Let's further explore the power of forgiveness.
To "forgive" means "to cease to
feel resentment against; to pardon" (Webster). Rodale's Synonym Finder further adds: "harbor
no grudge, bear no malice, make peace."
When we forgive, we are being "merciful,
compassionate, humane" (Rodale's).
- letting go of any grudges;
- removing focus from past mistakes or problems;
- dissolving any anger that we've been harboring;
- being peacemakers.
What are the blessings of forgiveness?
- We gain a better view of ourselves and others
that does not include resentment.
- We start the healing process.
- We feel happier because we are no longer angry.
- We are able to move forward with a greater
sense of freedom.
- We provide others with the opportunity to
change and grow.
What if we don't seem to be able to forgive
or don't want to forgive?
How important is our own happiness? Forgiveness
plays a key role in maintaining joy. It is often
helpful to recognize if someone meant to hurt
us. The simplest way to find out and to keep ourselves
from mentally replaying hurtful conversations
and actions is to ask. If the person did not intentionally
do us wrong -- which is usually the case -- and
we have been thinking negatively about the person,
we can more easily let go of grudges or hurt feelings.
But what if we think we are justified in feeling
angry at someone for doing something that seems
There are ACTIONS that we certainly should not
forgive. And we all need to take responsibility
for our actions. But in order to progress, we
need to separate the action from the individual
and forgive the INDIVIDUAL, who is God's child,
just like us. If we are having a hard time letting
go of resentment, then we have to think about
ourselves for a moment. We need to ask ourselves:
- What is NOT forgiving doing to me?
- If I hold onto the grudge, who am I really
What happens when we refuse to forgive or
to ask for forgiveness?
We are hurting ourselves more than others. We've
let the other person win! We have given that person
power to ruin our day, week, or life. NO ONE has
that power except us. When we relive the pain
and remember the wrongs that were done to us,
we become bitter, unhappy, angry, tense, and frustrated.
And if we have hurt another, we often hold onto
the guilt we feel. Our emotions are all bottled
up inside. Often we may take our frustration out
on those we love. They certainly don't deserve
our anger. So what about those who we blame as
the cause of our pain? Blaming others for how
we feel and focusing on getting back at others
robs us of time and happiness. Revenge and blame
escalate problems. They certainly don't solve
them. Jesus told us: