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Forgive Those Who Trespass

Updated on August 29, 2011

We’ve all heard the saying, “forgive and forget” but that is sometimes easier said than done. It’s the forgetting part I had a problem with until I thought about just what that part of the saying really means.

When we fixate on what the person did to us and let that be the focus of our attention it eats away at us like an ulcer. The person we hold the grudge against usually doesn’t place as much importance on it and in many cases doesn’t even think about it. Our hate is not hurting them it only affects us. When we dwell on the evils that have been acted upon us we have trouble focusing on daily life.

Don’t let the person who did you wrong live rent-free in your mind.

You’ve also heard the saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It is divine to not hold a grudge. It is divine to not let those negative thoughts hold you hostage.

The forgetting part is “letting go.” Yes, you will on occasion recall and think about the past but we have to work on putting it out of our mind as quickly as it appears. Don’t let it take precedence over other more positive things that could be in our subconscious.

When we forgive we are not condoning the other person's behavior we are simply not allowing them to control our lives and minds.

Our thoughts, mood and emotions are what make us who we are. You’ve met bitter, angry people who are no fun to be around. They only dwell on the negative side of life and constantly complain about every little thing. That is the cause of negative thinking. Allowing bad thoughts to live in our mind will turn us into a curmudgeon and gives us frown wrinkles.

When past wrongs play back in your mind recall another happy period or think about someone you love and who brings happiness in your life. Picture pleasant things like flowers, waterfalls or beautiful music. Replacing the good with the bad will eventually reprogram your mind to do this automatically and eventually those thoughts will be a wisp in the wind so fleeting they lose energy and will surface less and less.

Keep a happy book or file on your computer filled with pictures of things that make you smile. Put positive quotes in your log. Listen to upbeat, soothing or cheerful music when you feel down. Don’t allow your mood to stay in a slump too long or it becomes habit. Behavior and thoughts can be reprogrammed just like a computer. The more we do something the more it becomes commonplace and a part of us.

For some people group therapy and counseling helps to dispel past wrongs but for others simply putting it out of our mind is the best medicine. Rehashing and reliving the past isn’t always a good thing. Letting bygones be bygones, moving forward to a more positive life and making sure the past isn’t repeated is for some of us the better way to go.

Medication can work for a while but all it does is cover the situation and eventually we still have to deal with the pain and learn to live our life on our own two feet. The side effects of drugs can sometimes be worse than the problem it is supposed to cure so be sure and educate yourself before taking anything.


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    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Lita, time heals all wounds but sometimes it takes longer for some situations. It's not always easy to do.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

      When somebody hurt me, I get mad because I know it's hard to forgive and forget. "Letting go" takes a very slow process, but eventually, my anger dissipates with time. I won't allow anyone take control of me in the negative. This is very helpful, Pam.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Annaw, I don't think we even have to tell the other person but just letting go in our own heart will improve our well being.

    • annaw profile image

      annaw 6 years ago from North Texas

      Great Hub Pamela. I have a spiritual take on the act of forgiveness- In 1994 I was so filled with rage and unforgiveness I was having nightmares and was miserable when awake. One day I just knew I needed to reach out and tell this person I forgive you and please forgive me for my behavior. I have never forgotten what I felt but I do not dwell on it in anyway. Not until this writing did I even remember it all.Forgiveness/forgiving is powerful

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Pamela, if only we could be more like our furry kids and not hold grudges but our memories are long.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Good article and insights.

      I like the saying "To err is human, to forgive: canine." Something like that. Having a dog helps.

      This is a serious subject and there are scriptures that detail why we must forgive others. It sure does feel better when we forgive even though it can be so very difficult.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Caroline, I apologize for not approving your message before now for some reason I missed this one.

      Forgetting doesn't mean we wipe our memory clean but simply not dwelling on it and moving forward. Thanks for reading.

      Wayne, that is so true. Being more mature and not letting events take over our life makes us better people.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      Anger is all consuming and most of us don't remember today what was on our mind as important one year ago. Anger and revenge are all consuming and, as you point out, occupy the mind rent free. Some times winning is about being the bigger person and moving beyond the pettiness of a situation. Don't let others pull you into the mud they choose to wallow in. Be the better person and ultimately you will respect yourself for it. Thanks for sharing! WB

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      This is a great hub! I've always thought that you don't truly forgive until you forget (or, at least don't hold a grudge or dwell on it). Like all things considered divine, it is really hard to do sometimes. Like your suggestion of a "happy" file.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I'm sorry, Pan. It helps to put it aside. It takes time but eventually the pain will lessen.

    • pan1974 profile image

      April 6 years ago from Columbus,Ga

      I did learn that, and it took some time, people have hurt me really bad, thanks for this hub, it's like a gift.You made things so clear. Thank you.