Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Forgive You

Three simple words. But what power they have! Forgiveness, whether given to others or to ourselves, can be such a difficult task. Often we hold on to our pain as tight as we can, for as long as possible, like a child's security blanket. Why is this? What benefit do we gain from this? Punishment for the person who wronged us? The belief that as long as we don't forgive them they can't hurt us again? We wear it proudly like a fine gold chain around our neck...and we never notice the chain is really iron and the weight is dragging us down.

Every person reading this has been hurt by another. Sometimes it has been inadvertently, the other person never even aware of the transgression. Sometimes it has been intentional and malicious, the other person trying to injure with their words and actions. How we deal with these issues says far more about ourselves than the person who has wronged us. Forgiveness sets us free. It makes the other person's words and actions meaningless. It takes away the power that we are allowing them to continue to hold over us. Forgiveness even benefits us physically. Being bitter can actually affect our cardiovascular and nervous system.
Others have said it much more eloquently than I could ever hope to:

Forgiving is rediscovering the shining path of peace that at first you thought others took away when they betrayed you.  ~Dodinsky

The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  ~Lewis B. Smedes

   For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. ~Matthew 6:14


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