6 Questions about Forgiveness
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Gandhi
“He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
1. What is forgiveness?
To forgive another is to no longer feel hate or resentment for the person who has hurt you. It is to release them from the emotional bondage you keep them in. It is to free yourself of that same bondage. It is to feel compassion for their troubled minds and hearts, to replace hatred with love. It is to sincerely want the best for them (not necessarily what they would want themselves). It is to emotionally forget the wrong that was brought upon you. It is to dismiss the past for the present, to allow Heaven to determine ultimate justice, to relinquish control and anger.
And it is a difficult thing.
Forgiveness does not necessarily mean removing them of the responsibility to make amends for their crime. You can forgive your rapist and still expect the criminal justice system to get him off the streets and into prison for an extended period of time.
2. What happens if I don’t forgive myself?
The emotional cancer of guilt can slowly eat away at your happiness bite by bite. Happiness becomes attenuated. Peace becomes elusive. Well-being becomes tarnished. And life is overshadowed by the emotional self-abuse of shame.
3. How do I get rid of the guilt and shame?
There are three ways of reaching a state absent of guilt and shame:
- Dump the values you have violated. No values, no guilt. I don’t recommend this one. It’s an option, but it’s a cure worse than the disease.
- Release yourself of ridiculous expectations, no matter where they come from.
- If you have truly done something worthy of guilt and shame (raped, molested, stole, etc.), then change, make amends, apologize, and never return to the vomit (a biblical reference – I think you get the drift even if you are not familiar with the vomit reference per se).
4. What happens if I don’t forgive others?
Anger and resentment will likely start to fester, often metastasizing, infecting and rotting the core of other relationships. Spirituality is dampened and self-confidence can be eroded.
5. Is total forgiveness required?
Only if total happiness is your goal. If, instead, you desire partial peace and mediocre happiness, and semi-fulfillment, then by all means, forgive partially.
6. How do I forgive others? How do I forgive my spouse? How do I forgive my parents?
Come find out by visiting my guest post at Steve Aitchison’s awesome blog, Change Your Thoughts. My guest post is called, 12 Ways to Forgive Your Parents for Doing such a Crummy Job of Raising You. Click it and read!
Read the comments too – there are a few amazing conversations that developed there – a few are even as long or longer than the original post! Some amazingly authentic people who truly bare their souls in an open and honest dialogue on the path to personal growth. Steve has an awesome readership. It won’t take long to tell.
And leave a comment yourself! Then come back and leave a comment here as well!
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