Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Gift of Forgiveness

How many of you have ever had someone treat you in a way that you did not deserve? Of you, how many of you have people in your past that you have not yet been able to completely forgive for treating you in such a way?

If this was a classroom I would ask you to look around to see that almost everyone’s hands were up. If people were being completely honest with themselves you would find that the entire class would have raised hands.

Everyone, at some point or another, has been treated poorly by another person. The general hope is that eventually people will wise up and stop this sort of thing, but for the moment we must accept the fact that this is an unfortunate reality in our world.

If you have been hurt by another person there are several things that you will need to do at some point, and sooner is much better than later, in order to mitigate the effects that it has on your life. The first step is, of course, to ensure that you are safe and that you cannot be hurt by this person again.
This can be hard if the person that has caused you harm is someone very close to you or someone that you care for deeply. In those cases the best thing to do is to speak with that person, if possible, and explain to them how much they have hurt you. If they care for you as much as you care for them they will make sure that no further harm will come your way by their hands.

If they do not, then perhaps it is time to reevaluate your relationship with that person. This applies to any interpersonal relationship, whether it is family, friends, strangers, or work colleagues. You are free to associate with whom you choose regardless of how the other person may be connected to you.
The second step is to forgive that person.

Depending on your circumstances this step may sound quite difficult, or even something you are not willing to do. For some people the idea that you will not forgive them is in some way a punishment towards them. Perhaps you may feel that they deserve this punishment and you are not ready to release them.

For the most part, however, the only person you are punishing is yourself. By holding onto the blame and anger you are causing yourself psychological and spiritual distress. This stress can even manifest itself into physical ills in your body if you let it go on too long. Withholding forgiveness also prevents you from moving on with your life, even if it is in a small way. You will be forever attached to this person so long as you still hold on to anger and resentment towards them.

When you forgive someone you are not saying that what they did was okay. You are not saying that they get to hang around you anymore. You are most certainly not saying that you are willing to accept that behavior again. What you are really saying is that you will no longer allow their past actions to impact your current life. You are stating that you understand that they are a divine child of God and are subject to making the same mistakes that we all are.

You do not even have to tell the person that you are forgiving them. Heck, they may not even know that you were mad at them in the first place. This is something that is for you alone.
When you truly forgive someone, you are setting aside the burden of having to constantly remember what they did to you. It may seem now that you could never forget it, but you will eventually move past it if you allow yourself. It does not matter the circumstances of the harm that was inflicted upon you, you will only be able to grow from the experience and become stronger for it once you are no longer saddled with assigning guilt and blame.

The feeling of freedom and lightness that is described by those people who do forgive is unbelievable. It is not unheard of for people to seemingly lose a decade of aging once they have set aside their burden. Giving yourself this gift is quick, easy, painless, costs absolutely nothing and yet rewards you in untold ways.

You may not be ready to forgive today, and that is okay. Just as long as you acknowledge the fact that you will have to someday in order to move further is enough. You will be guided as to when the right time is.

Thank you for reading,

Grant Virtue

1 comment:

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