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My parents have a long history of forgetting things pretty quickly and forgiving people. It's a very good-in fact great—habit, but I at times disagree with them as "A Believer should not get stung from same hole twice" and have often found them on receiving end of forgiving people who didn't deserve this.

Recently, some acquaintance insulted them merely couple of months ago - I got furious, though my parents calmed me on the promise that "We will never go to their home nor they will enter our home" but couple of days ago, they called my parents and apologized and they (my parents) forgot everything and hosted them.

Now I am pretty annoyed at my parents (only parents) for simply forgiving (more of forgetting part is painful) such a big thing as if nothing has happened. So can I be angry at them to make them realize their mistake?

  • This is making more sense now. Can you explain what exactly you think there mistake was? Is it purely related to "should not be stung from the same hole twice"? – Erik Sep 8 '17 at 8:05
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    @TalhaIrfan If it was just a single instance of losing their temper then it sounds pretty much like a normal quarrel, but if you think it is a symptom of a larger pattern of behavior then I suppose the risk of it happening again must be weighed against the perceived benefits of a friendship, and all you can really do is advise your parents about what you assess the risk to be. I think being angry at them might be understandable but I don't think it would help them "realize their mistake" as they may simply view the risks differently. – Darren Sep 8 '17 at 13:13
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    I've created this account just to ask this so bear with me... Do you believe that once someone has committed an offence (be it a "true" crime or not) they cannot be rehabilitated? By that I mean can anyone ever atone for and overcome their sins in your mind? Forgiving is a two way street, we have prisons so that criminals may be rehabilitated and rejoin society and so that society can forgive and forget and they do far worse than disrespecting. In forgiving your parents allow these people a second chance and rehabilitate them, is that so wrong or should we execute all of our criminals? – MD-Tech Sep 8 '17 at 13:38
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    What kind of insult was it? There are many different kinds of insults. – corsiKa Sep 8 '17 at 15:27
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    Can you explain why you are involved? They were insulted, not you. They accepted the apology - you are not in a position to either accept or reject the apology. So why is it important to you that they reject the apology? How and why are you involved? This will help me to formulate an answer for you. If your feelings were hurt, perhaps they should also apologize to you, and you can then reject it and prevent them from coming to your house, or you going to theirs. But I don't see how your parent's choice to accept it hurts you, so if you can explain this to me it would be helpful. – Adam Davis Sep 8 '17 at 16:01
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You have every right to be angry right now, but make sure you don't stick with it for too long. Someone insulted your parents, and your parents let him/her get away with it. This puts them at risk of being insulted again by the same person, because the acquaintance now must think he can get away with it. At least, that's how it might feel to you. I myself at least always feel that way when something like that happens to my parents, and they afterwards say it is no big deal/ it's forgiven.

I've read the Hadith you linked to your question. I do not hold the islamic faith myself, but here is what I read:

  • The poet did something wrong.
  • The Prophet forgave the poet, warned him not to do so again, and set him free.
  • Upon being set free, the poet immediately returned to his wrongdoings again: fighting and censuring the Prophet.

So, an important thing to ask, before resulting to this Hadith, is to ask yourself: Has the acquaintance insulted your parents before? If not, this might very well be the reason why your parents forgave him/her in the first place.

I would suggest having a good talk with your parents about this. Just explain your anger in terms of worry:

Mom/Dad, I noticed you forgave our acquaintance his bad behavior. I am worried this puts you in a vulnerable position where this acquaintance will soon be back to insult you even more. May I ask why you forgave him? And how should I feel about it in relation to < the Hadith you mentioned >? What can you teach me about forgiveness?

Hopefully, such a conversation will put your mind at ease, and confirm that your parents are capable of setting healthy boundaries on their own.

Coming from a culture where forgiving is a big deal, I often noticed my parents forgiving people things that I thought would come back to haunt them later. I later learned that this forgiveness was not given unconditionally: They made sure that the other person knew they did something wrong, before forgiving them.

Your parents not contacting the acquaintance for a few months was probably enough for him/her to realize that some wrong was done. That's why the acquaintance came to apologize. I'd trust your parents on this, that the apology contained enough remorse and knowledge of what was done wrong to warrant their forgiveness.

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Forgiving is a noble act and sometimes not easy. Since you are from a very different country in a cultural way than I am, this might sound weird to you, but consider this: Verbal insults are nothing more than words. In the end, words are just wind. If someone insults me (or tries to), usually I smile and respond in a way, that shows that I understand the persons anger or hate.

If you want to stop a person from hating or insulting you, well don't fight back but instead show them that there is nothing to hate about.

So if your parents don't to 'punish' this acquaintance for insulting somehow, it is still not certain, that the person will insult them again.

7

I appreciate that there is some religious/cultural aspect involved here, but will try to answer it from pure logic.

So can I be angry at them to make them realize their mistake?

  • A: Being angry seldom helps anyone,
  • B: it is unclear whether it is a mistake,
  • C: they are autonomous, souvereign entities the same way you are.

So. Let's take this apart:

A: Even if you do decide that they are doing a mistake, and that they are not entitled to act on their own but that you must force your view on them, then anger will most certainly not help you. I don't know your parents, but from your question I'd expect them to be either indifferent or sad about your anger. I actually have never known anyone who was influenced in a positive way by anger. There is a slight chance to change other people by leading with positive example and such, but I don't really see how you can do this in this case.

B: Not every human will accept your view that forgivenness, even too eager forgivenness, is an error. You will most certainly find humans who forgive everything in the very second it happens. Speaking from experience, forgiving (all religious aspects aside) is very healthy for the psyche of the person doing it. On the other hand, holding a grudge and being angry can lead to very unhealthy results. So before you try to change your parents, you should really think this true and think about whether it won't do more harm in the end. Yes on the surface it may appear to you that they run the risk of getting fooled by the same evil persons more than once. But it may well be that their mental health would be much worse off if you somehow manage to change them.

C: Even if you do convince yourself that being angry is a worthwhile route to changing them, and that being forgiving is a mistake, you still have to consider that if you are entitled to decide your actions to be this, then they are entitled to decide their own actions and behaviour as well. Or, other way round, if you decide that they are not entitled to be treated as self-complete beings, then you are, by extensions not entitled either. So you are not entitled to try to change them, anyways.

TL;DR: be gentle, love your parents, and let them do as they wish. They are not harming you; and if they harm themselves, that is their prerogative as adult human beings. Be strong and supportive with them, not angry, and help them when they need help, not when you decide that they need it.

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From your question, it seems that your parents are ready to forgive and forget easily because maybe they believe others might change.

Different people have different way of handling things. You might disapprove of their actions, but for them they should handle things in a certain way. Until they themselves feel that their way is bad, they will not change.

You're angry at them for not understanding that certain people are unworthy of their kindness. You are trying to be protective. That is okay, it is fine. But you can't just ask them to change their ways because you feel its wrong. They should be able to see that it is wrong.

They see some other value in forgiving people. Ask them what is that. If you can convince them otherwise, then they will change or your view point might end up changing also. But being angry will not help.

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Sure, you can be angry at your parents, however, please consider the following:

  1. You might be confusing forgetting with forgiving (you seem to be using them interchangeably)
  2. Just because YOU think YOUR parents are wrong, does NOT mean that they are, indeed wrong
  3. Forgiveness is a very difficult concept to learn and apply to life, and can help your parents to NOT be stressed by things that don't really matter
  4. Don't sweat the small stuff, words are just words
  5. Discuss your feelings with your parents, to gain a perspective from their point of view
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Yes. You can be angry at your parents, but it won't help you or your parents.

It is better to ask them why they accepted the apology. From this point you can discuss it and attempt to understand their reasoning. Your parents, by definition have more experience in this world than yourself. If all goes well you might learn something.

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    Your answer, while basically correct, confuses "years lived" with "experience". Parents don't have more experience by definition, they're just older by definition. – Erik Sep 8 '17 at 8:59
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    Kindly try to expand this answer a bit. – Failed Scientist Sep 8 '17 at 10:46
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first let me say to you that you are a good person because you cannot stand anyone hurting your parents in anyway. Bad people have no respect for their parents. You want to be angry at your parents not because you dislike them, but because you cannot stand and watch your parents take people's hits all the time.

Your desire for anger does not stem from hate, but from love. I don't know your parents but I believe they are good people because it takes great strength and a good heart to forgive offenses all the time, even from the same offenders every now and then.

Maybe you perceive your parents' forgiveness as a weakness which may result in greater pain for them later in life, but from my bitter experience in life, anger and vengeance in any kind is a KILLER, even though they may seem like very just ways to restore the things you've lost. Peace in life is not found in the chaos or complications of hate, revenge or fear. It is found in the simplicity of kindness, forgiveness and contentment with what you have.

And I believe your parents realize that and therefore are always forgiving, because they know where peace really is and I know peace is also what you truly want for them too. Take care bro and whatever you do in life, don't try to learn things the hard way or else you will just end up in pain and regrets written in ink.

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Every person has a certain nature and one cannot always understand/accept their ways and means of living their lives. Your parents prefer to let bygones be bygones and move on with their lives.

Now you find this approach isn't right, specifically in the above case. So, go talk to your parents about what did you find wrong about it and how do you think it should be handled. Explain your point and ask them why they chose to forgive that person. Try to understand their perspective. Sometimes, the picture is bigger than we perceive it to be. Just saying.

Any which way, you will get your answer as to why they did it and you can always set boundaries so as to handle such situations better in the future. As in set a threshold up to which you will be ready to forgive the person but beyond which you will choose to walk away. Come to an agreement with your parents on this threshold and then ensure that they stick to it.

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You can be angry at them, but you should only clamly explain your position, for them to do with as they wish.

Two things to consider:

First, If this was a first time thing with the acquaintance, forgiveness, in my opinion, would be appropriate, especially if the apology was sincere. You do not go into detail there so we can only speculate.

Also consider that their forgiveness my have motivated from within (more about your parents than about the person insulting them). The act of forgiveness has several direct benefits to your parents:

  1. The act of forgiving can sometime serve as a way of "letting go of the issue". It may be your parent's way of moving on. They may have determined that the harm to them from harboring the ill-feelings is greater than the potential risk or harm from being insulted again. Harboring resentment can be extremely draining of energy and can be a source of stress for some, so forgiveness is a way of dealing with this.
  2. The person doing the forgiving is sometimes seen as "taking the high road" e.g. being self-confident enough to move on, and not take it personally, etc. can be seen as a virtue, and is sometimes a sign of being resilient. Whereas, holding a grudge (e.g. not forgiving) can be seen as petty and less virtuous.

I generally try to consider these things when I am in similar situations. With that said, know that I do place a high value on resolving conflict. To me, the ongoing conflict and ill-will is often worse than the hurt from the initial incident. Remember, holding a grudge can consume tremendous amounts of energy, sometimes it can be better for one's self to just move on (via forgiveness).

If they were to do it again and again, the alternative to forgiveness is just to cut them loose altogether and move on. But this seems harsh for a first occurrence.

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