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Forgiveness

By Jacklyn | June 28, 2010

A great post from Mark on forgiveness which I really want to share with my readers here… Thanks Mark!

Being lied to, being cheated on, being abused, not caring enough … the list of reasons we don’t forgive someone goes on and on. Interestingly enough the same reasons that we use to withhold forgiveness from others are the same reasons we tend not to forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness is a tough concept for many people. Many people were raised in an environment where forgiveness was not easily given and when it was it was often conditional. By conditional I mean that “I will forgive you if…” Conditional forgiveness is not really forgiveness is it? If we are saying that we only forgive you if you make amends and the person does not make amends to our satisfaction then we feel justified in withholding our forgiveness.

Withholding forgiveness for some gives them a sense of power over the person they are not forgiving. We also believe that by withholding forgiveness that we are erecting a wall of protection from a person hurting us again in some way. We sometimes come to think if I don’t forgive you then you will never be able to get close enough to hurt me again. In the end this is truly an illusion for while we hold on to our anger, while we hold on to our hurt and we don’t forgive we choke on that anger, we poison ourselves with holding on to the hurt and rarely are we having a negative impact on the person we refuse to forgive.   

We sometimes create an illusion of forgiveness when we say things like “I forgive you, however I will never forget!” Have you ever been on the receiving end of this statement? Did it feel like you were forgiven or did it feel like you simply were getting a stay of execution, a shot across the bow that stated you better watch out because although I am saying I forgive you I am tucking this away in my mental files and I may choose to use it to my advantage against you in the future? This does not sound like forgiveness to me. It goes without saying that we won’t forget what transpired; we rarely forget those things that have hurt us in some way. Forgiveness is not about forgetting the past; forgiveness is about loving ourselves and others enough to see beyond the imperfections that make up our journey.

Interestingly enough those who we withhold forgiveness from are not usually strangers to us, they are usually family members and close friends whom we care deeply about, whom we love. We tend to not forgive our parents, our children, our siblings, our spouses, etc for things they have done or not done which have had a negative impact on us.  Sometimes our anger/hurt and refusal to extend forgiveness creates such a rift in our relationships that we be estranged from each other, not speaking for months or years, not being civil to each other over something that no longer matters and in many case probably did not matter much when it happened. Sometimes we are angry over something major that took place such as abuse and while we should never place ourselves back into an environment of abuse this does not mean that we cannot forgive the abuser. The following quote by Mark Twain illustrates this beautifully:

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Love even while it is being trampled upon forgives. Love does not withhold forgiveness on conditions, nor does love not forgive as an act to try to punish another. To truly love is to truly forgive.

When you forgive you release a massive weight from your soul. The weight of unresolved anger and hurt contribute greatly to the ills of our society. Wars, murders, broken families, depression, numerous emotional and physical ailments and premature aging of our body are often a result of carrying the weight of not forgiving ourselves and others for the imperfections of the journey we are all partaking in.

Remember that to forgive others we must first forgive ourselves! We must let go of any anger, pain or regret that we hold against our own being in order to be able to forgive the other people in our life.

“Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.” – Swedish Proverb

Forgiveness does not rate the severity of the imperfection. Love does not judge. This is where most people get hung up on forgiveness. One may ask, how do I forgive someone who raped or murdered? How do I forgive someone who holds a knife to my throat or who supports genocide?

The answer is in the question “What would love do?”

We are never served by not forgiving. Note, forgiveness does not abdicate punishment and consequences. We can forgive the person for something they have done however we still punish accordingly to reinforce the lesson.

P.S. Thank-you Lynette of “This Is One Wild Ride” for asking for and inspiring this writing.

“Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past”

–     Buddy Wakefield – Poet via Rev. Kathianne Lewis of Seattle

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Topics: Gratitude, Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Attitude | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “Forgiveness”

  1. Mark Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Thank-you very much for sharing my writing on forgiveness! I am honored!

  2. Jacklyn Ker Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    It’s really an awesome article, Mark. I love your writing. They’re inspiring with depth. Will look out for more of your posts.

    May love and peace be with you always…

  3. D.D. Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Great blog, Jacklyn :) Glad you are doing what we have learned actively. All the best.

  4. Jacklyn Says:
    July 2nd, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Hey D.D., thanks for popping over! Please support by sharing some comments here and give me some feedback on improving this blog.

    Looking forward to hear from you again ya? Cheers:)

  5. Nicholas Foo Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 10:56 am

    it’s a love-hate issue for me. Forgiveness is a special skill to acquire and to practice. Hope to attain this in the very near future. :D

  6. Jacklyn Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 3:31 am

    “Love Never Fails”, Nic ….. and Love is forgiving :)

  7. Nicholas Foo Says:
    August 29th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    one question though…
    do we still forgive if we know that person would not repent?

  8. kelly Says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Very often people say they forgive but they seem upset anyway. It takes time to heal though.

  9. Mr Twenty Twenty Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    There is a huge difference between:

    Asking for forgiveness

    or

    Saying you are sorry.

    True healing and transformation comes from forgiveness, not from being sorry.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Mr Twenty Twenty
    Whooo yah!

  10. Jacklyn Ker Says:
    September 9th, 2010 at 2:52 am

    :-)

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    December 29th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

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  12. Kathleen Hodge Says:
    January 31st, 2013 at 2:44 am

    First, acknowledge the parts of you that don’t want to forgive—that want to punish by not forgiving, that derive some artificial source of power from withholding forgiveness.

  13. Personal Development Blog - Inspiring and Empowering Lives Says:
    October 26th, 2014 at 2:31 am

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