For some inexplicable reason, ‘how to forgive someone’ is absent from most teaching curricular. It shouldn’t be, as we need to be educated on the importance of forgiveness for healthy living.
And, if we don’t learn it in the schools, where else will we learn it?
Because in all honesty, forgiving and letting go is hard. Even more so when you’ve been offended time and time again.
There’s the pain, the anger, and the regret. ‘If only I could have done things better… if I had been smarter…. How could I possibly have missed the signs?’ Moreover, there’s the bitterness.
I find the opening lines of Passenger’s ‘wrong direction’, illuminating and very rational in this sense. He sings: ‘‘…..It gets harder to forgive and harder to forget… it gets under your shirt like a dagger at work. The first cut is the deepest but the rest still flipping hot. You build your heart a plastic. Get cynical and sarcastic. And end up in the corner on your own….’’
Now, can I tell you something? No matter how deep and hot the cuts are, you must let go.
Why you must let go!
Why? Firstly, spending time and mental effort ruminating about how you’ve been wronged and screwed over adds nothing of value to your life. It doesn’t make you better, stronger, or wiser. Heck, it doesn’t even make you richer.
But it does make you sadder, angrier, and more depressed. And, these emotions, no matter how valid they may seem, do not change the fact that you’ve been wronged. Nor do they make you less wronged.
Furthermore, grudge-holding ‘transports’ you to a bubble of wrong doing, and stops you from living in the present. Time- in the present! – is very important. And you shouldn’t
spend waste it on someone or an event that is undeserving.
Most importantly, when you forgive, you free yourself to move on- towards a bigger, brighter and better day.
For all we know, the object of your anger is on some island somewhere laughing and being happy. You, what are you doing? Holding on to resentment? Self-sabotaging? And, wasting your time? For goodness sake, quit it! Be thankful for the experience. Learn. Learn again. Forgive. And, move on.
How to forgive someone: Start with…
To begin the process of forgiveness, the first person you need to forgive is you. Yes, you! Certainly, only when we forgive ourselves can we truly begin to forgive others. ‘If only I could have done things better… if I had been smarter…. How could I possibly have missed the signs?’… STOP. Don’t blame yourself.
I like Pastor Chris’s example: if you open your door, and thieves come into your home, should you blame yourself for opening the door? No. it’s your door. They came in to rob. They are at fault.
Analogously, never blame yourself for being wronged. They wronged you. They are at fault.
But, your obligation is to rise above their fault. Learn, forgive, and be better. Because it’s not about them, it’s about you. It’s not about their capacity to offend; it’s about your capacity to forgive. And, it’s not how much hatred they have; it’s how much love you can dispense.
In Louis Zamperini’s words, ‘……..if you hate somebody you’re not hurting the person you hate, you’re hurting yourself’.
Your dreams and goals are much too important to let undeserving folks rob you of them. When you forgive, you heart is flooded with peace and happiness.
This will free your heart and mind and allow you channel your creative energy to more productive things.
The Nelson Mandela example
Let the great Nelson Mandela inspire you. After serving 27 Years in prison following the Rivona trial, he remarked: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Question: Are you still in prison to un-forgiveness? Are you still holding on to wrongs from the past? Today is the day to let go.
As Louise Hay remarks, “We may not know how to forgive [someone], and we may not want to forgive [the person]; but the very fact we say we are willing to forgive begins the healing practice.”
No matter the pain, no matter the hurt, no matter the offence, begin your healing practice today.
Moving forward, isn’t the concept of ‘an eye for an eye’ primitively puerile? Isn’t it unbecoming of love to seek retribution? To soothe yourself by inflicting pain on others… Come on, we’re better than that.
‘Forgiveness is what God has done for us and what He asks us to do for others’. So, go do. Be strong. Forgive. Give them love. And, soldier on like a champ that you are.
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