January 20, 2015
Forgiveness. Now there is a topic that volumes could be written about (and already have been). Is it necessary to forgive? How quickly do we want to be forgiven? Is it easy to ask for or give forgiveness? Does it depend on the offense?
After a conversation that included this topic, I reflected that probably from the beginning of humankind, forgiveness has been a major sticking point. Why can’t we humans just love one another and not need to be forgiven or to forgive? Wouldn’t that make life simpler and more enjoyable? Certainly, but we seem drawn to ways of hurting one another over things both big and small.
There are two things that have helped me in the quest for understanding and practicing forgiveness. First, an understanding that forgiveness does not require having a relationship restored to its original intensity, but does involve me giving up my “right” to get even. Not going after an eye for an eye, but giving up the perceived “right” to hurt the other person back in like kind, or worse. Second, a quote (author unknown): “withholding forgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It makes much sense to me that my withholding forgiveness eventually does me more harm than the other person.
Much to think about!