Forgiveness In the Community
Releasing feelings of resentment
To practice Forgiveness I will:
- be quick to forgive
- apologize and ask for forgiveness
- let go of hurts
- not seek revenge
- respond kindly to those who hurt me
Choosing the Peace of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is consciously choosing to pardon someone from inflicting an insult or injury on you. This conscious act releases the tension of hurt and dissipates lingering anger. Forgiveness creates in the forgiver a peace and a freedom to move forward without continuing to carry around the weight of the hurt.
This choice can be the catalyst in restoring relationships. Expressing sincere remorse, identifying the wrong and asking for forgiveness can mend a broken relationship. Granting forgiveness, however, does not mean condoning the wrong. Sometimes forgiveness is given without the hope or need for reconciliation of the broken relationship, especially in situations where abuse of a physical or emotional nature has occurred. Forgiveness often is more for the healing of the offended person than the offender.
Indeed, withholding forgiveness proves to be of no benefit to the hurt individual. The result is usually bitterness, i.e. “feeling anger or disappointment at being treated unfairly” (Google). This anger can grow into indignation and create a desire for revenge. The hurt person then focuses their energy on how to exact justice and becomes consumed by bitterness. Marriane Williamson paints an accurate image of the consequence of our resentment by comparing our unforgiveness to consuming poison and waiting for the other person to die. Withholding forgiveness does not change the action done or control the other person’s future. It is, simply put, not only fruitless but harmful.
Let us then consume the antidote to bitterness by forgiving. Examine your internal landscape and see if there are any areas of lingering resentment or anger. Forgive them so that you may move forward in peace and lay your hurts to rest.
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