Key to forgiveness: Find the person’s goodness, says priest

Key to forgiveness: Find the person’s goodness, says priest

From left, Fr. John Era with Radio Veritas anchor Fr. Joel Saballa, CFIC, during Monday’s “Hello Father 911” program. COURTESY OF ANNALIZA BRUCE

By Minnie Agdeppa

June 6, 2010

Manila, Philippines

Having difficulty forgiving someone?

Speaking at Radio Veritas program on Monday, Fr. John Era, CM, said that finding what is good in the person who hurt you can help bring forgiveness.

“The most important thing for us to learn how to forgive is to see the positive side (of a person),” said Fr. Era, former De Paul House Director of Studies.

“When you see what’s positive in a person, it will become easier for you to forgive,” he said.

Fr. Era pointed out that some people find it hard to forgive “because they only see what’s negative and ugly” about the person who offended them”.

The priest was responding to a letter sent to “Hello Father 911” program from a person having difficulty with his father.

Fr. Era cited situations in the family where forgiveness comes easy when members are able to see what’s beautiful with each other.

“So when we broaden our minds, we would say that ‘Dad is grumpy because he is tired—because he has a lot of problems’. It becomes then easy for us to forgive our loved ones in situations when they say hurtful words,” he explained.

He also advised those having difficulty forgiving others to first and foremost be easy on themselves.

According to him, there are some instances that it is really hard to forgive instantly.

“Forgiveness is a process especially when the offense done to us is grave. Thus, the very first thing one must do is to forgive oneself that one is unable to forgive yet,” he added.

Aside from forgiveness, Fr. Era also taught the people on the use of “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” since the topic for the June 3 episode was “How To Correct Oneself From Negative Thoughts”.

He provided CBT as a means to manage one’s negative thoughts and to keep oneself from toxic people and circumstances.

Entitled “iSpeak: Hear the Youth Speak”, the said episode airs every first Monday of the month as part of the Novaliches diocese’s segment in the program.

Fr. Era holds a doctorate in International Psychology/Trauma and Services from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.