Are You Forgiving, Can You Forgive, Will You Forgive
Are you forgiving
The English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) wrote: " To err is human, forgive divine." What a beautiful thought. My ex-husband used to accuse me( tongue in cheek) of being very forgiving, he would say that I never hold a grudge. I would wear that assessment of my character like a badge of honor. But these days I question that assessment. Now that's all I'm going to say on the subject.
The questions are; Are you of the forgiving sort? Can you let bygones be bygones? Can you overlook a slight? Can you just let it go? And do you hold on to a grudge like a hungry dog with a bone, a meaty bone at that? Let's examine these questions.
What does it mean to forgive
Before we go on let's define what it means to forgive, be forgiving, or to be a forgiver.
Most of us have our own definition, of to forgive, be forgiving, or to be a forgiver. However let's explore the dictionary meaning.
- FORGIVE-------stop blaming or grant forgiveness, to absolve from payment, to excuse a mistake or offense
- FORGIVING----providing absolution, able or inclined to forgive and show mercy
- FORGIVER-----a person who pardons or forgives or excuses a fault or offense
These are just partial meanings, however, they're enough to examine our subject.
Nina Simone I Hold No Grudge
Are you forgiving
Based on the meanings above, an examination of the subject of forgiving is in order. For instance,
when you are transgressed against, or think that you have been, can you
excuse the mistake, offense or fault, or can you show mercy? In other words are you forgiving?
If you look at it from a biblical standpoint, "you forgive so that you can be forgiven." Even if you are not spiritual, that reason would still apply. Just as you want someone to do for you, you must do likewise to them, (the golden rule). For instance what if someone said that you talked too much, or had offensive body odor. Well do you?( Talk too much, or have offensive body odor). Think back haven't you said things about someone that was offensive, but maybe it didn't get back to them, but you said it nevertheless. If they learned of what you said, wouldn't you want them to overlook, forgive or show mercy to you? (I'm just saying).
The above mentioned offenses are relatively minor, but what if the offense is serious. Perhaps a family situation, work related, or personal friendships. There are so many ways that one can be transgressed against, that I'll let the reader contemplate those. There are serious transgressions, such as adultery, physical or sexual abuse that I won't address in this article, because these in themselves are separate topics for discussion. However, even with those situations, is there room for forgiveness, if for no other reason than, that you can go on with your life, not continuing to live in the past. Not necessary taking the person back into your life, but being able live in the present. You've heard of individuals forgiving those that took the life of a loved one. Again let's not take this article there. (Just wanted to leave you something to think about).
Can you forgive and forget
You know the phrase "forgive and forget," well, in my opinion it's often misused. Some take it to mean that you actually put it out of your mind and forget that it ever happened. Actually you can't really forget unless you have a faulty memory. However, you can forget in the sense that you don't use it as a club, or a crutch. Forget in the sense of not holding the matter against the offender indefinitely. Forget in the sense that you use it as a reason not to commit the same offense. With that in mind, can you just do it, forget it?
Can you just forgive? You see forgiving is a choice that you can make, yes you can choose to excuse the mistake, offense etc, or maybe even show mercy to the offender. The reason you would choose to do so, is so that you can live in the here and now, and on into the future, not stay in the past.
In making choices, when you choose not to "forget" or forgive the offender, oftentimes you are the one that's affected the most. Think about this for a moment, when you're in the company of your supposed or real offender, what are you feeling? You have to try to avoid or ignore them, think of the energy this takes. Emotions and feelings that you've tried to suppress are brought to the surface yet again. And another otherwise beautiful day is ruined. Likely, the offender has moved on with their life and give little or no thought to you or the problem, their contact with you doesn't have the same effect on them as it does on you. How sad for you, that you've missed out on so many wonderful days, going through life motivated by anger and resentment.
Another thing to think about, maybe the "offender" didn't say or do what they're accused of, maybe they didn't think of it as offensive. You know the old proverbial fish story, how it grew the more the story was told. Could this be the case with this situation? What about a discussion with your "offender." So while the jury is still out could you, "brave the storm, with your hat in your hand, extend the olive branch, be the bigger person," and just talk to your "offender?" This might sound simplistic, but aren't some things just that, simply a matter of conversation. (Just saying)
The popular opinion is that to forgive is to show weakness, but in fact the opposite is true, for to forgive takes an awfully strong person, one that can stand up to the criticism from individuals that condemns his course of action. So, if you do forgive, think of the facet you can add to your character.
Will you forgive
Will you take the initiative to just forgive the offender? Not to trivialize the subject, this is not to say it will be a breeze, it will take a lot of work, not to mention, you will have to learn not to take yourself too seriously. Will you take the opportunity to make life better for you and those around you, by forgiving the offender, moving into the present and looking toward the future?
So if you do forgive you will stop blaming, you will grant forgiveness, you will absolve from payment, you will excuse the offense. Being forgiving you will provide absolution, you will forgive and you will show mercy. In addition if you are forgiving you will be one who pardons, you will be the one who forgives, and you will be the one who excuses a fault or an offense. All of that being said, WILL YOU FORGIVE?
So, back to the questions at hand: ARE YOU FORGIVING, CAN YOU FORGIVE, WILL YOU FORGIVE, after some introspection, only you can answer those questions.
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