Can we forgive the unforgivable?

Melanie's life was ruined by narcissistic perverts. She wrote to the Shrine to express her incomprehension and inability to forgive. Here is her letter, along with Don Paul Denizot's answer. The fundamental question being: Can we forgive the unforgivable?

Mélanie* was a victim of narcissistic perverts who destroyed everything in her life. She wrote to the Shrine to express her incomprehension and inability to forgive. Here is her letter and the Shrine’s answer to a fundamental question: can we forgive the unforgivable?

*First name has been changed

“80 years that made my life hell”

Mélanie’ letter:

“Why should I forgive and pray for people who made me suffer, by gradually demolishing me, purposedly and consciously? They ruined:

  • My childhood, my education, my family relationships with other family members including my siblilngs, my uncles and aunts, my cousins, my grandparents
  • And also my friendships, as well as my teenage years; then my adult life, including my sex life; my professional life (because they totally ruined my learning!)
  • All my physical and mental well-being. This left me with no opportunity for anything.

I am ending my life in extreme solitude. I have no children, no husband or friends. Hence my question:

Why should I pray for narcissistic perverts, who took pleasure in doing evil and did so for almost 80 years and made my life a living hell!!!! Please tell me, why?

“Forgiving does not mean forgetting or accepting the unacceptable. It means experiencing a personal liberation, deep in one’s heart.”

Can we forgive the unforgivable?

The Shrine’s answer:

“Thank you for your question and your trust in confiding your suffering. Saying that we must forgive indeed is easier said than done. Another thing is to forgive when we have been deeply hurt, psychologically or physically.

Here at the Shrine, people who have experienced such suffering are welcome and we listen to them. In particular, I remember meeting a lady who had been suffering her husband’s psychological and physical violence for thirty years. Or another lady who approached the Church because she wanted to forgive her tormentor. Forgiveness for her did not mean forgetting or accepting the unacceptable. Instead she wanted to experience a personal liberation deep in her heart.

Forgiveness in no way means accepting injustice. However, it is the only possible path to finding inner peace. I also have in mind some parents whose children were killed. They find it so hard to forgive, and this is completely normal! They confide in me, saying they cannot let their grudge gnaw at them all their life.

I do hear and understand your suffering and your refusal to forgive. I know how hard it is to forgive and sometimes it is beyond our human ability. I do believe, however, that it is a grace you can ask for and pray to be granted, because it is a way towards healing.

If you would like to come to Montligeon to talk about it personally, I would be delighted to meet you. Rest assured that you will be my prayers.”

3 tips for entering into forgiveness

Putting it into words

It’s a matter of naming the pain you’ve suffered and the emotions you feel.

Ask for help

Be accompanied by a trusted outsider: friend, doctor, psychologist, priest, etc.

Asking God

Deciding to get rid of what pollutes life is the condition for returning to life.
Entrust to the Lord the desire to forgive, even if it seems impossible at human sight.

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