are obligated to honor our parents in the way we honor God. The idea reflects a simple truth: without them, we wouldn’t be here.Read his entire statement at Jewels of Elul, go to 17 Elul, "The Gateway to Love."
Such an obligation, however, is not always easily met.
I have struggled with my parents as I make sense of my childhood and what I think could have and should have been different.
At times, my relationship with them has been badly strained.
What has brought me back is my commitment to what God expects of me and what it takes to become a giving person...."