Forgiveness has some negative connotations and I don’t want to reinforce those. Instead, I want to talk about giving the gift of forgiveness.
What is Forgiveness?
What exactly is forgiveness? It’s not forgetting about what happened because in some cases, you will forgive but choose not to repair the relationship. If you are the person who made the mistake, we learn from our mistakes when we choose not to repeat them.
When someone wrongs you, forgiveness is not something that has to follow an apology. That is a BIG thing so I’m going to say it again. Forgiveness is not something that has to follow an apology. First, some people are simply not capable of apologizing. Some people will never think they have wronged you or someone you love in any way. Where does this leave you?
Not forgiving others injures YOU more than anyone. If you are a Christian, part of the Lord’s Prayer is to “forgive us our trespasses/sins as we forgive those who trespass/sin against us”. That means that if you expect forgiveness for your wrongdoings, you MUST forgive others. If you are a non-Christian, I suggest you ask yourself, how does holding onto hostility elevate you in any way as a human being?
It’s ok to choose NOT to have a relationship with someone you feel has harmed you or a loved one and still be able to forgive them. Releasing those feelings will free you. You are giving your time and energy away to something negative and your life will be much happier if you are able to just let those negative feelings go.
If your lack of forgiveness is to yourself, it is just as important to practice forgiveness. We all have said or done something or wished we had done or said something that we wish we could change. Some call it ‘woulda/shoulda/coulda’. No one is perfect so if you can make amends, do so. Write a letter of apology, providing this will HELP someone else, NOT HURT THEM FURTHER. If you are not 100% certain of this, just write the letter for you and put it away or throw it away. They have the right to NOT accept your apology so have NO expectation if you do send a letter. I also recommend never sending a letter you haven’t held onto for at least 72 hours.
This is VERY important. Do NOT expect ANYTHING in return. Remember, this is not about you getting something, it’s about YOU GIVING something: an acknowledgment of wrongdoing or regret about something.
Giving is the BEST Feeling
It’s been my experience in life when you GIVE without expectation, there is a gift that cannot be matched. You won’t need to receive anything in return because you gave yourself the biggest gift of all. You released that situation into the past and more importantly you decided not to repeat that same mistake again. Making mistakes is human. Choosing to forgive others and not repeating your own mistakes is the gift that keeps on giving.
Forgiveness is Freedom
Whether you walked away from a relationship or you are the one who was left behind, there is freedom in forgiveness. Not everyone in your life is meant to be in your life forever. Release the bad feelings you’ve been holding close. Be open to new people and new situations. Forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving.