Forgiveness is recognizing and letting go of negative feelings resulting from being wronged. Forgiveness is a decision. We decide in our minds and hearts that our being ‘wronged’ is a reality yet something that has to be processed (felt) and let go.
Forgiveness is letting feelings of resentment and thoughts of revenge go. The offender may never admit fault or change. But, it is our choice whether or not to be offended.
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Forgiving allows us to focus on the positive aspects of life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, compassion and empathy for the one who hurt us.
Forgiveness doesn’t dissolve the offender’s responsibility or require that we minimize or justify the wrong. However, it does demand that we not feel compelled to be the executioner. We can forgive the person without excusing the act. The offender is not hurt by our refusal to forgive – we only hurt ourselves. When we choose to forgive, we feel peace and are able to get on with life.
Effects of non-forgiveness
If we don’t forgive we harbor harmful memories and are likely to live in anger, bitterness and negativity; repeatedly attracting similar circumstances with new events and relationships.
It may seem easier to live with feelings of anger and blame, avoiding the emotional work of forgiveness, than to feel the pain and let it go. When someone mistreats us, it is common to feel justified in our anger and sadness especially when hurt by someone we love. Dwelling on the offense can cause feelings of bitterness, revenge, hostility, and/or a sense of injustice that may cloud our judgment and drive out positive emotions.
We may believe we have no control over the circumstances. We might become so focused on past wrongs that we can’t enjoy the present. We might be overcome with emotions of depression or anxiety and wonder why God doesn’t take this grief away. Valuable and enriching relationships with others might be lost and life might lack purpose or meaning.
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Catherine Ponder
Forgiveness is a healing journey for both body and soul
Letting go of the negative emotions can make way for positive feelings of kindness, concern, and peace. Forgiveness can lead to a healthier life both physically and emotionally. Relationships benefit when we are forgiving and we receive the gift of recognizing the joy in our lives.
How to forgive: Forgiveness is a commitment to change
The following text is adapted and edited from DailyOM
Forgiveness is not something we have to do, but something we must allow to flow through us, the natural flow of divine love dissolves all hurt, all bitterness, all sense of injustice.
Forgiveness creates the freedom to build a new future beginning now!
Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time; as you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.
Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories. There is no future in the past.
Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle.
Forgiveness is not forgetfulness; we must remember to avoid emotionally and physically dangerous situations. But it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury.
To forgive means to “give up”, to let go. It takes no strength to let go…only courage
Life either expands or contracts in direct proportion to the courage to forgive
You can’t live in the present and create a new and exciting future for yourself if you always stay stuck in the past.
When we forgive, we are willing to give up resentment, revenge and obsession. We are willing to restore faith not only in ourselves but in life itself.
Forgiveness is the most important single process that brings peace to our soul and harmony to our lives. We become aware that we are free and we can project that love outward into our world.
Forgiveness is the key to your own happiness. It ends the illusion of separation. The act of forgiveness constitutes a mental bath, letting go of something that can only poison us from within.
When we stop holding on and clinging to anything, we realize we have everything. We no longer need to feel burdened by the responsibility of having to hold on to something