Forgiveness

Forgiveness

The first thing I want to point out is what is, to me, the most important part about forgiveness: Forgiveness is not a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself.

The other person need never know. You can choose to extend forgiveness to the other person, if that is your choice, but it is not necessary to forgive inside of yourself and heal the pain you carry for a wrong another has done to you or that has affected you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation nor does it mean you have to allow a behavior that can hurt you to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is, in essence, the acknowledgment inside of yourself that the person who has wronged you in some way is a fallible human being, and that, like any human being, they made a mistake worthy of your forgiveness.

Now, I believe everyone deserves forgiveness inside of themselves, because to hold on to old wounds defeats you as a person. It closes off a part of your heart and self that you cannot give to anyone else as long as you hang on to the anger and bitterness that remains in you when you do not forgive.

However, I do not believe the other party who has wronged you always deserves that forgiveness to be extended to them. Many times, they do not deserve reconciliation.

Forgiveness doesn’t come automatically, but the party who wronged you does not have to ask for forgiveness for you to give it. The party who wronged you doesn’t even have to admit they made a mistake or did anything that requires forgiving. The party who wronged you doesn’t even have to make amends in order for you to forgive them.

Remember, forgiveness is not a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself. Forgiveness is a choice. You have to choose to forgive and let go of the pain.

Reconciliation and forgiveness are two separate things. They are not mutually exclusive. Forgiving someone does not mean you have to reconcile with that person. If the other person has wronged you so severely that you simply could not trust to allow this person in your life in any capacity, reconciliation is not possible, but forgiveness still is. Forgiving doesn’t mean opening yourself back up to be hurt again.

Forgiving doesn’t mean allowing the other person’s behavior to continue.

For reconciliation, the other person must admit their wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, and then they must take action to prevent that wrongdoing from happening again. Reconciliation requires both you to forgive and the other person to take action. Forgiveness, on the other hand, doesn’t even require the other person at all.

You can extend forgiveness to those who are no longer living, but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who is no longer in your life and never will be again, but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who hurt you or abused you, but you do not have to allow that person in your life again to hurt or abuse you more.

Forgiveness sets you free. Forgiveness lets you remove the pain you carry inside of you that you feel was done by another’s wrongdoing. The other person need not admit the wrongdoing. The other person need not make amends. The other person need not do anything. Forgiveness is something done inside yourself, to release you from the pain of the wrongdoing.

Forgiveness releases your need for revenge. Vengeance is counterproductive. Revenge is never as sweet as we believe it will be, and vengeance serves no purpose. When anger subsides, the need for vengeance fades, and any action taken in the name of revenge is action for which you will probably find you need to forgive yourself, or for which you will have to ask forgiveness.

It is important, however, to understand the difference between justice and vengeance.

To forgive, you must let go of your desire for vengeance. However, forgiveness does not mean letting go of your right for justice.

What is the difference?

Vengeance is wanting to make the other person suffer as much or more than the perceived suffering you have felt because of their actions, simply because of what they did to you, and to find pleasure or amusement in their pain because of the way they wronged you.

Justice means that the person pays a proper penance for the wrong they have done. They have a moral obligation to try to make things ‘right’ after the wrong they have done. Justice is fair; vengeance is not. We have a right to seek justice. We do not have a moral right to seek revenge. Revenge does damage to you, even if you do not realize it. Justice is simply moral accounting.

There are things I still hold on to, things that I should let go and forgive. Do you have things you should forgive too? I will now give myself one of the greatest gifts a person can give to themselves—I give myself the gift of forgiveness… to myself, and to anyone who has wronged me.

Is it time for you to give yourself the gift of forgiveness too?

The first thing I want to point out is what is, to me, the most important part about forgiveness: Forgiveness is not a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself.

The other person need never know. You can choose to extend forgiveness to the other person, if that is your choice, but it is not necessary to forgive inside of yourself and heal the pain you carry for a wrong another has done to you or that has affected you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation nor does it mean you have to allow a behavior that can hurt you to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is, in essence, the acknowledgment inside of yourself that the person who has wronged you in some way is a fallible human being, and that, like any human being, they made a mistake worthy of your forgiveness.

Now, I believe everyone deserves forgiveness inside of themselves, because to hold on to old wounds defeats you as a person. It closes off a part of your heart and self that you cannot give to anyone else as long as you hang on to the anger and bitterness that remains in you when you do not forgive.

However, I do not believe the other party who has wronged you always deserves that forgiveness to be extended to them. Many times, they do not deserve reconciliation.

Forgiveness doesn’t come automatically, but the party who wronged you does not have to ask for forgiveness for you to give it. The party who wronged you doesn’t even have to admit they made a mistake or did anything that requires forgiving. The party who wronged you doesn’t even have to make amends in order for you to forgive them.

Remember, forgiveness is not a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself. Forgiveness is a choice. You have to choose to forgive and let go of the pain.

Reconciliation and forgiveness are two separate things. They are not mutually exclusive. Forgiving someone does not mean you have to reconcile with that person. If the other person has wronged you so severely that you simply could not trust to allow this person in your life in any capacity, reconciliation is not possible, but forgiveness still is. Forgiving doesn’t mean opening yourself back up to be hurt again.

Forgiving doesn’t mean allowing the other person’s behavior to continue.

For reconciliation, the other person must admit their wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, and then they must take action to prevent that wrongdoing from happening again. Reconciliation requires both you to forgive and the other person to take action. Forgiveness, on the other hand, doesn’t even require the other person at all.

You can extend forgiveness to those who are no longer living, but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who is no longer in your life and never will be again, but you cannot reconcile with them. You can extend forgiveness to someone who hurt you or abused you, but you do not have to allow that person in your life again to hurt or abuse you more.

Forgiveness sets you free. Forgiveness lets you remove the pain you carry inside of you that you feel was done by another’s wrongdoing. The other person need not admit the wrongdoing. The other person need not make amends. The other person need not do anything. Forgiveness is something done inside yourself, to release you from the pain of the wrongdoing.

Forgiveness releases your need for revenge. Vengeance is counterproductive. Revenge is never as sweet as we believe it will be, and vengeance serves no purpose. When anger subsides, the need for vengeance fades, and any action taken in the name of revenge is action for which you will probably find you need to forgive yourself, or for which you will have to ask forgiveness.

It is important, however, to understand the difference between justice and vengeance.

To forgive, you must let go of your desire for vengeance. However, forgiveness does not mean letting go of your right for justice.

What is the difference?

Vengeance is wanting to make the other person suffer as much or more than the perceived suffering you have felt because of their actions, simply because of what they did to you, and to find pleasure or amusement in their pain because of the way they wronged you.

Justice means that the person pays a proper penance for the wrong they have done. They have a moral obligation to try to make things ‘right’ after the wrong they have done. Justice is fair; vengeance is not. We have a right to seek justice. We do not have a moral right to seek revenge. Revenge does damage to you, even if you do not realize it. Justice is simply moral accounting.

There are things I still hold on to, things that I should let go and forgive. Do you have things you should forgive too? I will now give myself one of the greatest gifts a person can give to themselves—I give myself the gift of forgiveness… to myself, and to anyone who has wronged me.

Is it time for you to give yourself the gift of forgiveness too?

Love and stuff,
Michy

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One comment to Forgiveness

  • Jennifer Wright  says:

    I like this blog post. I have a very hard time forgiving people for myself. It’s actually getting easier, because I realize how much better I feel if I can truly forgive them.

    Well said, Michy!

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