Forgiveness

2

Forgiveness is the healing of wounds caused by another. You choose to let go of a past wrong and no longer be hurt by it. Forgiveness is a strong move to make, like turning your shoulders sideways to walk quickly on a crowded sidewalk.

It’s your move.

It really doesn’t matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on with your life. You can’t forget, of course. That’s not even possible. But forgiving has nothing to do with forgetting. You should remember everything and learn from it. Forgiving is a goodness in the middle of remembering.

Above all, forgiveness is a series of choices you make.

You choose not to seek revenge or fantasize about it. You choose not to talk badly about the person who hurt you or wish evil for them. You choose to let go of your anger and not to feed upon it. Shedding anger takes time and practice, so you begin by choosing to move in that direction. If you are strong enough you can choose to wish that person well.

If these choices seem impossible to you, you might start by choosing to pray for the person who wronged you. And it’s completely okay to pray for someone even if you don’t think God exists.

You should be quiet about your forgiveness, except with close friends. If you need to tell the story, you have not fully arrived. Choose not to tell the story until you no longer want to.

One last thing. Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of love and, in fact, feed on conflict and enjoy causing pain in others. Be prepared to let go of some relationships as you let go of your anger. Wish them well and let them go their way.

Whatever happens, always remember that forgiveness is good food for your soul.

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  • Jeff (no, the other one)

    I have not fully arrived. But I’m headed in the right direction.

    (Like artists remixing their old songs, it’s your creation, do it – or redo it – your way. Unless it’s those ridiculously-pumped-up drums on vintage ZZ Top songs, that’s just borderline criminal…)

  • Robert C Deming

    In the Kairos Prison Ministry, the middle day of our 3 1/2 day weekend is all about forgiveness. We finish with a ceremony, dissolving our list of names, people who we hold in un-forgiveness, in a bowl of water. My list got shorter every time until about #15. The only name I have been able to come up with for some time is my own. I’m still working on that.