Blessing #18: I Forgive You
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
― Anne Lamott
When I was writing this particular blessing in my book, I was actually in the middle of a very painful personal crisis. I felt angry, and hurt, and betrayed, and confused. My trust in the people involved had been shaken. I didn’t enjoy any of those feelings; but I knew that if I chose not to forgive, my own path to personal healing would be blocked.
I could have made the choice to hold on to my anger and my pain, but that wouldn’t change what had happened. It would not have brought me any relief from the pain. It would not have created an opportunity to bring deeper healing to myself and the others involved, and this is critical because there was remorse and a desire to make things right. The relationships that we had worked so intentionally to create and build would be lost over this one mistake that, though awful to walk through, was likely never to be repeated.
The most powerful three words that I could say that day were, “I forgive you.”
“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.”
― Nelson Mandela
It is easier to offer forgiveness when someone asks for it. But what if they don’t ask? What if there is no remorse?
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”
― C.R. Strahan
There is such beauty and freedom in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about ignoring the crime of the criminal, or the mistakes of the fallen. It is not about pretending something bad never happened to you, or because of you. No, forgiveness is an act of mercy, of wisdom, of courage, of hope. It is removing the cage of pain and hatred that has been placed around your heart, smashing the chains of guilt and grudges, and releasing your soul to begin the process of healing, of renewing, of redemption.
“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.”
― Steve Maraboli
Sometimes we have to start with offering forgiveness to ourselves. There is no good that can come from holding yourself in a prison of guilt and shame. We all make mistakes, and we all fall short of the mark from time to time. It’s simply human nature. To not forgive yourself is to believe the lie that you are infallible, and that you can never learn or grow from your mistakes.
Today is a wonderful day to begin your healing, restore power to yourself and practice forgiveness. Today, someone needs your forgiveness- and that someone may be You.
For additional resources, or to purchase my eBook The Blessings Butterfly please check out my Resources page.
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