Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.
- Sidney and Suzanne Simon (


Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. But who gets to forgive who?

In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of compensation, and without any response on the part of the offender. In practical terms however, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, apology, and/or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe they are able to forgive.

To better understand forgiveness, consider the following:

  • Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple.

  • Choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive AND there are consequences. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. A vindictive mind-set creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim.

  • The greatest misconception about forgiveness is the belief that forgiving the offense, such as an affair, means that you condone it. Not true. In fact, we can only forgive what we know to be wrong. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to reconcile with someone who badly treated you.

  • Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.

  • When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven. . . owns you!Forgiving someone else is to agree within yourself to overlook the wrong they have committed against you and to move on with your life. It's the only way. It means cutting them some slack.

  • Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories. It is not forgetfulness, but it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury.


Ponder the following about forgiveness:
by Reinhold Neibuhr

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite a virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

Has anyone wronged you lately? Now is the time to free yourself by forgiving them.

This week, be reminded of what Confucius said.
"The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself."

Learn, share and experience the power of forgiveness.


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