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Outlooks & Setbacks Saturdays

Peace & Forgiveness

What is forgiveness really - and why do I need it?

It seems from birth, we are all painfully aware of the unavoidable flaws that we carry as humans. We hurt each other, are hurt by others, and experience how both our own mistakes and those of people around us impact the world. So it’s not surprising that forgiveness is a concept we begin wrestling with from a young age.


Growing up around many faith-based circles, the idea of forgiveness was something that I heard a lot of the time. I mistakenly interpreted it as synonymous with erasing the past - “forgive and forget”, as it were. The truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with pretending that wrong has never been done against you. It is also not synonymous with reconciliation. That would be dangerous. 


There are some people who you do not need to, and should not ever be reconciled with. That’s okay. Toxic relationships are not beneficial to anyone. 


The act of forgiveness actually has nothing to do with the person who hurt you, and everything to do with you. When we are hurt by someone, and remain in a state of pain or resentment, we do little to hurt the other person - at least compared to what we do to ourselves. This is not a comment on the initial reaction, but on a long term mindset that harbours bitterness towards someone who has hurt you. This resentment only stops you from experiencing freedom. Forgiveness is not justification. It’s not “it’s okay”, it’s not going back to square one. I once heard it described as “releasing the other person of an expectation that there is something they can do to make things right”. Giving up your right to hurt someone back. Breaking the cycle.


It’s uncomfortable. It can feel disempowering, though it’s not. It’s taking back your life and choosing to live it for you, overcoming and in spite of what anyone else may have said or done about it. Forgive - don’t forget. 


Recommended Movie

Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf

Interesting Fact #1

94% of Americans said they wanted to see more forgiveness across the country, while only 62% said they needed more in their personal lives.


Interesting Fact #2

Over half of Americans believe that forgiveness is not a valid option for many situations - intentionally committed crimes, for example, should “not be forgiven”.


Interesting Fact #3

A study showed that a majority of people believe forgiveness is conditional and dependent upon an apology and change in behavior.


Quote of the day

Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them more.

- Oscar Wilde

Article of the day - The Truth About Forgiveness

So we come across forgiveness quite often in all of our lives. Although it is something we often face, I don’t really know if everybody is totally clear on what forgiveness necessarily is, and what it is not.

It’s quite possible that we sometimes use forgiveness as our master key for erasing something negative or bad. It’s not that though. It goes much further then just unlocking a lock. It’s also not a lot of things. Let’s learn a bit about forgiveness, and see if it can become clear on all the things it’s not, as well as is.

Forgiveness is not a platform for minimizing the pain that was caused. It does not excuse the hurt that was created. Just because someone is considering forgiveness, doesn’t mean that any justification is being handed to the original hurtful act. It is highly unlikely that forgiveness, even when sincere can erased the fact that something heartbreaking and painful happened.

Forgiveness often times may seem like a relief of intense pressure of hurt on one side, with guilt, shame and regret potential on the other side. Offering forgiveness, or being forgiven, is alone usually not enough for either side to simply feel better. It is still usually a lengthy road for both sides.

We don’t always reconcile relationships based on the fact and presence of forgiveness. Forgiving is not something that will guarantee the continuation of anything, whether it’s an associate, a good friendship, or even a strong romantic relationship.

So, at this point, many may be wondering just what in the hell is forgiveness then? First off, forgiveness is not always about the other person, the one who did the hurting. It really isn’t. If anything, it may be more about the person who was hurt.

When we are the ones hurt, Forgiveness can be something that begins the process of letting go of the heavy weight which is pain and hurt. We forgive as a way that we take an accounting and inventory of our feelings.

Being responsible for the way we feel. It can guide us more towards being someone who is in control and empowered. We don’t have to be the victims any longer.

Offering forgiveness many times is mostly a spotlight more on our own healing. It is something that can be quite the difficult place to get through. Feelings and emotions like resentment can hang on, stuck to us for a very long time. When we are finally at a point where we can lay down a sincere forgiveness onto someone who pained us, we literally can be brought to an inner peace swiftly.

We finally see that we were not moving on, but when we forgave, we finally were moving again, into a direction of healing. We see that after a very long time, we can move on, and continue living our lives.

To forgive is a choice. And sometimes, no matter what, we just cannot get to that place in our lives where we are able to give a true, real forgiveness. It may keep us stuck carrying that heavy weight. When we are at a roadblock stuck at a crossroads, we must remember what we just learned here. We must remind ourselves how much forgiving is for the one who is hurt. We must keep in mind, that no matter how much in pain we are, it can be a life changing choice, to forgive, and from there, see if we can then reach healing.

Question of the day - Do you find forgiveness easy, or do you tend to hold a grudge?

Peace & Forgiveness

Do you find forgiveness easy, or do you tend to hold a grudge?