Home Life Challenges Forgiveness How can I forgive my abusive father?

How can I forgive my abusive father?

Q: My father was a violent, abusive man, in every way possible and imaginable. I am truly torn about forgiving him. What does The Urantia Book have to say about such things?

A:  The Urantia Book does have a lot to say about forgiveness but most of it relates to us asking for God's forgiveness. Here are 4 quotes though that come closest to addressing the problem you've described. The first quote, although talking about sin in a more cosmic sense, does present the attitude of the sinner which parallels what you've said about your father.

And when sin has so many times been chosen and so often been repeated, it may become habitual. Habitual sinners can easily become iniquitous, become wholehearted rebels against the universe and all of its divine realities. While all manner of sins may be forgiven, we doubt whether the established iniquiter would ever sincerely experience sorrow for his misdeeds or accept forgiveness for his sins. (67:1.6)

The second quote indicates that the idea of confession and forgiveness germinated in primitive religious concepts and rituals. If you're looking for something akin to "closure" you're bound to be disappointed--there is no such condition. In true forgiveness, you give up the attachment, that link you've formed with the one you're forgiving such that it no longer exerts control over your thoughts and emotions even though the wrong remains real.

The idea of confession and forgiveness early appeared in primitive religion. Men would ask forgiveness at a public meeting for sins they intended to commit the following week. Confession was merely a rite of remission, also a public notification of defilement, a ritual of crying "unclean, unclean!" Then followed all the ritualistic schemes of purification. All ancient peoples practiced these meaningless ceremonies. Many apparently hygienic customs of the early tribes were largely ceremonial. (89:2.5) <

The next quote indicates that in God's eyes your father is as worthy of love as you are. In the last sentence it suggests that your prayer may be most effective if it focuses on your own self-control.

In all your praying be fair; do not expect God to show partiality, to love you more than his other children, your friends, neighbors, even enemies. But the prayer of the natural or evolved religions is not at first ethical, as it is in the later revealed religions. All praying, whether individual or communal, may be either egoistic or altruistic. That is, the prayer may be centered upon the self or upon others. When the prayer seeks nothing for the one who prays nor anything for his fellows, then such attitudes of the soul tend to the levels of true worship. Egoistic prayers involve confessions and petitions and often consist in requests for material favors. Prayer is somewhat more ethical when it deals with forgiveness and seeks wisdom for enhanced self-control. (92:4.3)

This last quote is a partial synopsis of the core values of Jesus' teachings. It suggests that if you could love your father as Jesus loved, the forgiveness you seek would dispel the influence the sins of your father exert upon you and you would in effect be rehabilitated. Jesus is our model; we should seek to be more like him.

The cross forever shows that the attitude of Jesus toward sinners was neither condemnation nor condonation, but rather eternal and loving salvation. Jesus is truly a savior in the sense that his life and death do win men over to goodness and righteous survival. Jesus loves men so much that his love awakens the response of love in the human heart. Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. Jesus' death on the cross exemplifies a love which is sufficiently strong and divine to forgive sin and swallow up all evil-doing. Jesus disclosed to this world a higher quality of righteousness than justice--mere technical right and wrong. Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom. Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil. The forgiveness of Jesus is not condonation; it is salvation from condemnation. Salvation does not slight wrongs; it makes them right. True love does not compromise nor condone hate; it destroys it. The love of Jesus is never satisfied with mere forgiveness. The Master's love implies rehabilitation, eternal survival. It is altogether proper to speak of salvation as redemption if you mean this eternal rehabilitation. (188:5.2)

The citations at the end of the quotes will take you to the context of the quote.

A full and thorough examination of the life and teachings of Jesus can and does provide the best therapy for the heart, mind, and soul that we can experience here on earth. You can love your father, but you may not like him. You may forgive him but that does not absolve him of the pain he's caused you except that now your mind will no longer be compelled to dwell upon it.

Finally, here's another letter we answered along these lines some time ago. Maybe you'll see something in there that might also be helpful to you. Forgiveness is not an easy thing, especially when one has been so violated as you seem to have been. That impacts your life in a big way, and it takes a big decision to move forward and away from revenge, hurt, and all the rest of the emotions that come from dealing with such things...but it can be done

Thank you for your question and may God bless you."

:: Date published:
:: Author: Staff