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Forgive, Forgiving, Forgiveness

Updated on February 14, 2012

Imagine someone is stealing your car so you tie a rope to the bumper and yourself to the other end. The car starts up and you are about to be dragged off. Someone says to you: "Untie the rope and let it go, it will kill you!" To which you reply: "They are in the wrong, they should stop, not me."

One of the best ways I know to build the relationship of your dreams is to understand and use the incredible power of forgiveness. Nothing causes more damage than withholding it and yet nothing releases more happiness and freedom than that simple action. We all know about it but, surprisingly, most of us haven't a clue about how it works or how to use it properly.

Even when it seems we will be diminished by the action, forgiving someone has its greatest impact on us. We are the ones released from the debilitating and destructive weight of anger, bitterness, resentment and depression.

If that is true, why is it that there is so much unforgiveness in our lives? I think that it exists because we have lost sight of how it works and who it is for. We think it has to do with our rights being violated. We think we are entitled to be treated according to an arbitrary code of conduct and we expect others to change if they don't meet our standard. Forgiveness is about acceptable boundaries, it is about viewpoint and it is about a philosophy of life. In this article, the car at the end of a rope tied to us is the idea of Rights and Punishment. Untying the rope is a three part process: Forgive, Forgiving and Forgiveness

First a definition

There are two main definitions of forgiveness. The first involves the pardon of an offender and the offense. The second has to do with releasing a debt owed to you. I said earlier that there is a lot of misunderstanding about forgiveness and I believe it starts in how we define it. In my opinion, true forgiveness always involves both of these actions.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you ~ Unknown

Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. ~ Anonymous

Rights and Punishment

When someone wrongs you or offends you, you may not be angry every time, but almost always there is the moral indignation, the sense that it is not fair. You want remorse or at least acknowledgment by the other person of the wrong they did to you. They owe you an apology and they need to make it right. Often this is exactly what happens. The person realizes what they did, apologizes and tries to make it right. The wronged person, in turn, forgives the offender and in many cases relinquishes any debt if the offender cannot repay it.

All too often, however, they either do not believe they offended or wronged you or they simply do not acknowledge it and go on as if nothing happened. Sometimes we don't believe they are sincere even if they do say they are sorry and we continue the estrangement. This is when the idea of rights and punishment comes into play. If we see that person again, we say to ourselves that they violated our rights, they owe us a real apology and we need to punish them by withholding affection or civility and often we give them a piece of our mind. You might even employ the old adage, "Don't get mad, get even" and try to even the score. They need to be punished so that they feel the blame for what they did and do something about it. If this is a method you use, I will ask the therapists' question:

How is that working for you?

My parents' first child, my sister, I'll call her Mary, was fifteen when she was in the care of a cousin, along with a younger sister. They were playing near a creek and decided to ride a log in the water, since neither could swim. The current upended them and the youngest was going down for the fourth time when Mary pushed her to shore, losing her own life in the process. I was only one at the time and so I do not remember her. All those who knew her described her as one of those almost "perfect" children whose sweetness, positiveness and selflessness impressed everyone she met.

Her loss devastated my mother, who never forgave (until just before her death) the cousin who was supposed to be watching them. My mother was an exceptional woman who helped everyone she knew who needed it, but all her adult life, she carried a bitterness and resentment for the cousin who she felt was responsible for the loss of her precious child. The pain of the loss was immense, but the bitterness she carried was responsible for a diminishing of her abilities and her own normally bright nature. She kept the newspaper notices, the funeral program and photos and looked at them with renewed pain and anger at various times.

To this day, I do not believe the cousin knew about the resentment, nor felt it was his responsibility, since he was not much older than they were.

It was my mother who felt her right to trust had been violated and the smoldering resentment and bitterness punished her all her life. Not only that, she was the hardest on herself for allowing a young kid to watch her girls and even if she could have forgiven the young cousin, she was not able to forgive herself. It wasn't until one day I saw a note to her sister that said: "Tell her that I got rid of all of Mary's notices and things." It was her way of saying she had been dragged by that car long enough and she finally untied the rope.

It might help to look at the sentence:

"They owe me an apology!"

"They owe..." implies that we think we have some sort of ownership rights in another's thoughts, words or actions. If they say or do something we don't like, we feel they are obligated to act in a way that undoes the previous hurt or offense and conform their actions to our standard of proper conduct. In other words, they are the car and we have tied our rope to their bumper.

"How silly, you say. I don't own them." And you are right. You don't. In a previous article, Joy for You and Me, I introduced Winsome's three steps of joyful relationships. The first was:

1. What others think of you is none of your business--another way to say this is you have no rights in or ownership of another's thoughts, words or actions. They own them and you own yours. They are only responsible for their words and actions and you are only responsible for yours. Once you start thinking that no one owes you in a relationship, the less you will be hurt by them and the sooner you can truly understand the idea of forgiveness.

For example, suppose your best friend says something critical about you and you find out about it. Your first reaction may be to feel badly about yourself and hurt that they would say it. Your second reaction is a sense of violation and defensiveness. You feel they "owe" you an apology and they need to take it back. Not only that, they must be "Punished" so you act differently towards them.

This causes them to become defensive and you both sink to a lower and lower form of relating. "I can't believe you said that about me! I thought you were my friend. I haven't said anything about your (defect or actions!) I'm not going to speak to you and you can forget about the party I was going to give you!"

What if, instead, you relinquished ownership of their statement?

If you don't own it or have no rights about what they say, it stays their property and their problem. Now all that exists is an issue that can be talked about. Instead of the above dialogue, it could go like this: "I heard that you said _________ about me. Would you like to talk about it?" Separating the person from the action frees you up to talk about the issue without the emotion that taking it in would cause. There are no rights violated if you don't own their words and therefore no need for punishment, there is just an issue which may or may not need to be addressed.

Let's use the car analogy again--when you first discover the offense, ask yourself: "Do I really want to tie a rope to the bumper of this issue?" Some of the ways we attach the rope is:

a. Taking it personal--This allows their problem with you to become your problem with you.

b. Redefining them--Not everyone who hurts you is your enemy

c. Getting personal--Instead of addressing the problem you comment on their motivation or make personal comments about them.

d. Focusing on YOUR feelings--Remember that it is their issue, not yours, focus on their feelings even if you don't agree with their actions. Caring enough to address their feelings can often resolve the issue.

e. Looking for ways to blame others--Making excuses or transferring blame is a waste of time and usually destructive. Relationship building is best when you eliminate issues rather than add to them.

f. Refusing to apologize--Everyone can listen and offer some kind of empathy. It is ideal if you can truthfully say "I am so sorry that you are hurt. I would never intend to hurt you. Please forgive me."

If you cannot say that, at least say something like this: "I understand what you are saying and I hear how you feel. If I were you I would feel the same way." If you were them you would feel as they do and even though you disagree, saying it this way lets them know you are trying to see their viewpoint.

I. FORGIVE The first stage of forgiveness is the act itself

We differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent, and to forgive ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

If you visualize the car and the rope, you can see why forgiving someone frees you up from harm. This is a lot easier to do if you don't take it personally, but even if you do, pardoning them for the offense and relinquishing their debt to you still will put you in a safer and higher place.

But what does this do for the offender? You might ask. Doesn't this send the message that they can do this again? Where is the justice? First, let me remind you that it is not your job to teach them how to be--your job is to be the best you can be and communicate honestly your needs and feelings. If they care about you, they will listen to you and make their decisions.

Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Whoever is forgiven much, loves much ~ Luke 7:47, The Bible

To forgive is the purest way to show love. Anyone can love a person who is nice to you and builds you up. The hardest person to love is someone who attacks your spirit or self-image or betrays you in some way. None of us would probably share bread with a Judas without saying something about the betrayal he was about to do. Without telling him how much he is hurting us. Jesus not only shared his last meal with him, but He washed Judas' feet along with the others and on the cross said "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing."

When you give up your right to be understood or appreciated and are confident of who you are, you too can say "If they really knew who I was they probably wouldn't act the way they do."

Forgiving is a matter of perspective. As long as I focus on the "wrong," I am focusing on myself and if I think of the other person at all, it is to right the wrong. If I refuse to take ownership of their actions, I can focus on the other person and not myself. I can find out what their concerns are and help both them and myself in the process.

If you need help doing this stage of forgiveness, consider all the times you were forgiven even when you were unrepentant and totally in the wrong. How did it make you feel? Didn't it make you a better person? Part of the familiar "Lord's Prayer" is forgive us our offenses (or trespasses) as we forgive those who have offended us. If my being forgiven depends on my forgiving others, then it wouldn't hurt to make it a regular habit.

II. FORGIVING--The second stage of forgiveness is to allow this to become your personality

Have you ever had a grandparent or teacher or friend with whom you could just be yourself and know they would generously overlook your cross words or selfish actions. Those are the kind of people you want to spend time with--the people you go to for comfort or counsel. There is nothing so disarming and empowering than a forgiving person.

Becoming a person who is known to keep short accounts and forgive quickly fits in with the second step of joyful relationships: 2. What others say or do to you does not absolve you of your responsibility to be yourself and respond with character, not sink to their level of acting or talking.

Jean ValJean of Les Miserables is released from prison after 18 years for stealing a loaf of bread and then trying to escape. He is forced to wear a yellow badge that reminds everyone that he is a criminal. The Bishop of Digne was warned to lock his door to keep ValJean out, but instead leaves it open and when Jean arrives, he takes him in, feeds him and gives him a place to sleep. Jean thinks the Priest is like everyone else and steals his silverware.

Priest (to dismayed house servant):
So we'll use wooden spoons.
I don't want to hear anything more about it.

Officer arrives to Priest's home and rap on door with an apprehended Valjean.

Officer: I'm sorry to disturb you.
Priest: You caught him!
Officer: I had my eye on this man.
Priest: Thank God.
(turning to Valjean)
I'm very angry with you, Jean Valjean.

Officer: (taken aback by the Monseigneur's black eye)
What happened to your eye, monseigneur?!?

Priest: Didn't he tell you he was our guest?
Officer: Oh, yes.
After we searched his knapsack
and found all this silver...
he claimed...
that you gave it to him.

Priest: Yes. Of course
I gave him the silverware.
(to Valjean in faux dismay)
But why didn't you take the candlesticks?
That was very foolish.
(to housekeeper, hurriedly)
Mme Gilot, fetch the silver candlesticks.
They're worth at least -- francs.
Why did you leave them? Hurry!
M. Valjean has to get going.
He's lost a lot of time.
Did you forget to take them?

Officer: Are you saying he told us the truth?
Priest: Of course.
Thank you for bringing him back.
I'm very relieved.
Officer: Release him.

Jean Valjean (in total bewilderment): You're letting me go?

Officer: Didn't you understand the bishop?

Priest: Mme Gilot, offer these men some wine.
They must be thirsty.

Officer: (retreat into the house) Thanks.

Priest (turns to Valjean with a new fire in his eye reflected in his hushed tone):
And don't forget...
don't ever forget
you've promised to become a new man.

Valjean (tears welling in disbelief): Why are you doing this?

Priest: Jean Valjean, my brother,
you no longer belong to evil.
With this silver, I've bought your soul.
I've ransomed you from fear and hatred.
Now I give you back to God.

This generous act of forgiveness is what releases and inspires ValJean to become the honest, successful and forgiving man that shines through the novel.

Never underestimate the awesome, life-changing power of forgiveness
Never underestimate the awesome, life-changing power of forgiveness

III. FORGIVENESS--The third stage is creating an atmosphere of forgiveness

Nothing I know can do as much good as forgiveness and nothing can do as much harm as refusing to give it.

Did you ever wonder why it is so hard to stop a war once it has begun? Have you wondered why it is so hard to stay out of or get out of a gang in the ghetto? Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to keep the majority of marriages out of divorce court?

I believe it is because there is a failure early on in marriages, in gangs and in national conflicts to give others the benefit of the doubt. We refuse to forgive and that leads to divorce, gang violence and war.

Anti-war movements are usually too little and too late. Most wars, once begun, are difficult to reverse and the price is enormous in lives lost as well as countless mental and physical injuries. What if cultivating an atmosphere of understanding, forgiveness and mutual acceptance would stop wars before they begin?

I read the early background of two famous war antagonists--Adolf Hitler and Ho Chi Minh. Young Adolf had a stern father who would never forgive him for less than optimum study habits and grades. Time after time, Adolf would fail in his father's eyes and as far as I could see, his father never forgave him for the poor performance. Adolf was sent to a boarding school where he was introduced to another unforgiving man, a teacher who filled Adolf with anti-Jewish thought and emotional prejudice.

Cost of unforgiveness in the life of Adolf Hitler: In World War II, over 60 million people (1/3 military & 2/3 civillians) killed--2.5% of the world population.

Ho Chi Minh worked in the United States and was educated in England. In my opinion he was impressed with the democracies of both countries and when he was in a position of influence in Vietnam, he asked the Western Powers at two different times for help in developing independence for his country. Following World War I, he petitioned for recognition of the civil rights of the Vietnamese people in French Indochina to the Western powers at the Versailles peace talks, but was ignored. Citing the language and the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he petitioned U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for help to remove the French from Vietnam and replace them with a new, nationalist government. He was unable to obtain consideration at Versailles and the failed effort had the effect of further radicalizing him and making him a national hero in Vietnam.

During World War II, Japan overran the country, driving out the French. After the war, Ho Chi Minh asked the superpowers to allow the country to develop independence. Instead, France was awarded the South and China the North. China cruelly ruled North Vietnam causing wide support of Ho Chi Minh. The south was ruled by the corrupt Diem and caused sympathy to arise for the independence and unity movement called the Viet Cong.

In 1946, they chased out the Chinese communists. Instead of championing that movement and forgiving the past, France attacked the North, forcing Ho Chi Minh into the arms of Russia and China. Instead of supporting Minh's independence ideas, America took over where France left off and drove Vietnam further and further into savage resistance and communist control.

I'm not saying Minh was a saint, I am only trying to illustrate that with every individual there are tacts that lead to understanding and self-determination and there are actions based on control and selfishness that lead to suffering and sometimes prolonged and deadly war.

Cost of unforgiveness with Ho Chi Minh: 60,000 US soldiers, almost 3 million Vietnamese soldiers and civillians killed as well as untold numbers of emotional and physical injuries.

War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will. ~ Carl Von Clausewitz, Prussian military general and theoretician

The Third Step of Joyful Relationships--3. Try telling yourself before you interact with someone, "I may not agree with this person nor approve of some things they do or say, but I will totally approve of them as a person. They can do nothing to change my resolve about this."

I have tried to show you some radical ideas about life-changing relationships.

When you forgive, you untie the rope which ties you to a destructive force that can kill you.

Refusing to take ownership of destructive words or actions allows you to focus on the other person rather than yourself.

Separating the issues from the person allows you to approve of them and keep your friendships intact.

Focusing on the needs of others rather than your own selfish agenda can transform nations and actually save millions of lives.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”

One of the reasons we find it hard to forgive others is because we are following a script we no longer believe. All of us tell stories to ourselves that have no basis in fact. We may see ourselves as a martyr, a sensitive soul, one who is not truly appreciated by others or even as a person we identify with in a movie or series. We may even be acting out of habit to an adolescent conviction that we have long outgrown.

Try to examine your actions when the opportunity to forgive is fumbled and ask yourself: "Is this really what I believe? Is this the kind of person I want to be?"

All of us can rewrite our story. Write in the person you would like to be. Fill your day with the positive things that support that person. Surround yourself with people that personify the forgiving and understanding person you are beginning to see in your own mirror.

Be choosy where you tie your rope. Tie it to your dreams, your hopes--as Abraham Lincoln said: "To the angels of your better nature." The world needs superheroes, but not with weak attributes like flying or superstrength. The world needs ordinary people like you and me whose greatest power is the ability and willingness to forgive.


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    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Jo70,

      Thanks for the kind words and for your very real example.

      In answer to your question, yes, you definitely can use these principles.

      1. What they say about you is none of your business--this means that unless they break a law of the land, you have no rights over their behavior. They may be despicable, but 2. their behavior does not relieve you of your responsibility to act honorably according to the principles of your own character and core values.

      Let's look at the balance sheet: You lose your job and they still have theirs. That may seem way one-sided, but let's look more closely: They have to live with their actions and their despicable selves. They have to be who they are with the consequences that come with that kind of life. You get to be a person with a free conscience, able to do your job unfettered by shame and guilt. You will shine over these characters when the opportunity presents itself.

      When Joseph in the Bible was slandered even though he was an exemplary employee of Potiphar, he still was the same character in prison and eventually became the 2nd in command under Pharoah.

      Taking the high road not only gives you a better viewpoint for opportunities, but because there are so few that do, you will stand out as well and the right people will take notice.

      Hope that helps, thanks again for the visit. =: )

    • profile image

      Jo70 5 years ago

      Dear Winsome,

      Your article is very awesome and inspiring. Congratulations!!

      I have a tough question. Do you think possible for someone to apply your values in everyday working environment? Some time ago, I fired because some 10-years colleagues felt threatened by my performance and wanted to keep their jobs. Additionally, they slandered me in company competitors and customers just to make sure that they felt happy and secure.

      Forgiveness keeps my soul in peace. On the other side, I have to survive. I invested 7 years in 2 high-quality Masters and energy in this career. How can I (re)act to my "buddies" without feeling guilty? The options of changing career or city are at high cost and I can't support these solutions for the time being. Also, I had a direct approach and my "buddies" denied everything but their body language was sending other messages.

      Thank you in advance.

    • profile image

      rgmg50 5 years ago

      yip will practice what you preached lol.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi RM ,

      Thank you so much for the generous and heartfelt words. I worked longer on this article than most I have written because I feel it is so important. I'm happy you share that sentiment. Now to put it into practice. =: )

    • profile image

      rgmg50 5 years ago

      This hub has taken my breath away. This is the best article I have ever read about forgiveness, what it is, what it does and what happens if we do not forgive. Wow!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Dora, I share your resolve to help people by the things you write. I happy if this achieved that for you. =:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great article. Love your illustrations from the rope on the car to the cost of forgiveness. Voted useful and beautiful!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi KC, I'm glad you read this article, I put a lot of thought and meditation into this subject because I really do believe it is the key to everything worthwhile in our relationships.

      We are closer to the image of God when we forgive than any other thing we can do. If I could paraphrase John 3:16 it would be "God so loved the world that He forgave it for killing Him." We can do no less. =:)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I've sat through sermons that didn't say this truth this well.

      "I am only trying to illustrate that with every individual there are tacts that lead to understanding and self-determination and there are actions based on control and selfishness that lead to suffering and sometimes prolonged and deadly war. - The world needs ordinary people like you and me whose greatest power is the ability and willingness to forgive."


    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 6 years ago

      I think that letting go of the past sums up the way to move forward. Living in the past instead of living in the day/present is both - painful and wasteful of time. Thank you.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hey 2uesday, wonderful to see you again. What a nice compliment, thank you. I have to say I've enjoyed researching this article more than most I've done. You are right, it is hard, but nothing frees you up like letting words, actions and even people go. I once considered what my world would be like if I resolved to forgive every single offense--maybe even as it is being committed. What kind of person would that make me. I decided that all things considered, it would make me a happy one.

      Thank you again for the visit--I always feel like we should have a cup of tea and cookies when you come. =:)

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 6 years ago

      I hope that this page will be found by the people who need help to forgive and it will help them, because resentment is difficult to live with.

      I think it can be difficult to forgive other people and sometimes it is complicated to understand and forgive our own mistakes.

      This is rare, it is a page that is worth returning too and reading more than once.

    • profile image

      Ana Louis 6 years ago

      Thank you. Now I feel special.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Now I do feel visited me on your birthday. Well if I had known I would have baked a cake so I'll just have to make one.






      Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!

      Winsome =:)

    • profile image

      Ana Louis 6 years ago

      What an awsome conversation. It is amazing how blind the seeing can be, and I include myself among the seeing.

      Good to see you too, and thank you for your hospitality. Yesterday was my birthday, so I treated myself to a whole day on Hubpages. A rare treat. Don't tell anyone but I think I might be younger today.:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      How nice to see you Ana! Thank you for those kind words and you may write as long as you want. You are always in my no fault zone.

      That verse is one of my favorites. Once I was complaining to God that I never seem to have enough money to pay all my bills and yet I ask for His blessings all the time. What came to mind was this conversation: "Darwin I am here in the warehouse of my provision and I have piles and piles of blessings set aside that I'm trying to pour out on you, but I have a problem. I only have this teeny tiny spoon. You know that I can only measure out to you using the same measure you use for others--if you get me a bigger spoon, I can get you the things you need a lot sooner."

      I think He was grinning when He said it. =:)

    • profile image

      Ana Louis 6 years ago

      A wonderful hub Winsome. You always write with such wisdom and grace. I enjoyed this very much.

      I have heard people say that they cannot forgive an offense...that is just the way they are, and they cannot change. I think that is so sad, because unforgiveness is choosing to hold on to hurt and anger, two emtions that erode away our ability to find and experience peace, contintment, and real love in this life. Forgiveness is an intentional act, but it seems to happen without effort when forgineness becomes a state of being.

      Here is another quote to add to the collection. I like this verse from Luke 6:38; "For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

      Sorry this is so long. You always manage to stir my brain.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hello DO, I appreciate your kind words and I enjoyed your article, please visit often. =:)

    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 6 years ago

      Winsome, beautiful hub! We all need to forgive others for the hurt they cause use - though hard it may be. I also wrote a hub on forgiveness, please take a visit. All the best to you.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Kathy, thank you for the kind words and visit. Blessings to you. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      I agree with you Phoebe, I really meant let it go. It is surprising though, that when I forgive and let it go, I don't dwell on it and most times I don't even give it a thought. =:)

      Q, you are always forgiven, and remember all the Grinch's 8 year-old grudge did for him was to give him an appetite for toxic sludge soup and a knack for being alone. =:)

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 6 years ago

      Voted Up UP UP! All should read such a great reminder and teaching piece ~ blessings and thanks for sharing :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      Sometimes a grudge could be an impetus to reach higher standards ... forgive me if you think I am wrong!


    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 6 years ago

      If you forget, you don't truly forgive though. Forgiving is more like accepting and letting it go, while forgetting is just not remembering it. Just my opinion though.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you Phoebe, I love that expression--spot on. Of all the wasted activities in which I've been engaged, holding a grudge has got to be at the top of the list. I'm normally an agreeable kind of guy, but when something nags at you, it's time to forgive it and forget it. Good to see you and thanks again for the great support. =:)

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 6 years ago

      You opened this hub very dramatically... the message was spot on! Great work, as always.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Birdslover, thank you for the comment. Untying a rope to past misdeeds is not always easy, but it is possible. It involves an intentional decision to forgive yourself and saying it orally to yourself helps. It might sound like this: "I choose to forgive myself for ________ and I release myself from the debt of that recollection." If you believe in a higher power you can ask for help in keeping that feeling from having power over you and for healing of your wounded spirit.

      This article is meant to show you that blame is destructive and actually gets in the way of healing the relationship. If you can release blame or debt, you can concentrate on building the best relationship possible. =:)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      Hi AquaSilver! This default browser is system generated, and cannot be closed ... cannot open tabs at will either. Cannot even clear history! Lol!!!

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Hi birdslover, my advice, don't go there, if you have asked God to forgive you, He already has, the 'corpse' of your 'offence' has been buried, stop digging it up, it will smell worse each time, leave it to disintegrate where God buried it.

      God does not give us guilt, that comes from the enemy, God gives us conviction of sin, when we repent, He forgives and then He forgets, or rather chooses to forget our sins.

      If you feel conviction that you should do some act of restitution, then you will feel that unease until you at least agree with Gods conviction and determine to make that restitution. If restitution is not possible at this time, stand on your promise to make it and work towards making the restitution when you can.

      But stop listening to the enemy and start praising God that Christ died to deal with ALL your sins, past, present and future.

    • birdslover profile image

      birdslover 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great thoughts!! Its easy to forgive others but its hard to forgive ourselves. Done something in the past, now living with a guilt feeling for years.

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Hi quicksand, I would suggest that unless the back button can take you back to before where the offence occurred, it's no use going back, best to close the 'browser' and open a new tab, and when it asks 'restore tabs' click no and start anew, otherwise you will live up to your avatar!

      The only way to get out of quicksand is to lie flat on the top of it and 'swim' to safety, try to walk out and you will sink! :)


    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Well here's hoping this article can help you be at peace with it. =:)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      Well Winsome, the back-button reverses the forgiving part! If I don't hit it, I keep kicking myself!


    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Ha ha, Q you always give me a smile. I know that feeling. I was able to completely free myself from a potentially bad situation by forgiving as it was happening and when that person exhibits similar behavior, I am tempted to regret the decision. Fortunately, I am getting so much positive reinforcement by not tying my rope to the issues that it is hardly a temptation at all.

      I like the back button--I assume it means to re-forgive. Thank you for a fun comment as always. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hey TT, thank you for the kind comment and for the tip. I will definitely look it up. Intriguing title but familiar--even the golden rule advises us to treat others according to our own selfish standards of how we would like to be treated. Thanks again for including this article in your travels. =:)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      A great lesson indeed. Interesting too. But, whenever I forgive, I find that I keep kicking myself for doing so. So, I have no choice but to hit the back button!

      (:_______________Wide Grin!________________:)

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 6 years ago from USA

      Once again you have written with great wisdom and beauty. There is a very old book called "The Art of Selfishness". If you can find it, I think you would enjoy reading it. It's full of the same type of wisdom that you exhibit time and again. Thank you.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Lone Star, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I agree that ego makes forgiveness difficult. It is really quite simple--self first, you lose--put the other first and you both win. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hello Skye, I am honored by your response. Thank you for the encouragement. I have no other place to go than toward the words of life. It is interesting that those verses were one after the other--almost like someone wanted us to not misunderstand. If we do, He will. If we don't He won't.

      Blessings. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      What fun Diana! That must have been a moving experience. We underestimate the power of giving--especially after we have been wronged. I am grateful for your visit and the kind words. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you Matt6v33, just trying to increase in knowledge and learning so I can do it right one day. =:)

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wow! Beautiful! My most potent experience with forgiveness occurred on the cusp of a full-blown miracle. The forgiveness was so complete that I forgot the trespass for over thirty years. That the first ones moved by the miracle were the perpetrators of the assault was a fact that did not occur to me for over three decades.

      Ownership is definitely a major problem. In your car example, most people would undoubtedly have a hard time relinquishing ownership. Such entitlement makes them vulnerable. All possessions do, including the possession of our physical body.

      There is an invulnerable part of the self -- the child of God, within. This "soul" inherently doesn't require ownership of anything, but works from the standpoint of infinite abundance.

      The vulnerable part of self -- ego -- requires ownership of anything which affects the ego self.

      I love your examples of letting go.

      Christ said that we need to let this ego self die before we can gain everlasting life.

      Instinctively, we seem to coddle a bruised ego like an injured limb, but ego remains the source of all trouble.

      Ego is physical (a false self). It obeys the laws of action-reaction. All too often, logic gets in the way of healing. Forgiveness rises above logic to the level of creation, breaking with the continuity which binds one to the source of resentment.

      True forgiveness seems to include taking full responsibility and ignoring blame. This is the responsibility of a loving parent for their child.

      True forgiveness seems to include utter humility--no sense of importance or self. This is the viewpoint of the hero.

      True forgiveness seems to include perfect confidence--the essence of faith--and entirely unlike the arrogance of ego, because faith includes humility.

      True forgiveness seems to include unbridled love. With such love comes generosity and a lack of importance or attachment. Things can only be "important" to the "self." Outside of that, they simply "are."

      When you take this viewpoint, you can no longer remain a victim; and in every victim there resides a perpetrator who suffers; while in every perpetrator there resides a victim anxious to lash out. True forgiveness removes us from the realm of wailing and gnashing. We no longer hold the burden of darkness.

      You have provoked a great deal of thought. I will want to read this again.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Winsome Thank you for an awesome read. The personal story about your cousin took great courage to share. Many hearts will be touched and seeds planted. By the comments that has already come to pass. God Bless you bro. Keep on winsome, u will Phil 4:13 Unforgivingness does keep one in bondage and chains. Just what the enemy wants. Any thing to separate us from the Love of God. Sending hugs your way brother. Fake it until you make it forgiveness will come. It can be a process. Gods Word helps me to forgive. It is commanded by Him.

      Mat 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

      Mat 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. NIV translation

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 6 years ago from India

      Beautiful and the story of the Bishop's candlesticks brought back some memories. I remember enacting it in class some 35 years ago.

    • matt6v33 profile image

      matt6v33 6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand


    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Levertis, pleasure to make your acquaintance. With your teaching background I am sure you had to practice these principles on a regular basis. I hope this fresh take strengthens what you already know. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Dave, nice to see you and thank you for the kind words. I appreciate writers like you who take the time to read a weightier than usual study. I am gratified to know you enjoyed it. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      It's a pleasure to see you in any form Shalini, thank you for the high praise. Sometimes the most profound of concepts elude us until we see it in the absurd. I'm picky about where I tie my rope these days. Tying my rope to the positiveness of people like you makes life a lot more joyous. =:)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Totally forgiven AS, I am honored by your comment and very pleased it speaks to you. It is also gracious of you to share with your readers, thank you.

      I've always known it was right to forgive, but understanding how to do it and how it works has taken a lot longer to grasp. All my best. =:)

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 6 years ago from Southern Clime

      Awesome hub! Finding peace within and truly forgiving were two gems that I thought I had mastered. I learned them late in life; nevertheless, I learned, and O the joy! Thanks for a fine refresher.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      A brilliant hub on forgiveness and repentance.

      Thank you.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi again Winsome - I have no idea what just happened - my comment has appeared as 'anonymous' :D And I was signed in. And strange - I couldn't edit it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is really incredible, Winsome! I do wish I had heard more Sunday sermons like this when I was growing up! We need to wake up to the positive and snip the ties that bind us to the negative - and what a brave new world we can be! Voted up and up!

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Brilliant hub, voted up, Facebooked, and sent to my readers, and soon to be sent to my private mailing list as well.

      The clearest explanation I have read, I am really in awe of this hub, well done.


      PS Forgive my exuberance!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Good morning FP, reading your comment sets the tone for my evening as well. I am very happy you found it helpful. You start practicing it in your hemisphere and I'll try to put forgiveness into practice in mine. May our hemispheres "profit" as a result.

      Thank you my favorite feline. =:)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      Such a beautiful hub! Reading it first thing in the morning has set the tone for my day...I'm going to try to put your thoughts into action. You should add Prophet to your name, Winsome! :)


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