I once heard the following definition of forgiveness …
“Forgiveness is giving up your right to hurt someone that has hurt you.”
I don’t necessarily believe we have a right to hurt someone that hurts us – but I do like this definition. Why?
So many people will justify the hurtful things they do by saying “They did this first.”
It might sound like a bunch of children playing with each other that get into a skirmish. The sad truth is that in reality a lot of adults act far worse than children.
Wikipedia describes Forgiveness as the mental, emotional and spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment towards a person that has wronged you. It’s ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.
Holding grudges, devising plans to hurt someone, placing blame and holding onto anger ONLY hurts you. The act of revenge hurts you as well as the other person …
What have you gained? … More anger and hurt that traps you in a vicious cycle.
False Beliefs about Forgiveness:
1. You are pardoning the person for what they did
2. You need to be friends or continue associating with the person
3. You are condoning them for what they did
4. You have to forget the incident
1. All about YOU – It has nothing to do with the other person
2. Freeing yourself from the internal anguish
3. Accepting the fact that the person did you wrong
4. Putting the wrong doing in the past – Knowing you can’t change what happened
5. Taking control of your feelings by not harboring bad thoughts
6. Redirecting your energy towards happier more positive things
7. A Gift you give to yourself
Whether or not you choose to associate with that person in the future is up to you.
Remember Forgiveness is a Choice
Below are some of my favorite quotes on forgiveness:
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes
“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” Sara Paddison
“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
“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” Oscar Wilde
“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
Thomas S. Szasz