The dictionary explains it as (1) to excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
(2) To renounce anger or resentment against.
Forgiveness is the act of forgiving and forgiving is about excusing a fault; pardoning; letting go of anger or resentment.Anger and or resentment are the ingredients of un forgiveness which eats at us like a cancer. This topic came to me yesterday as I tried to reach out to a friend who seems to have cut me off from his life without much explanation. And as is our human nature, I thought I must have done something wrong and so I apologized but still nothing. (I did learn though that just because you are sorry does not mean the other person is ready to forgive.But be sorry all the same.At least now the ball will be in his court and you can breathe easy). What annoys me most I guess, is the not knowing part. I hate not knowing. I would rather you tell me, you did this, it hurt me and I do not wish to speak to you ever again. But again, we do not always get what we want, now do we? Any way, after my apology I got to thinking about forgiveness and why it is difficult for us to forgive? To excuse a fault? To pardon? To renounce anger or resentment against?
It is hard, for me at least, to forgive because :
1. Pride: – we think to highly of ourselves. First is ‘How could he do that to me?’ Then once we get passed that, it is ‘I could never do something like that!’ We have this subconscious feeling that the word owes us something and so we do not understand how someone can just go ahead and do something so mean to us, the important us. While the truth of the matter is we are imperfect and that means we are all capable, highly, I may add, of messing up. So please get down of your high horse and get over yourself. Today someone messed you up, I can assure you, you will be asking for someone’s forgiveness not too long from now.So, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you!
2. The second reason I think e find forgiveness to be rocket science is because we think it means the offender goes free and so in our twisted minds, we believe that by holding a grudge and not talking to them, we are punishing them for the crime they committed. Now, true, it will bother them for a while. Because you are a part of their lives and of course there will be a void left by your leave of absence and if you were important to them, they will apologize and tell you how sorry they are. They will send you cards and flowers and dedicate songs and poems to you.Time though is still going and every day you continue ignoring them, is them going by without you and soon enough, the void you left will be filled with something else.And as life happens, they will tire of the gestures.There’s only so many times you can be sorry…lol and even to their amazement, they will wake up one day and you will not even be in the top 10 things in their minds and they will move on.Because they did all they could to make things right but you stood your ground,in the name of ‘punishing’ them.And your paths will cross again some time, and especially if you are within the same social circle and the will be smiling and happy while you will be burning with anger,and seeing them so happy will even hurt you more.They may even walk to you to say hi and you could ignore them, but you will not be able to fully be yourself around them.You will keep getting disgusted at their sight and their laughter.You are the one carrying the burden that the other person already let go off.Grudges affect you only and if you truly love yourself you will forgive and move on.
3. Which may be tied with 2 is we think when we forgive it means we are not hurting; that what was done to us did not affect us while we are in pieces and so the world needs to know just how much pain we are in.And so we wear the ‘deed’ like a crown and parade it and tell anyone within ear shot of just how bad someone hurt you.It works for a while,like the first few days,but afterwards it gets stale.You cannot play the victim for the rest of your life and certainly not after someone has tried to make amends. Afterwards, you will become the person people want to avoid,because all you talk about is the wrong so and so did.That’s a lot of negative energy and the world is already difficult as it is and so people are always in the search for positivity.And you know what, nothing you say or do will change what happened,so dealing with it is the only way out.
When you do not forgive,it is your own undoing.You are the one who misses out on great opportunities of building happy memories because you are busy trying to make someone pay.Forgiveness is really a gift to yourself.When you forgive, you are saying ‘you did this and it hurt me but i let you go.I will not hold it against you but I’ll be damned if I find myself in such a situation again.’It frees your spirit and brings peace to your soul.Grudges hold you prisoner.You end up making the other person so important in your life because you are allowing them power over you.When you think of someone and you want to kill someone,then that person has some power over you,so let go.
Once bitten twice shy.I know.And when you forgive, it does not mean you go back to the way things were like nothing happened.Although I think if you still want a relationship to work,you may have to practice selective amnesia,otherwise you will always refer to it and as i said,it gets tiring and someone might just walk away for peace of mind.I love myself; definitely I am selfish and so when I learned that forgiveness truly is about me;that I am the biggest beneficiary, of course I started applying it to my life. And I actually practice selective amnesia. I have been hurt by the same people more than three times, and in the same way,(what’s wrong with me?)I do not like regrets and so the day I walk away,you will not even have a voice to ask me to say because you will equally be feeling ashamed of the number of times you have been forgiven. But that’s just me. I have a high tolerance level I discovered and this thing of believing the best in people,it cripples me at times but I can manage.And then again,you weigh the situation that you are forgiving and you decide if it’s a situation you can manage to go back to or if you simply need to walk away but be okay with waving at the person when you meet on the streets,or maybe not,but just okay enough for the anger and resentment not to be part of you.
And then I look at myself in the mirror and think of the number of times I have messed against God and how every time he forgives me and forgets it and we start on a clean page,and I think to myself,’I have no rights to not forgive.None whatsoever’ but I am human and I am weak and I fail, in spite of my best efforts to be at my best but I would rather try and fail, than just throw my hands in the air and say ‘I am human’. I would rather try to forgive and I fail, but at least I tried.And I have tried it before and it has worked and so I forgive.I let go.I do not allow room for grudges.I am not that rich.
‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’