Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. We have all been terribly hurt by the harsh actions or words of another. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and vengeance. But the truth is when you don't practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly.
Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify their wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.
One of the secrets to a long and fruitful life is to genuinely forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed. Did you know holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems? To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous health benefits such as:
Perhaps you noticed the hypocrisy: That every man says forgiveness is a wonderful idea--- until he has something to forgive? But when we're unforgiving, it's we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every new relationship and experience, and perhaps not even know it. Our lives may be so wrapped up in replaying what wrong was done against us that we can't enjoy the present. We grow sour on life. In fact, it may be infinitely worse to refuse to forgive than to murder, because the murder may be an impulse in a moment of anger; whereas the failing to forgive is an ongoing cold and deliberate choice of the heart.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strongest will. A famous man once said, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” Have you pardoned anyone lately? Remember--- those who forgive most shall be most forgiven.
It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend, or someone you perceive to be on your team. And it may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit they did wrong, or even admit to partial fault. If you find yourself stuck with this situation, it may be helpful to take some time to talk about it with another person. It is also beneficial to pray. Through daily prayer the ability to forgive will come in time. You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you . . . and feel within you the power to wish them well.
Keep in mind that you can't force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Forgiveness may even lead to reconciliation, but not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible, even if reconciliation isn't.
Forgiveness often isn't just a one-time thing. It begins with a decision to forgive, but because memories or another set of words or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over and over again, with the same person. Resist the temptation to keep score, get even, or one-upping. Give the other guy the last word.
And remember this well--- getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you a lifetime of peace, allowing you to let the past go and move forward with a new life now free of hostility. Notice forgiveness takes away the power the other person had to control your life.
We also have to be willing to forgive ourselves. The more you know yourself, the more you will forgive yourself. If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others? Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that past poor behavior or mistakes, no matter how grave, never have and never will make you worthless or bad in the eyes of God--- that’s just a trick the enemy wants you to believe. Jesus forgave the thief while on the cross--- He can forgive you and I. For anything. Anything? Anything.
Accept the fact that you and I — like everyone else in this world— aren't perfect. We must accept ourselves despite our faults. We admit our mistakes. Forgiveness of ourselves or someone else, though not easy, will transform our life. Instead of dwelling on the injustices against us and getting our revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, we can live the rest of our days with a peaceful spirit. This is as the Lord intended it.
All we need to do is forgive
More on forgiveness . . . .
We do not really know how to forgive until we
know what it is to be forgiven.
Therefore, we should be glad that others could forgive us. It is our
forgiveness of one another that makes the love of Jesus manifest in our lives,
for in forgiving one another we act towards one another
as He has acted towards us.
...and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
You have learned how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for
But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the
contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well.
If we practice and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole
world will be blind and toothless.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.
Then Peter went up to him and said, "Lord, how often must I forgive
brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times? Jesus answered,
"Not seven, I tell you, but seventy seven times."
The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself.
If you haven't forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?
It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always makes you less than you are.
He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which
he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven;
for everyone has need to be forgiven.
Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.
In our society, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. People
forgive those who have hurt them or their family are made to look as if
they are weak, or really don't care about their loved ones. But forgiveness is tremendous strength. It is the action of someone who refuses to be consumed by
hatred and revenge.
There is nothing that in the end, that cannot
but there remains much that is inexcusable.
Forgiveness is the scent that the rose leaves on
the heel that crushes it.
Saint Francis of Assisi
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
Many promising reconciliations have broken down because while both parties come prepared to forgive, neither party come prepared to be forgiven.
It may be infinitely worse to refuse to forgive than to murder,
the murder may be an impulse in a moment of heat; whereas the failing to forgive
is a cold and deliberate choice of the heart.
This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps
his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it
does enlarge the future.
They who forgive most shall be most forgiven.
To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
Do you prefer that you be right or happy?
Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously...drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens our entire existence.
William H. Walton
To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.
One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life . . . is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed.
To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you
untold peace and happiness.
When we judge, we are pushing people away; we are creating a wall, a barrier. When we forgive we are destroying barriers, we come closer to others.