Musings: The Road To Forgiveness…
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Forgiveness Sets Us Free
Why forgiveness? What prompts us to forgive others? At different points in our lives, we have all experienced hurtful events; verbal, psychic and/or physical wounds that made us resent the offenders and hold a grudge against them. Ironically, when we hold onto the flame of righteous anger, determined to never forgive another, we not only internalize the ugliness of the offensive event, we create new wounds that remain open sores until we decide to heal ourselves and move on. Until we let go and consciously forgive the other, we remain negatively tied to them and our hurt. We have a right to feel our hurt and other emotions but we don’t have to linger or dwell there indefinitely. We must learn to be compassionate with ourselves and heal our wounds by freeing ourselves from past hurts. In this post, I have added stories/examples of situations that look at the subject of forgiveness. Our happiness depends on our ability to free ourselves and heal old wounds.
What Else Could I Do?
My mom had been in the hospital ICU for months and as I stayed with her, many days and nights were spent in the ICU waiting room with other people in similar situations to me, hoping and praying that God would bring our loved ones through. One day I met this man whose son was there at the point of death from an automobile accident. We became friends while trying to comfort each other and talked for many hours. John was an ex-marine Sargent, tall, lean and tough as nails from his military career and was struggling with the fact that someone had run a stop sign and T-boned his son’s car. He just couldn’t figure out how someone could be so careless and ruin he and his son’s life.
One day while sitting across the waiting room two men, one older and one younger, came in and introduced themselves to John. As they talked, John began to cry and he hugged the younger man and seemed somewhat relieved about his visit. Contd
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
Forgiveness Is The Present
How do you know when your thinking on the subject is wrong? If our decision to hold unto un-forgiveness gives us pain, and holding on no longer serves any meaningful purpose, it is wrong thinking. Often, the cause of our anger or grudge is an old wound or slight that has long been forgotten by others but held deep in our hearts. While we hold onto our hurts, we cannot function effectively and fully in the present; especially as far as that event and story is concerned. We must forgive in the now and release the tapes so we can be fully in our bodies and move gracefully into our future. An unhealed past = an unhealed present and potentially an unhealed future. Carrying around the pain in our hearts is harmful to us. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is insurance against a blocked heart… Let go.
What Else Could I Do? Contd
Later on that day, John told me that the men he talked to was a preacher and the young man who had run the stop sign and hit his son’s car. The young man was crying as he talked and as they left they hugged each other. The young man was torn apart by what he had done and had asked his preacher what he should do about his situation. John told me that the young man had asked him to forgive him for what he had done to his son. I then asked John what he had said and he told me “What could I do, I had to forgive him.” As he told me the story, we both began to cry and hug each other. The following day, his son died from the accident, but I learned a valuable lesson on forgiveness. I wouldn’t have expected that an ex-marine would have ever gotten over his son’s death or forgiven the one that had caused the accident. You can never be too big, too tough or too big in stature to forgive the ones that have hurt you, no matter what they have done. Submitted by Andy via values.com
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain
Forgiveness Helps Us to Remember Who We Truly Are
When we reach that place inside that is ready and willing to forgive, it creates a shift in our perspective, a freeing of our perception of events and the courage to move forward. We cannot remain in a state of victim-hood and be fully happy. We must free ourselves and remember who we truly are… love embodied. We cannot hold onto grudges, grievances, old wounds and find room in our hearts to embrace our own joy, our own happiness. Why give our power to the perceived enemy who hurt us? We all have the capacity to love and to hurt each other. Let them go and free yourself.
Please Accept My Apology
You probably remember me from the other day. I was the one who reacted very slowly to the green traffic light. When you honked your horn, I realized I was holding up traffic, so please accept my apology. However, I do want you to know why I seemed in a daze. You see, I was just at the doctor’s office getting the results of the biopsy I had two weeks ago, and I was wondering how I would tell my husband and children that I have cancer. My eyes were still stinging from crying, so, quite simply I didn’t even see the light change. Perhaps I should not have been driving, but I didn’t want to miss my appointment and there was no one else to take me.
And you over there, yes you. I was the one in the express lane at the supermarket. I know you are only supposed to take 12 items or less and I had a basket full. Please accept my apology. My mind was on my youngest daughter who ran away from home, and she’s just sixteen. I was so distraught then. You see, she somehow got in with the wrong crowd and started using drugs and drinking. I was remembering what a pretty little girl she had been most of her life. I know you were perturbed along with others in line. Please, accept my apology. Cont’d Below
“Only someone who wants to be happy can truly forgive.” Tom Carpenter
Forgiveness Is A New Beginning
When we forgive others, we ultimately forgive ourselves and this new beginning becomes a rebirth of our gifts and our strengths. The joy of forgiveness comes from knowing we have released a burden to the universe and we no longer have this cloud of discontent hanging over our heads. When we stop for a moment to evaluate the conditions that created the wounds, to assess them honestly, we know we weren’t the cause and the offender was hurting and damaged. Do we want to stay in that place with them? We must take back our power, cut the umbilical cord of anguish that holds us to them and develop a new path; one that gives us a sense of freedom and peace.
Please Accept My Apology… Cont’d
I remember you from the department store last week. I was so mean to you, when you were doing your job to the best of your ability. I acted so childishly. Please accept my apology. You see, I arrived home from work just yesterday and discovered that my wife had left me. But I should never have taken it out on you. Please, accept my apology.
The above are fictitious incidents, and yet they express a very real truth.
The old saying about judging others before you have “walked a mile in their shoes,” is a much needed reminder. Perhaps we all could try to be more cognizant of the fact that there are problems and situations in the lives of others of which we are totally unaware. So, maybe before we get frustrated in similar circumstances, and find we are momentarily inconvenienced or suffering through a pointless tirade, we should think a moment and understand that things may be going on in other’s lives which have caused them to be slower, absentminded or angry. Patience, as they say, is a virtue. Submitted by Anonymous via values.com
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Forgiveness Is The Key To Happiness
The very act of forgiving another takes courage and as Gandhi suggests above, forgiveness is not for the weak but for the strong. The key to happiness begins with our ability to speak our truth and stand firm in it. When we walk around holding onto old stories of grievances and we don’t address them, we have given the key to our happiness away. As long as our hearts and minds are overshadowed by unspoken hurts, we are limiting both our happiness and our power. If we are to view the world through a lens of delight and joy, it can’t be tainted by lingering resentments. We don’t have to ignore the hurts or forget the hurts; but we must forgive the hurts and treat ourselves and our place in those lingering memories of our bad experiences with great compassion. We must give compassion, love, forgiveness, and gratitude to ourselves first before we can expect anyone else to do so.
Forgive and Let Live
Born in Poland, my mother did not have the means to support a child and abandoned me. I grew up in a small orphanage outside Wroclaw and worked until I raised enough money to travel to the United States. Shortly after I arrived in Queens, I was hit by a taxi cab. The driver fled. I was hospitalized for 3 months after the accident, and I learned to cope with my anger and paralysis. During that time, the taxi driver came and apologized. We soon became good friends, and I developed a relationship with Basheer. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with AIDS and passed away. I am glad I forgave him the day he came into the hospital. I will always remember Basheer, and the good times we had. If I would have never forgiven him, I would not be as happy as I am today. Submitted by Greg Adamski via values.com
“One forgives to the degree that one loves.” François de La Rochefoucauld
Forgiveness Frees Us To Love Again
The goal of forgiveness is to love ourselves and others freely again. It is our decision to have a long term relationship with ourselves again. With it comes strength, joy, freedom, a release of the past and a sense of gratitude for our renewed journey to grace and abundance. If we read the stories on this post, we will see that we are the ones who truly benefited from our courageous act of forgiveness. We were no longer victims of our ego, our stories, our fears and our ancient memories… We are free! What about you? What do you think? What are your thoughts? What does forgiveness mean to you? How do you decide when to forgive? Do share! Thank you. 🙂
A Resentful Thumb
There was once a hand whose fingers were great friends. The owner of this hand started a dangerous job and, despite the care he gave the rest of the fingers, the thumb always came off worse, with lots of cuts and bruises.
At first, the other fingers asked the thumb’s forgiveness for their clumsiness, and the thumb did indeed forgive them. However, this happened so many times that, one day, the thumb decided to forgive the fingers no more. He stretched himself away from the fingers, and wanted nothing to do with them.
Initially, the thumb looked dignified, straight, rigid and aloof. However, that kind of position was forced and ridiculous. The owner even had to keep that hand in his pocket, and there the fingers suffered in darkness and obscurity.
Finally, the thumb understood that it had all been his fault, and he asked the fingers’ forgiveness, fearful that they would reject him. On the contrary, the fingers easily forgave him, because they – better than anyone – knew that we all make mistakes. Friends once again, all five of them worked together to prove to the owner that they were perfectly well again. Before long, they returned to the light again, this time well aware that they should always forgive each other, and thus avoid ending up inside a gloomy and depressing pocket. Author: Pedro Pablo Sacristán via freestoriesforkids.com
This post was inspired by prompts from a Happiness Workshop and WP Daily Post: How do you know when you’re wrong?
Positive Motivation Tip: Forgiveness opens the door to our heart’s happiness.
- To Forgive or Not Forgive (victoriamartinlj.wordpress.com)
- Lesson In Living Freely #9: Forgive Others (thezephyrchronicles.com)
- To Forgive is To Forget… (rapture1973.wordpress.com)
- Dust to Dust Do-Over (katharinetrauger.wordpress.com)
- How to forgive (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Seventy Times Seven (paramitapath.wordpress.com)
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Cathedral doorway via Wikipedia. or Please forgive by hang-in-there, honesty/forgiveness by davidg, gratitude flower by juliajordanscott, forgiveness/permission by andymangoldvia, forgiveness/twain quote by spazza via Flickr