“I want to be the kind of person who can do that. Move on and forgive people and be healthy and happy. It seems like an easy thing to do in my head.
But it’s not so easy when you try it in real life.”
― Susane Colasanti best-selling author Waiting for You
Why not? Why can’t we forgive? What is so difficult about being forgiving?
I think it must be because you have to humble yourself to forgive someone. You must admit that you also need forgiveness and forgiveness reminds you that you yourself are not perfect. HOWEVER, if you are finding it difficult, if not impossible to forgive someone from the past or from an event that happened this past year, I beg you to reconsider.
If you are unforgiving, it really hurts. Personally, in my situation with someone: It hurts when they refuse to answer the phone or talk to me. It hurts when I write a letter but they don’t write back. It hurts because I miss the times they used to call and we would laugh, tell each other stories of our lives and encourage one another. I have pictures up on our wall of visiting them and they visited here. Everyone in the pictures is smiling-we had a lot of fun back then. One time we ate watermelon and then carved the rind and made ourselves rind dentures. We laughed so hard!
I imagine it hurts them, too, but in a different way. It must be hard to hold on to that anger, when I have begged forgiveness and they continue to deny it. I imagine it keeps them up at night, being mad at me. Maybe their blood pressure is high because of the stress.
“Being forgiving can pay off, as Toussaint and colleagues found in a study exploring the relationship among stress, psychological well-being and forgiveness. They found, as expected, that people who had greater levels of accumulated lifetime stress exhibited worse mental health outcomes.” Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health.
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. (Psychology Today, October 29, 2015 by Neil Farber MD, Ph.D., CLC, CPT The Blame Game)
There is a lot written about forgiveness but tonight I am thinking of the following:
Forgiveness does not mean that you approve of or condone what the other person has done.
Forgiveness does not mean that you ignore bad behavior and don’t report crimes to the appropriate authority.
Forgiveness does not mean that you automatically “get over” what has happened.
Forgiveness does not mean you are automatically reconciled to the offending party.
Forgiveness has no statue of limitations.
It is never too late to apologize. When I was in college, a young man whom I had been dating ended the relationship in a very hurtful way. Twenty-seven years later when my daughter was graduating from college, this man was on the college campus and found me after the graduation. He specifically searched for me on campus so that he could apologize to me for his past behavior. Do you think that it didn’t matter after all that time? It did matter! Without being too sappy about it, I really appreciated his apology. It meant a lot to me. My opinion of that man certainly went up and I was joyful!
C.S.Lewis, British novelist, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, lay theologian, and Biblical apologist said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Before this year is done, forgive someone who has hurt you. Humble yourself, realizing your own shortcomings and sins, and forgive where it is needed. If you need more information, God wants to forgive you. Read about it here.