FORGIVENESS - LETTING GO OF THE HURT
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller
Your spouse was unfaithful to you, or physically or emotionally abused you. Your best friend misunderstood you and or told you something hurtful. Your sibling did something to offend you. At some point in our lives, we have all been hurt by the actions or words of someone we love, that left us with feelings of bitterness and anger. What is the end result? Resentment, vengeance (in some cases) and hostility that oftentimes leave us feeling bitter and depressed. How can you forgive such terrible acts?
What is forgiveness? It is simply making a decision to let go of the hurt and pain caused by another, or the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing. Of course you will always remember the wrong done, but when you forgive it will lessen the pain or hurt and help you to understand, empathize and have compassion for the person who inflicted the pain. It does not mean that you are justifying the wrong or excusing the act. Forgiveness will give you peace and help you to move on positively with your life. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and hurt can make your own life miserable. When you are unforgiving it will be difficult to maintain a relationship and rob you of the chance of being happy, because you are so wrapped up in the past wrong that you cannot enjoy the present.
“Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” Sara Paddison
So how should you go about forgiving? First, forgive yourself. Many times we blame ourselves or feel responsible for something someone else did wrong to us. We need to stop this - it is not your fault, but the fault of the person who did the wrong. Or sometimes things happen in our lives - another person may not be involved- but we blame ourselves and find it hard to forgive ourselves, and so we go around with this heavy burden or noose around our necks. If you cannot forgive yourself, then you cannot forgive someone else. Secondly, you need to get rid of the negative emotions of what happened. It is hard, really hard. Thirdly, tell the person you have forgiven him or her. This should be done preferable in person – face to face. If you think that you are going to be too emotional, then a letter will do. Let the person know that you were hurt, but despite this, you are willing to forgive. After you have done this, do not mention the situation or hurt again, in other words, do not bring it up if ever there is a disagreement.
There are times when there cannot be any reconciliation, even after you have forgiven the person who caused you hurt. This is especially so with a spouse who have caused you terrible pain and anguish. Forgiving your spouse does not always mean resuming a relationship. If your spouse refuses to meet you halfway or has been abusive, it may be better to forgive simply to make your own life less stressful, but continue to keep your distance.
For those couples who are willing to forgive and reconcile, then both must agree that they are willing to sit and discuss the issue. Both must be willing to LISTEN to each other and to refrain from pointing the finger or blaming the other. Then the offender should apologize and ask for forgiveness. The offended person must then agree to forgive and not to use the issue in the future as a weapon in other misunderstandings.
Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, as it releases you from the burden of anger and pain. So choose forgiveness instead and live in the present and not the past.
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”-Bryant H. McGill