What about any tips on forgiving and loving our enemies, especially family members that harm us maybe even in a criminal way eg. outrage of modesty? Thanks!
A little, although I think it is extremely difficult to get our heads around it all. There is a name for people who successfully navigate the waters of forgiving the unforgivable: saints.
The first bit of confusion lies in the idea that when we forgive someone it somehow means we okay with their transgression. Often accomplish this very simple form of forgiveness and we do employ it all the time when someone forgets our birthday or shows up two hours later for the Thanksgiving dinner with their contribution to the feast, the appetizer. The type of person who hangs onto these petty grievances is a sad soul indeed.
These are the moments when the phrase "love conquers all" seems to be true.
God's love conquers all. Ours is often found wanting.
The key word to your question is "enemies". Forgiveness is a very different task when we're no longer talking about the snippy remark your sister made about your new shoes or that person who shot into the parking space you spotted after they just pulling into the lot you've been circling for 20 minutes. An enemy is someone who is actively trying to harm you.
Do we have to forgive them? I sorry to tell you, yes. In fact, Jesus went a step further and said we have to love them.
To be honest, I find it easier to love them than to forgive them. I, too, get hung up in the barbed wire fence of forgiveness implying that I'm okay with the horror they're perpetrating. As far as I can tell, I have to forgive them over and over again.
Which sounds awful, until I imagine God saying to us all, "Welcome to my life."
The only way I've been able to keep my head above water in the forgiveness department is to try to see the person as God must see them. His beautiful child, his wonderful creation, all bent and twisted and run over by a bus. To try to have compassion for the tortured soul so removed from harmony with God's love.
I must add that if someone is doing you harm, or trying to do you harm, you don't have to forgive them from four feet away or sitting in a car with them. You can do it in another state or from across town (if the town is big enough to provide you a safe distance).
The first hermits were people who felt they could not connect with God strongly enough while hanging around with other human beings and so moved farther and farther away from people. Some found it too difficult to live that austere lifet without the encouragement of other people who were also trying to do it and that's how monasteries were formed. But I digress.
I just bring up the monks to point out that they went to extremes to keep their own souls safe and you must do the same. Like when you're a plane and they tell you to make sure you have your own oxygen mask on first before you pass out trying to put one on someone else.
The only other encouragement I can give you is to tell you that forgiving and being forgiven has more power than just about anything else I can think of.
Forgive me for the dangling participle.