Forgiving others is the right way to go on several levels. I say this as much from personal experience as well as from my place as a minister. I can remember when I was not so straight and narrow, when much of my influence was tempered by the world. I did things which I’m sure upset others and probably caused difficulty in their forgiving me. Now to be sure, there were instances when my actions were deliberate; at the time it was my intent to go against the grain and cause friction, even harm. My point is this, not every infraction is a mistake; we all do things that are not so wholesome, and we do them purposely. However, what does the intent have to do with the outcome? Bad is bad… that much doesn’t change. What can change is the way we handle what is bad, both in action and response. As already stated, bad is bad, and any bad action taken or bad response given will only further a bad situation. What needs to be understood in all of this is that so called culprit is only a part of the situation along with other parts. It’s the situation that must be addressed and corrected and not necessarily the condemning of the person. Every situation is only a moment in time, and over time people change. That guy or girl that you had a crush on back in school is now the most rotten person you know. On the other hand, the neighborhood bully has turned out to be the Pastor of the congregation. Forgiveness allows for growth of all parties and solutions that amend the situation that was bad. I ask you… have you ever done anything that you’re truly sorry for doing? Most often, bad actions or responses result when not enough information is supplied to a choice that’s good. If enough knowledge and information is supplied, then it’s the stubborn and foolish pride of individuals that causes the exclusion of good choices. This holds true in the act of forgiveness, as well as in those acts that need forgiving. People can learn to do better and usually do when given enough information and motivation. Refusing to forgive traps us inside a situation and isolated moment of time that in itself prevents progress. By far, learning to be forgiving is the start of real freedom.