Sometimes, you have to let things go for the simple fact that they’re heavy. It takes a lot of energy to keep a grudge alive. What is forgiveness, then? It’s freedom, hope, peace, love. A gift of life... to yourself. When you forgive, you get your life back. Or rather, you get to make something new with it.
What is forgiveness if not a chance to live the fullness of your life?
So... What Is Forgiveness?
1. Forgiveness is a process.
Forgiveness isn't a one-time act. It’s not an event at all. Forgiveness is a process of giving up the old for something new. It’s a series of decisions made over and over again, and it’s a struggle. Growth can be painful.
2. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself.
This is about your peace of mind. This is about you, not them. They don't need to deserve forgiveness and you don’t need to approve of what they've done. You just need to be willing to forgive anyway because you’re acting based on your own values, not theirs.
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Lewis B. Smedes
3. Forgiveness is the hope for a different tomorrow.
Resent creates an “active echo” of the pain someone caused.
Breaking these chains requires a belief in second chances, not necessarily for the offender, but at least for yourself. It’s never too late to create a new tomorrow from this moment.
“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” – George MacDonald
4. Forgiveness is freedom.
Forgiveness is not a “free pass” for others to keep hurting you, but it *is* the understanding that compassion is a release. It’s about not allowing the pain to take permanent residence in your heart, where you’re reminded with every single beat that the offense is still alive.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – L. B. Smedes
5. Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.
Forgiveness is not a show of weakness, but a display of strength. It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an even stronger person to forgive. You don't forgive not because you’re weak. You forgive because you're strong enough to not let someone else's wrongdoings make or break your chances for a meaningful life.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
6. Forgiveness is love.
There’s a grateful and graceful component of forgiveness, where you learn how to say, “Thank you for this experience" and mean it. Where you start to see the hurtful action for what it really is: a call for love.
“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” – Mother Theresa
. . .
What is forgiveness to you?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
P.S. Need helping letting go at night? Get my book Sleep Affirmations for peace right where you need it most... so you can get some rest. You deserve that much.