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1. Reluctant or refusing to forgive: an unforgiving creditor.

2. Providing little or no opportunity to forestall undesired results or mistakes: an unforgiving computer program.

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Managing Anger in an Unforgiving World


My life is at the mercy of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion!” John Hunter (1700s), British physician known for his bad temper


This statement by John Hunter was prophetic. At a meeting of the board of St. Georges Hospital, he became involved in a heated argument, walked out and dropped dead of a heart attack.


We all know what anger is and we’ve all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage. Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems - problems at work, in your personal relationships and even your health.


Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a co-worker or supervisor), or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.


The Anger Trap In essence, anger is the feeling we get when we desire the world to be different and we don’t get our way.


Rodger Kamenetz, Professor at Louisiana State University, says anger becomes a “trap” when we lose control over its effects on us. This makes us prone to emotional outbursts and depression. And the anger that inspires some to violence in the workplace is no different than the anger that inspires acts of terror or brutality.


Kamenetz warns that anger is a feedback loop, “anger produces  further anger.” The idea that you should “let your anger out” is a dangerous myth. Even if anger is warranted, losing control of it can become destructive. Likewise, anger can cycle into violence.


Anger fed violence gets directed because, “anger needs an object,” says Kamenetz, “it's impossible to sustain our anger without an object.” This is why anger, violence and obsessive behavior are so often linked. Those who are caught in the anger trap, can’t see, in their rage, that violence is actually “turning themselves into what they hate.”


Are You Too Angry?


There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it.


Generally, you’re having anger problems when you develop a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that you can’t take things in stride. And you get particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.


Expressing anger


The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.


On the other hand, we can’t physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us. Laws, social norms and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive - not aggressive - manner is the healthiest way to express anger.


To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others. Dr. Lynne McClure, expert on anger management, subtitled one of her books “managing anger in an unforgiving world.”


Because we are, legitimately, victims sometimes, people often want to hold on to their anger. She says it can feel good, at least for a while, “because you feel so righteous and justified to be angry.”


But holding anger is dangerous in the long run. If your anger is with a person, talking things out can usually help. McClure explains that if the source of your anger is a “real issue,” something that can be depersonalized, then there’s a chance that a resolution can be found.


A good place to start is for both parties to identify and agree on the concerns they have in common. Angry people tend to jump to - and act on - conclusions. Don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.


Suppressing Anger


The danger is when your anger turns inward - on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression. Unexpressed anger can also lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on), or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile.


People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything and making cynical comments are exhibiting conduct brought on by trying to suppress their anger.


Calming Anger


Anger can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down and let the feelings subside.




Simple relaxation tools can help calm down angry feelings:


• Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won’t relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your “gut.”


• Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as “relax,” “take it easy.” Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.


• Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.


• Slow, non-strenuous, yoga or martial arts exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.


Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you’re in a tense situation.


Another relaxation strategy is to give yourself scheduled break times in your day. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes, “nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire.”  After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.


Cognitive Restructuring


Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you’re angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones.


For instance, instead of telling yourself, “oh, it’s awful, it’s terrible, everything’s ruined,” tell yourself, “it’s frustrating and it’s  understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world and getting angry isn't going to fix it anyhow.”


Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it’s justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is “not out to get you,” you’re just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you and it’ll help you get a more balanced perspective.


Angry people tend to demand things:

Everyone wants these things and we're all hurt and disappointed when we don’t get them; but when people demand them and when their demands aren’t met, their disappointment becomes anger.


People need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate it into reasonable expectations. Not every problem has a perfect solution. The best attitude, then, is to focus on how you handle and deal with the problem. Make a plan and check your progress along the way.


Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn’t come right away. Using a little silly humor with yourself can also help defuse rage before it starts.


If you can approach a problem with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you'll be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem doesn't get solved right away.


Do You Need Counseling?


If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it's having a negative impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better.


When you talk to a prospective therapist, ask about their approach to anger management. Make sure this isn’t only a course of action designed to “put you in touch with your feelings and express them” - that may be precisely what your problem is.


Remember, you can’t eliminate anger - and it wouldn’t be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it'll be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss and the unpredictable actions of others.


You can’t change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you.


For more information, contact the Michigan State Police Office of Behavioral Science, at 517-334-7745.

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Streets in America are unsafe & unforgiving for kids


Speeding cars, children darting into traffic, and streets without sidewalks place youth at risk on America's roads.


"We don't go walking on our street," says Evelyn Moe. "I don't even allow my kids out in the front yard unless I'm out there."


Moe and her husband, Mike, live in the county outside Sumner, Wash., about an hour and a half drive south of Seattle. Tulips and rhubarb grow in the fields near the 3-bedroom home where they are raising their two young boys: Kevin, 4 and Lyle, 2.


"The area that we live in is mostly a rural area with lots of farming nearby," 30-year-old Moe said. "Often, large trucks go by with rhubarb on the back and when that happens, basically, the whole house shakes."


The speed limit on the narrow two-lane street in front of the Moe's home is 35 miles an hour, but often vehicles whiz by exceeding 45. The street has no sidewalks nor shoulder for walking.


"There's just enough room for the cars to go by," Moe explained. "If you wanted to walk there, you'd be walking out in the muddy fields along the side of the road."


"The road winds too," she added, "so there are a lot of blind curves and cars can pop out all of a sudden going pretty fast."


David Perez lives on the other side of the United States from the Moes but has a similar problem: his street isn't safe for his kids either.


The street in front of his home in a tree-lined neighborhood in Durham, N.C. is used as a short-cut for commuters trying to gain a few extra minutes going to and from work.


The speed limit is 25 but people often exceed it, 37-year-old Perez said.


"This year a car ran into the front of the house on the opposite corner of where we live," he said. "The guy was going so fast that if it wasn't for a big tree in the yard, he probably would have ended up in the house."


These street conditions understandably make Perez and his wife, Melannie, nervous about allowing their 5-year-old son, Jordon, to play in the front yard. And unless something is done, the situation is only going to be worse when their 5-month-old daughter, Gabriel, learns to walk.


Making America Walkable


The complaints of the Moe and Perez families are not isolated examples. Rather, they are practically the norm in neighborhoods all across the United States these days.


But how does one person or one family or one community go about making the changes necessary to make our streets safer for our children and for pedestrians in general?


According to Jerry Scannell, president of the National Safety Council in Chicago, national awareness of the problem is the seed of change.


"I think people tend to think of themselves primarily as drivers and only incidentally as walkers and because we're not aware that we're pedestrians and that we deserve consideration, we accept conditions we shouldn't accept," he said. Priority needs to be given to providing places where we can walk safely."


Scannell is the chairman of the "Partnership for a Walkable America" -- a coalition of private, state and federal organizations from all across the United States who have come together with the common cause of increasing public awareness about the unquestionable need for our communities to be safer and more accessible for walkers. Another focus of the Partnership is to emphasize the healthiness of walking -- both the physical benefits it provides for those who do it and the social benefits communities reap from this activity.


In order for change to happen, the public is going to have to ask for it, said Partnership member Bill Wilkinson, who is also the director of the Pedestrian Federation of America in Washington D.C.

"The only thing that's going to make pedestrians be a priority is people getting out there and saying: "'This is not okay in the community I'm going to be living in. I want a place where I don't have to worry about my kids walking to school or me having to drive everywhere I want to go,'" he said. "The public doesn't have to have the answers. They just have to have the indignation to say: 'Excuse me, this isn't what I want. I want a transportation system that is a whole lot friendlier toward the community.'"


Children At Risk


The members of this growing partnership, which includes private, state and federal groups, are particularly concerned about the safety of child pedestrians.


According to figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), 806 children, ages 15 and younger were killed in pedestrian crashes in the United States in 1994. These data also show that on average, 10 boys and 5 girls, in that same age bracket, died each week in a pedestrian crash in 1994.


The incidence of injuries among children due to pedestrian crashes is even higher. Many of these injuries are also quite grave. The USDOT figures for that year show that 30,833 children, ages 15 and younger, were injured in pedestrian crashes. Those figures also show that 340 boys and 250 girls, ages 15 and younger, were injured each week in pedestrian crashes.


The injury and fatality rates for young pedestrians are troubling, but they can be changed, said Partnership member Dr. Alfred Farina, a research psychologist in charge of pedestrian and bicycle safety research for the USDOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Dr. Farina said kids need to be taught to be more careful around moving vehicles. He added that many programs to educate children to stop and look left, right and then left once more before entering the street have been successful in reducing the incidence of injury and death in young pedestrians.


"Kids are unacquainted with the dangers of the road and they also tend to think of adults as people who take care of children and that attitude may extend to how they think of drivers," Dr. Farina said.

"We did a study one time about the street crossing behaviors of kids, ranging in age from kindergartners to third graders," he said. What we found was that about 90% of the crossings made by young children were in error. "


One of the most common errors young children make, Dr. Farina said, is to a dart out" into the street without first checking left, right and then left again for traffic. In fact, 46% of the pedestrian crashes involving children, ages 5 through 14, can be attributed to "dart out" behavior.


Another factor contributing to child pedestrian crashes is that many parents tend to overestimate their child's ability to deal with street conditions, said John Moffat, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.


Moffat is a member of the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives, which is a member of the Partnership.


Pedestrian crashes are one of the biggest killers of children ages 5 to 9," he said. "That's because children often dart out into the road and by the time a driver detects them and is able to stop, it is often too late."


Parents Often Overestimate Cognitive Abilities Of Children


Allowing children to play unattended near a street is also dangerous, according Partnership member Richard Blomberg, the president of Dunlap & Associates in Stamford, Conn., a research organization that specializes in pedestrian safety research.


Parents often say to their children: 'Well, you can play outside, but don't leave the driveway,'" Blomberg said. "We tend to look at children as little adults and forget that they aren't fully developed yet. Their ability to localize sound isn't fully developed. Their judgment isn't fully developed. Their vision isn't fully developed. We as adults have to have an understanding of the limitations of a child."


Children are often so focused on their play activities that they don't notice cars, said Partnership member John Fegan, the bicycle and pedestrian program manager for the Office of the Secretary of the USDOT.


"If a ball or something rolls out into the street, they just run out after it without thinking about the cars," he said.


"Kids also don't have an appreciation foe the dynamics of how cars work," he added. "A car obviously just can't stop on a dime and kids don't have an understanding of that. I don't think they have a sense of the danger that a car could hit them. And they're rewarded for that belief and that behavior because most likely, they have run across the street many times and have not been hit by a car. But it only takes one time."


Changes That Can Help


Cars parked on streets are another safety hazard for children, according to Fegan.


"We know that children dart out and with parked cars, drivers can't see them," he said. "There are several things we can do to limit that hazard. One would be to change how cars park. Engineers could eliminate street parking or switch to angled parking on one side of the street. Another would be to lower the vehicle speed so there is more time to detect a child and reduce potential injuries if there's an unfortunate crash."


But lowering the vehicle speed assumes there will be adequate enforcement of the law. And removing parked cars from streets assumes developers and engineers will offer different kinds of housing and street designs than they do now.


Both these things and more can be accomplished, according to Partnership member Carol Tan Esse, program manager for pedestrian and bicycle safety research for the Federal Highway Administration.


"If people want a walkable community, they need to let the engineers and architects and developers know," she said. "In the end, the consumer dictates the market."


In Praise Of Sidewalks


According to Blomberg, many community developments these days simply aren't safe for children.


"I consult with several school districts to help make their school busing safer and some of the problems are zoning laws that don't make any sense," he said. "One of those laws is if you build 13 or fewer homes, you don't have to put in sidewalks. And if you add homes later, you still don't have to build sidewalks. So guess how many homes each developer builds initially? And then two years later, they're building another 5 or 10 homes and meanwhile, they're grandfathered and there are no sidewalks."


Many of these neighborhoods later have problems transporting children to school, Blomberg said. The roads there are narrow and winding with lots of blind curves and since they don't have sidewalks, children are forced to walk and wait for the bus in the road.


This problem is not isolated to Connecticut, said Partnership member Charles Zegeer, who is associate director of roadway studies at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. He also is a member of the Institute for Transportation Engineers, a Partner organization.


"In many areas of the country, sidewalks are kind of an exception rather than a rule and children are expected to walk to school or to the bus stop in roadways or ditches," he said.


Making our communities more walkable is a shared responsibility, according to Scannell.


Maybe one of the best messages that something like the Partnership can bring forward is that we all have got to come together and share responsibility for this, he said. "If parents did their part and schools did their part and traffic engineers and developers did their part - all of that over time would create a better environment and one in which our children would not only be safer, but come to value walking more."


This article was written for the Partnership for a Walkable America by Emily Smith of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
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Uncontrolled Anger Sequence


Everybody experiences their own anger in unique, individual ways. However, it's possible to identify some common features in the pattern of uncontrolled anger.


1. TRIGGERS: Something unpleasant happens, our buttons are pushed (perceived attack on our safety, power, pride, autonomy, esteem, etc.).


2. THOUGHTS: We evaluate others’ behavior, we think about what happened. Jerk! Unfair! Terrible! Awful! They shouldn’t do that!


3. FEELINGS: We respond emotionally to our thoughts and evaluations.  Hurt! Scared! Outraged! Attacked! Hopeless!


4. BEHAVIORS: We act out our feelings. Run! Withdraw! Cry! Fight! Attack! Revenge!


5. CONSEQUENCES: The consequences of our acting out can escalate our anger and the cycle continues.

Chapter 14 Guilt and Forgiveness

We must discover what we are looking for inside not outside of ourselves. We all have an inner peace we can learn to consciously access.

External rational thought creates external feelings.

Internal conscious thought accesses internal feelings.

Spiritual Intelligence Inventory

1. Most people find the hardest person to forgive is themselves. True or False?

2. Some people have done things that cause them to never feel forgiven. True or False?

3. Some children cannot forgive their parents because of what they did. True or False?

4. When you cannot forgive another, they control you. True or False?

5. To forgive means not to blame others for your hurt and anger. True or False?

6. Some people feel guilty because others get angry with them. True or False?

7. Some people will always feel guilty because of what they did. True or False?

Who Owns You?

Scripture says, "If you do not forgive others, neither will God forgive you." Matt 6;14 Guilt and unforgiveness go together because a person feeling unforgiven feels guilt.

When a person cannot forgive themselves they generally have someone else they cannot forgive. As long as their hand is in a fist holding onto the other person, they cannot receive what they most want.

It is only by opening their hand and to give real forgiveness that freedom from guilt can come. The best definition of forgiveness is "not blaming others for our pain." When we stop blaming others, we can begin to let it go.

The Oprah Winfrey show had three women who had been raped. They had become Christians and had forgiven their rapists. To Oprah's and all of our shock, none of them had taken the men to court. Forgiveness does not mean saying what these men did was right. They were wrong and should spend a good time in prison for their crime. Forgiveness is a matter of letting yourself go, not letting others go.

Another woman who was raped was asked by an interviewer whether she was still affected by the rape. She said, "Hell, no! I gave that man thirty minutes of my life and I am not going to give him any more."

After I finished talking about forgiveness at a conference, a women came to me and said, "How can I forgive?" She related how her daughter was brutally raped and murdered by a man who was later convicted was now spending the rest of his life in prison. "Whenever I think of him, what he did to my daughter, and the terrible tragic loss of my only child, I feel bitterness, anger, deep sorrow, unforgiveness, and pain. I suffer ever day of my life over what she must have gone through." I asked her, "Do you want this man to own you?" She jumped back as if hit by an electric shock and with an angry voice said "Certainly not!" I answered, "Well, he does own you, and until you can let it go and not blame him for your pain, anger, and suffering, he will continue to own you."

Confession without Repentance: (The Scapegoat Problem)

The problem with forgiveness is that people are looking for forgiveness without repentance. It's called "Scapegoating" and it wont work.

Scapegoating comes from the Old Testament times when during the Day of Atonement the high priest would confess the sins of Israel on the horns of a goat. The goat was them set free to escape into the wilderness with the sins of Israel on its head. This seemed to give a certain amount of relief to the people, but it didn't last very long. The pain of the sin came back. So they decided to tie a scarlet ribbon on the horns of the goat. When it was bleached out their sin would surely be forgiven. But this also took too long. They then decided to toss the goat off the cliff feeling that its death would bring a sense of total forgiveness. The problem was the goat didn't always die, and this wounded goat with a broken leg would be wandering around the wilderness with the sins of Israel attached to it. Finally they decided they would just kill the goat, but this didn't seem to work either.

Today we consider ourselves more civilized than this primitive way of trying to get rid of our guilt, yet we are doing the same thing today with capital punishment.

A prison chaplain many years ago told of how when they would execute a person in Chicago, people would gather around the prison, which was on a hill with a road surrounding the walls. At midnight the lights dimmed and the people would go quietly away. (Actually, the lights never dimmed – the people only thought they did. The lights were on a separate power supply.) In effect the people were dumping their anger, guilt, and pain on a violent criminal and were finding a brief kind of respite. But, as with the ancient Jews, this respite just would not last very long.

Their problem was that there was no change on the inside. They would continue creating the same pain, guilt and anger. Soon they would have to find another person to dump on. Sometimes the "other" would be a spouse, child or innocent bystander. The problem was the sin continued because there was no repentance. Repentance, a Greek word "metanoia" meaning to change "meta" the nous" mind, way of thinking, or attitude. You cannot just confess sins and receive forgiveness, but not have a change of mind if you expect it to last.

As a matter of fact, you need to change your mind first, then comes the sense of forgiveness, and then the confession. Without a change of mind, it is still the same old Scapegoat problem.

If people think, "I won't be happy until they get rid of Saddam Hussein," Saddam then controls their lives.

The inverse of this is true. it would be possible to be happy even if they never get rid of Saddam. It is a sad thing when you hear the family of a brutally murdered child say they will not have closure until the murderer is executed. The problem here is that they are pinning their hopes on having closure and freedom from the pain on the execution. After the murderer is executed they will still have the same pain, but even greater because their hopes are dashed. They will perhaps say "I do not understand what closure is."

Spiritual Intelligence Test

The one thing that controls our spiritual intelligence is unforgiveness. There are three questions we can ask ourselves to test our spiritual intelligence.

First, "Do you think you can not forgive one person and not have it effect your entire life?" If you believe this, you have low spiritual intelligence. Unforgiveness is like breaking an arm. You do not want any one to hit you again nor do you want them getting too close to the injury. If they do get close you may try to warn them by exploding, telling them of your pain and anger. The problem is when you are controlled by your unforgiveness, no one can see it. They don`t know what you are getting upset about, or why you are yelling, They get defensive, yell back and you have the start of a long-lasting argument.

In my counseling I have found an old wound, perhaps some abuse by a parent that is unforgiven, will impact marriage, family, personal, and business relationships. Sometimes the wound is so deep, it is buried. It may take years of counseling just to dig it up.

However, a person can save hours of counseling and thousands of dollars if they are willing to start consciously practicing one thing: forgiveness. Forgiveness is like a healing unction that permeates deep into the life of the soul.

The second question is, "Are you willing to forgive?" If the answer is "No", you have low spiritual intelligence.

The problem is most people do not know what forgiveness means, but they think they do. If they knew truly what it meant, they would want to do it.

It is important to have a working, personal definition of forgiveness, not one someone else told you. A biblical definition of forgiveness can be summarized by the phrase, "Whosoever sins you forgive they are forgiven. And whosoever sins you do not forgive, they are not forgiven."

First of all this does not mean if you don’t forgive someone, they are not forgiven. Understanding the grammatical construction can help. The word "whosoever" modifies "sin". "They" therefore refers to the sin not to the person.

The actual Greek work for "forgive" should be translated "release". Then this passage

would read, "Whosoever sins you release, they are released and whosoever sins you retain, they are retained". If you refuse to let go of the pain, hurt and anger, you naturally will continue to have pain, hurt and anger.

The final question is, "Do you think the reason you feel hurt is because of what happened?" If so, you have a very low spiritual intelligence score.

The litmus test as to whether you have forgiven someone or not would be if you believe every time you think of what happened you feel hurt. If you do not have to feel hurt and angry -- you have forgiven.

Forgiveness is a choice, and we can choose which we want to believe.

The truth is, at times we feel more hurt than at other times. And the mood we are in does make a difference.

When we feel secure, loved and happy, we see events differently than when we feel insecure, unhappy and unloved. This being true, the event does not cause the pain or anger, but our perspective of the event.

Whenever we think of what happened, we do not have to feel angry – that it is possible to be at peace. Then we can become open to the presence of the peace that is within us. We find what is called "closure." This can enables us to be free and healed of our wounds both known and unknown

Guilt from past mistakes we have made can cause us to be powerless every time we think of what we did. No matter how much we try to make amends, we are still are powerless to be rid of the guilt. Somehow it never seems to balance out. We always wind up owing someone for something they caused. Guilt, however, is not caused by the event or by those who will not forgive you. It is caused by our perspective.

The final level is the most important one to understand. It would be possible, just possible, to think of what happened and still be at peace. Once we reach this level of understanding, we are on the road to closure.

Consider the fact that at times you have felt more guilty than other times. This is always true. Next, reflect on times when the mood you are in made a difference. Sometimes in a low mood you can chew on the guilt and the deed. In a high mood, it is easier to walk away from.

Now consider this truth: You do not always have to feel guilty every time you think about the event?

Once you realize this, it follows that it would be possible to be at peace whenever you think of what you did.

That is why understanding the five levels of truth is so important.

They can be helpful to leading a person to repentance, to change our way of thinking. They can enable us to understand forgiveness and find closure.

Now check your answers and see if you have any change of heart.


1. Most people find the hardest person to forgive is themselves.

False- Most people have a hard time forgiving themselves if they have someone else they cannot forgive.

2. Some people have done things that cause them to never feel forgiven.

False- They can't change what was done, but they can change how they think about what was done.

3. Some children cannot forgive their parents because of what they did.

False- Change the way they are thinking and they change their ability to forgive.

4. When you cannot forgive another, they control you.

True- Blaming others for your pain puts them in control of you.

5. To forgive means not to blame others for your hurt and anger

True- Letting go of the blame is what forgiveness is about.

6. Some people feel guilty because others get angry with them.

False- They think that is why they feel guilty.

7. Some people will always feel guilty because of what they did.

True- It`s their choice, but why do it

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Can God Forgive Abortions?

Posted in: Healing after Abortion
By Randy Alcorn
Millions of women and men, both in society and in the church, are suffering under the guilt of abortion. Nearly 1 out of 5 women getting an abortion identifies herself as an evangelical Christian.* This means a quarter of a million abortions are performed on Christians each year. Many of the fathers of these children are also part of our churches.

If you're a woman who's had an abortion, or advised another to have one, this chapter is for you. If you're a man who's been involved in an abortion decision - whether it concerned your girlfriend, wife, daughter, or anyone it's also for you.

It's counterproductive to try to eliminate guilt feelings without dealing with guilt's cause. Others may say, "You have nothing to feel guilty about," but you know better. Only by denying reality can you avoid guilt feelings. Denial sets you up for emotional collapse whenever something reminds you of the child you once carried. You need a permanent solution to your guilt problem, a solution based on reality, not pretense.

Because the Bible offers that solution, I will quote from it. Ask your pastor, women's group leader, or a Christian friend or family member, to help you understand.

The Work of Christ

The good news is that God loves you and desires to forgive you for your abortion, whether or not you knew what you were doing. But before the good news can be appreciated, we must know the bad news. The bad news is there's true moral guilt, and all of us are guilty of many moral offenses against God, of which abortion is only one. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Sin is falling short of God's holy standards. It separates us from a relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin deceives us, making us think that wrong is right and right is wrong (Proverbs 14:12). "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Jesus Christ, God's Son, loved us so much that He became a member of the human race to deliver us from our sin problem (John 3:16). He identified with us in our weakness, without being tainted by our sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16). Jesus died on the cross as the only one worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by God's holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21). He rose from the grave, defeating sin and conquering death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 54-57).

When Christ died on the cross for us, He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The Greek word translated "it is finished" was written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant "paid in full." Christ died to fully pay our debt.

Full Forgiveness

Because of Christ's work on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness. Here are just a few of those offers:

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities....
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him (
Psalm 103:10-14).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

A Gift that Can't be Earned

Salvation is a gift - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). This gift cannot be worked for, earned, or achieved. It's not dependent on our merit or effort, but solely on Christ's sacrifice for us.

God offers us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life, but it's not automatically ours. In order to have the gift, we must choose to accept it.

You may think, "But I don't deserve forgiveness after all I've done." That's exactly right. None of us deserves forgiveness. If we deserved it, we wouldn't need it. That's the point of grace. Christ got what we deserved on the cross, so we could get what we don't deserve - a clean slate, a fresh start.

Once forgiven, we can look forward to spending eternity with Christ and our spiritual family (John 14:1-3; Revelation 20:11-22:6). You can look forward to being reunited in heaven with your loved ones covered by Christ's blood, including the child you lost through abortion (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

No Need to Dwell on Past Sins

A promiscuous woman wept at Christ's feet, kissed them, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus said to a judgmental bystander, "Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven - for she loved much" (Luke 7:47). Jesus offers the same forgiveness to all of us.

God doesn't want you to go through life punishing yourself for your abortion or for any other wrong you have done. Your part is to accept Christ's atonement, not to repeat it. Jesus said to an immoral woman, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 7:47-50). Women rejected by society came to Jesus, and He welcomed them with compassion and forgiveness.

No matter what you've done, no sin is beyond the reach of God's grace. He has seen us at our worst and still loves us. There are no limits to his forgiving grace. And there is no freedom like the freedom of forgiveness.

You may feel immediately cleansed when you confess your sins, or you may need help working through it. Either way, you're forgiven. You should try to forget what lies behind and move on to a positive future made possible by Christ (Philippians 3:13-14). Whenever we start feeling unforgiven, it's time to go back to the Bible and remind ourselves, and each other, of God's forgiveness.

Joining a group for post-abortion healing can help you immensely. There are post-abortion Bible studies designed for women, and others for men. Many online resources can help you find the support group you need.*

Forgiveness Followed by Right Choices

Many women who've had abortions carry understandable bitterness toward men who used and abused them, toward parents who pressured them, and toward those who misled them into a choice that resulted in their child's death. God expects us to take the forgiveness He's given us and extend it to others (Matthew 6:14-15).

You need to become part of a therapeutic community, a family of Christians called a church. (If you're already in a church, share your abortion experience with someone to get the specific help you need.) You may feel self-conscious around Christians because of your past. You shouldn't. A true Christ-centered church isn't a showcase for saints but a hospital for sinners. You won't be judged and condemned for sins Christ has forgiven. The people you're joining are just as human and just as imperfect as you. Most church people aren't self-righteous. Those who are should be pitied because they don't understand God's grace.

A good church will teach the truths of the Bible, and will provide love, acceptance, and support for you. If you cannot find such a church in your area, contact our organization and we'll gladly help you.

A healthy step you can take is to reach out to women experiencing unwelcome pregnancies. God can eventually use your experience to equip you to help others and to share with them God's love. My wife and I have a number of good friends who've had abortions. Through their caring pro-life efforts they've given to other women the help they wish someone had given them. Telling their stories has not only saved children's lives, and mothers from the pain of abortion, but has helped bring healing to them. It can do the same for you.

Adapted from Randy Alcorn's book Why ProLife? (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004).

by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org, www.randyalcorn.blogspot.com

The Unforgiving Complexity Of Teaching

Avoiding Simplicity In The Age Of Accountability

Marilyn Cochran-Smith



The current unprecedented emphasis on teaching quality emerged from the standards and accountability movement of the 1990's. From the beginning, the issue of “teaching quality” was framed as part of the larger movement to make schools, school districts and teachers more responsible and accountable for students’ learning.


As a policy matter, a political priority and in public opinion polls, teaching quality and teacher accountability are now inextricably tied.


For example, the most recent Hart-Teeter poll, commissioned by the Educational Testing Service (Hart & Teeter, 2002), is entitled “A National Priority: Americans Speak on Teacher Quality.” This bipartisan public opinion survey found that even since September 11, improving education is a top priority for American adults, with only family values and fighting terrorism ranked higher. The link between teaching quality and teaching accountability is crystal clear in the poll’s highlights:

  • The public strongly supports standards and accountability. Although Americans support measures to raise teacher quality, they continue to insist on reforms that raise standards and accountability for both students and teachers.
  • All groups recognize that the quality of teaching determines the quality of education. Americans want more and better teachers in the nation’s schools. . . . 9 in 10 (91%) adults support offering more training programs so teachers can continue to learn and become better teachers. (Hart & Teeter, 2002, p. 2)

The poll also indicates that Americans are willing to pay higher taxes for better teachers - including improved working conditions, higher salaries and ongoing professional development - as long as these are linked to greater accountability. Along these lines, more than 73% of adults surveyed favored testing student achievement and holding teachers and schools responsible for their scores and 70% wanted teachers tested on subject knowledge and skills.


There's little debate in the education community about the assertion that quality of teaching and teacher preparation ought to be defined (at least in part) in terms of student learning. Few question the idea that the public has a right to expect that how teachers are prepared has something to do with what they know, how they teach and what and how much their students learn. There are also few who question the assertion that higher education institutions ought to take some of the responsibility for these connections.


Increasingly, however, the accountability bottom line - higher scores on standardized student achievement tests - is the singular focus of state and federal policies related to teaching quality and teacher preparation and a major focus of external funders and professional accrediting agencies that deal with teacher preparation. Increasingly, teaching quality and students’ learning are equated with high-stakes test scores. It's this simplistic equating that is problematic rather than the larger notion of accountability itself.


The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2001 established an unprecedented and greatly enlarged federal role in educational matters previously considered the purview of the states &/or of the educational community.


ESEA legislates mandatory annual statewide testing of K-12 students in multiple subject areas and requires that schools hire only “highly qualified” teachers, certified through traditional or alternate routes and with passing scores on state teacher certification tests. As Richard Elmore (2002) rightly points out, ESEA also cements into law the equating of teaching quality and student learning with scores on high-stakes tests:


The federal government further mandates a single definition of adequate yearly progress, the amount by which schools must increase their test scores in order to avoid some sort of sanction . . . the law sets a single target date by which all students must exceed a state defined proficiency level. . . . Thus the federal government is now accelerating the worst trend of the current accountability movement: that performance based accountability has come to mean testing alone. (p. 35)


Policies intended to improve teaching quality can only be as good as the underlying conceptions of teaching, learning and schooling on which they're based. Unfortunately, as a number of critics (including myself) have argued (Cochran-Smith, 2001; Earley, 2000; Engel, 2000), many current policies and policy recommendations share narrow - and some would say impoverished - notions of teaching and learning that don't account for the complexities that are at the heart of the educational enterprise in a democratic society.


Oddly enough, a book about writing - Anne Lamott’s (1994) Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - is helpful along these lines. In her chapter on the “moral point of view,” Lamott advises writers to avoid simple oppositions in their development of plots and characters:


I used to think that paired opposites were a given, that love was the opposite of hate, right the opposite of wrong. But now I think we  sometimes buy into these concepts because it's so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality. [Now] I don’t think anything is the opposite of love. Reality is unforgivingly complex [emphasis added]. (p. 104)


Lamott admonishes writers not to avoid the intense complexity of real life but to embrace it and write with passion about its biggest questions.


Although in a different way, Lamott’s advice about how to write applies equally well to how we need to conceptualize teaching quality if we're ultimately to understand, assess and improve it. Teaching is unforgivingly complex. It isn't simply good or bad, right or wrong, working or failing. Although absolutes and dichotomies such as these are popular in the headlines and in campaign slogans, they're limited in their usefulness.


They tacitly assume there's consensus across our diverse society about the purposes of schooling and what it means to be engaged in the process of becoming an educated person as well as consensus about whose knowledge and values are of most worth and what counts as evidence of the effectiveness of teaching and learning. They ignore almost completely the nuances of “good” (or “bad”) teaching of real students collected in actual classrooms in the context of particular times and places.


They mistake reductionism for clarity, myopia for insight. And, as Elmore (2002) suggests, they “utterly fail” (p. 35) to appreciate the institutional realities and complexities of accountability in various schools and school districts as well as in particular states.


As teachers - and teacher educators - we must be held accountable for our work. But measures of this work can't be determined by narrow conceptions of teaching quality and student learning that focus exclusively on test scores and ignore the incredible complexity of teaching and learning and the institutional realities inherent in the accountability context.


Part of what we need in teacher education right now are efforts to be responsible and responsive to the concerns of the public, to acknowledge the exigencies of public policy and to preserve complexity in the press for accountability. Such efforts need to transcend rhetoric and clearly demonstrate that we're taking responsibility for examining our programs in order to assess and ultimately strengthen the performance of our graduates and their students in K-12 schools.


One such initiative is the Ohio Partnership for Accountability (OPA), which is a consortium of Ohio’s 51 teacher preparation institutions, the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents (Ohio Accountability Project, 2002).


The 5-year project combines 3 studies to examine the relationships among features of teacher preparation, school  students’ performances on standardized tests as well as their broader learning and multiple systems of accountability.


OPA relies on a mixed-methods approach, combining K-12 student data based on value-added assessment techniques, prospective teacher data intended to identify differing configurations of their teacher preparation experiences and experienced teacher data about classroom discourse patterns and instructional practices that are linked with both the development of higher order thinking processes and teacher effectiveness as measured by value added techniques.


The significance and strength of this project isn't simply that it links 3 distinct but interrelated studies in order to preserve the complexity of teaching quality, teacher preparation, student learning, and multiple accountability contexts, although this is certainly a  central and critical feature of its design.


The worth of the project is also derived from its success (so far) in bringing to the table:

(a) a multi-institutional research team with interests in many aspects of teaching quality and teacher preparation and with expertise in multiple research methods

(b) an advisory board that includes representatives from all of the relevant Ohio stake holders 

(c) a national external review panel that quite intentionally includes those with diverse methodological and ideological positions.

The Ohio initiative isn't the perfect research study nor the perfect accountability project that asks all of the significant questions about the exceedingly important issues of teaching quality and teacher preparation. Of course, no project ever is or ever could be. But this project, which is still in the planning stages, represents the kind of effort it'll take for institutions to be accountable while honoring  complexity. Einstein is reported to have said that everything should be as simple as possible - but no simpler.


The position in this editorial isn't that the teacher education community should avoid simplicity merely because we prefer the elegance and sophistication of more complex models. Rather, we must avoid what's too simple - isomorphic equations between teaching quality and test scores and between student learning and test scores  because they're grossly inadequate to the task of understanding (and ultimately improving) teaching & learning in a diverse but democratic society in the 21st century.



Cochran-Smith, M. (2001). The outcomes question in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(5), 527-546.

Earley, P. (2000). Finding the culprit: Federal policy and teacher education. Educational Policy, 14(1), 25-39.

Elmore, R. F. (2002). Testing trap. Harvard Magazine, 105(1), 35.

Engel, M. (2000). The struggle for control of public education: Market ideology vs. democratic values. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Hart, P. D.,&Teeter, R.M. (2002). Anational priority: Americans speak on teacher quality. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Lamott, A. (1994). Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life. New York: Anchor Books.

Ohio Accountability Project. (2002, September 23). Teacher education and student achievement in complex contexts of  accountability.

Dayton:OhioPartnership for Accountability.

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