I said, 'Jill, are you willing to look at this situation differently?'"
Radical Forgiveness, Part 3
However, after the second day of verbally going round and
round about Jill's problem, I decided the time was near for me to try
the Radical Forgiveness approach. This required my sister opening to the
possibility that something beyond the obvious was happening -- something
purposeful, divinely guided and intended for her highest good. Yet,
since she was so committed to being the "victim" in the
situation, I was not sure I could get her to hear an interpretation of
Jeff's behavior that would take her out of that role.
Just as my sister began yet another repetition of what she had said the
day before, I intervened. Tentatively, I said, "Jill, are you
willing to look at this situation differently? Would you consider
letting go of how you are thinking for just a few hours and trying on a
completely different way of looking at this situation?"
She looked at me quizzically, as if she were wondering, "How can
there possibly be another interpretation? It is how it is!"
However, I have a certain track record with Jill; I helped her solve a
previous relationship problem. This had developed in her enough trust
that she now replied, "Well, yes. I guess so. What do you have in
I had my opening. "What I'm going to say may sound strange, but try
not to question it until I have finished. Just stay open to the
possibility that what I am saying is true, and see whether or not my
words make sense to you in any way at all."
Until this time, John had done his best to stay attentive to Jill, but
the constant repetitive conversation about Jeff had begun to bore him
tremendously. In fact, he had largely tuned her out. However, I was
acutely aware that my interjection caused John to perk up and begin
"What you have described to us, Jill, certainly represents the
truth as you see it," I began. "I have not the slightest doubt
about the veracity of everything you have said. In case you ever doubted
your own memory, or the inaccuracy of Jeff's belief that the whole
situation is 'all in your mind,' John also has witnessed much of the
situation over the last three weeks and confirms your story. Right,
John?" I queried and turned toward my brother.
"Absolutely," he confirmed. "I saw it going on a lot,
just as Jill says. I thought it was pretty strange and, quite honestly,
much of the time I felt awkward being there."
"I'm not surprised," I said. "So, I want you to know that
nothing I am going to say negates what you have said or invalidates your
story. I totally believe that it happened the way you said it happened.
I want, however, to give you a hint of what might be going on underneath
"What do you mean, 'underneath the situation,'" Jill asked,
eyeing me suspiciously.