The Art of Forgiveness

tears

If forgiveness is so freeing… if it is so vital to being completely ourselves… then what is it and how do we forgive? How do we get past the hurt and embrace the freedom?

What forgiveness is not:

  • Forgiveness does not free the offender from the consequences of his actions.
  • Forgiveness is not accepting abuse as a necessary element of life.
  • Forgiveness is not forgetting what’s been done to us.
  • Forgiveness is not a mumbled response to an apology.

What forgiveness is:

  • Forgiveness finds fulfillment in moving on rather than in revenge.
  • Forgiveness reports abuse and seeks to end it.
  • Forgiveness finds a way to rise above the offense, without bottling it up.
  • Forgiveness is a choice to plant a seed of love, inspiration, and motivation in the heart.

Forgiveness is more of an internal choice than an outward action. It’s deciding that you will not let anger and vengeance manipulate your thoughts and actions. This decision may take hours, days, months, maybe even years to make, but the sooner you make it, the better off you are. You may need to make the decision to forgive over and over again as you encounter things that trigger the old feelings of pain and betrayal, but you will find that each time you do, it’s a little easier than the last.

Forgiveness is only possible if you allow the hurt and the pain to surface. You cannot forgive something that you refuse to acknowledge. It’s this face to face with our deepest hurts that makes forgiveness one of the hardest thing to do.

Tears may flow. More tears than you ever dreamed possible. You may feel the heat of anger welling up in your chest. “I forgive them” may be the last words you want to utter. But until you do, you will never be free.

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