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Six Things to Remember After We Forgive

Updated on June 10, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor, explores attitudes and actions that can help us maintain our mental well-being.

What exactly are we supposed to forget after we forgive? While we may struggle to forget the betrayal, disappointment, humiliation or the loss caused by the offense, we do not want to forget the positive effects of forgiveness which can empower us to become stronger and wiser.

Here are six valuable by-products of forgiveness which we do well to remember whenever the anger and hurt from a previous offense try to invade our minds.

(1) The Good Side

Eighteenth Century Painting: Joseph Forgives His Brothers . Artist: Willem de Poorter
Eighteenth Century Painting: Joseph Forgives His Brothers . Artist: Willem de Poorter | Source

There is a story (Genesis 50:15-21) about a Canaanite young man named Joseph, who was sold to Egyptian merchants by his jealous brothers. He forgave his offenders and in his search for the good side, his honesty and productivity made him become the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to the Pharaoh.

Years passed. Famine struck Canaan, and Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt to buy food, Joseph arranged for them to obtain as much as they wanted, and was happy to let them know, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.” Who could have guessed that the good side had benefits for both the offended and the offenders?

Remember that the good side may be temporarily hidden from our view. We may have to search for it, but be convinced that it exists.

(2) The Lessons Learned

Source

Remember that there are lessons to be learned from adverse circumstances; and that the lessons count toward our education for life.

  • Have we learned the consequences of ignoring red flags that wave at us?
  • Have we learned the value of setting boundaries to keep out unwanted behavior and keep in the standards we choose to live by?
  • Have we learned not to take for granted issues that other people consider significant?

These are the kinds of lessons to list under our experience résumé. They come in handy when similar situations threaten our stability on future jobs and in future relationships. Lessons learned enable us to thank offenders for helping us to grow.

(3) Our Need for Forgiveness

Source

Do we walk away haughtily after we forgive? Or, do we seem humble and reflective, recognizing that we also have flaws?

We contribute to some of the offenses committed against us. Sometimes the offenses are retaliation for negative behavior on our part. The other person was nearer to the breaking point than we were. Not that we deserve it, but that we might have prevented it by being sensitive and compassionate, instead of brash and demanding. One day it will be our turn to seek forgiveness. Therefore, it is important to not only say that we forgive; but also to demonstrate the spirit of forgiveness.

When we forgive the faults of others, it is not because we are perfect, but because, among other things, we believe that offering forgiveness will result in it being offered to us. We have been guilty of lying, cheating, gossiping, ridiculing and other character flaws. When we accept our guilt, we cannot help but show kindness and understanding to other guilty people.

Forgiveness is a way of saying “I understand because I can relate to your imperfection." We also hope that other people will be as understanding when they see our short comings.

(4) The Reason We Forgive

Source

Remember that we get the greater benefit when we forgive our offenders. Nothing is more precious than peace of mind. Forgiveness removes obstacles like resentment and hate which threaten the flow of positive energy through our minds and bodies. It turns offenders and offenses into stepping stones on our way to maturity and wisdom.

Forgiveness gives us the control. We have the freedom to flip through the channels which remind us of our hurt, and settle at those which show power emerging from pain. We are free to watch and try strengthening exercises and to laugh out loud when we see our progress. We are free to focus on whatever helps us heal.

Remember that we have the power to decide; we do not have to be victims.

(5) A Second Chance

Source

Don’t forget that forgiveness offers the opportunity for a second chance. Sometimes, in the calm that comes with forgiveness, both the offender and the offended share the responsibility for the offense and agree to begin again. When that happens, forgiveness keeps the mistakes of the past from interfering with the possibilities of the future.

At other times, one or both of individuals may choose to say goodbye. We sense a brighter future with different people on a different path. The separation may hurt and we may fret with ourselves because we did not prevent it; but the sooner we accept it, the sooner the good side comes into view. We are free to start over as many times as we desire.


(6) The Choice to Move On

When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future. - Bernard Meltzer

Remember that after forgiveness—letting go of the old hurt, and refusing to blame ourselves and anyone else—healing and renewal become our priority. We move on.

Moving on after Forgiveness

In 1995, Azim Khamisa lost his twenty-year old son to a bullet from fourteen-year old Tony Hicks. Five years later, Khamisa met his son’s killer. In his CBS interview, the father said that he expected to see a killer in Hicks, but instead he saw a soul very much like his own. Khamisa has employed Ples Felix, Tony’s grandfather to work at the foundation he started in the name of his son. He also corresponds with Tony Hicks and has become a surrogate father who promises to be there when the prisoner is paroled in 2027.

Khamisa’s philosophy is that having rescued Tony Hicks with his love, he has given Tony the tools to rescue many others. What an amazing result of forgiveness and moving on!

© 2016 Dora Weithers

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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Shauna, it is also difficult to know beforehand how you will respond to an offender; there are so many variables. Also, time by itself doesn't heal the wound; we have to intentionally work at the healing. Thank you so much for your valuable input.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      Beautiful hub, Dora. Forgiving isn't always easy. Sometimes, time has to go by to heal the wounds before we're able to forgive. In the case of the man you feature at the end of this post, I don't know if I'd be able to forgive someone who killed my son, or anyone I love for that matter. Hopefully, I'll never have to find out.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, it's all good if you take your time to forgive. You may remember the offender and the offense but what you want to forget is the hurt; you cannot carry that forever.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      If I I do something wrong I do tend to admit to it straight away, and apologise, but I am not very good at forgiving, I think I said this before on another hub I tend to be a bit like an elephant! I never forget, but thats something I am working on, wonderful hub as always, nell

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Deb, thanks for your affirmation. The past does hold us in a place that no longer benefits us; forgiveness pushes us into a better future.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You definitely speak the truth here. For some people, it is better to forget the past and look forward to the future, as there will be additional lessons to build upon, in order to make one a better individual.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks,Flourish. One thing not to forget is that one day the tables will turn and the offended now will be the one seeking forgiveness.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 years ago from USA

      Especially when you have wronged someone important to you, it is key to try to seek their forgiveness. Do it without delay. Many people do not know the correct way to apologize, instead offering wimpy excuses for apologies such as, "I'm sorry IF I made you upset." I appreciated your advice.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Well said, Theresa. Put another ways, when we accept God's forgiveness for ourselves, then we can pass it on. Thanks for your contribution.

    • Theresa Jonathan profile image

      Theresa Jonathan 

      2 years ago from Maseru, Lesotho

      We all struggle to forgive ourselves for various reasons. The truth is, we cannot give what we do not have. Forgiving is giving love, this is why we have to learn to forgive ourselves too so that we can give because we have love and compassion for others.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Shanmarie, don't forget that you're only human and that you deserve forgiveness no less than the other people you forgive so easily. Forgiving yourself is really accepting that God has forgiven you.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sukhneet, you're very kind. Thanks for being so encouraging.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 years ago from Texas

      I can forgive others so easily, but I tend to take much longer to forgive myself for things, especially those things that result in the end of a relationship important to me. The points you bring up here are spot on, though.

    • sukhneet profile image

      Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti 

      2 years ago from India

      Very well-written and heart touching

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for your feedback, Janelle. We hear so much about forgetting which does not really happen, but there are many things worth remembering.

    • Janellegems profile image

      Janellegems 

      2 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting and unique Hub. MsDora, You have addressed an important,needed topic, forgiveness and shared some very vital points and lessons in what not to forget after we forgive.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Faith thanks for all the important points you add to the topic. We cannot too much about forgiveness!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Important topic here and you've done a stellar job in covering the overall effects of forgiveness, MsDora. Yes, this is a tough one, but to make amends or forgive as soon as possible, as God tells us, is a must.

      When we hold onto that unforgiveness, it can literraly make us physically sick. In His Word, as you know, it tells us it can rot us to our bones!

      Although we forgive, it doesn't mean we automatically are able trust that person as that takes time. I know that is hard for the offender to understand.

      Blessings

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Rajan, for your affirming input. I appreciate you.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      So many lessons for us in here. I believe the point 3 and 4 to be the most important ones for forgiving others. We all are imperfect and need peace of mind and forgiving others is so satisfying and peaceful.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, thanks for the double blessing! "The only one who suffers from unforgiveness is the unforgiving one." Perhaps you needed to stress that.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, preach away! Glad to write something you can use; and when you don't preach it, share the link anyway. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Jodah, thanks for your kind comment. Great that you're being a good example to your wife; hope that eventually she'll learn because it is a learning experience. Best to both of you!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another job well done, Dora! Another very practical and helpful hub! The hard part may be for many living it out. I've been there- done that, and those were the most miserable days of my life. The only one who suffers from unforgiveness is the unforgiving one. Thanks for writing on this much needed topic.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      I don't always respond, but I read and re-read nearly all my and others comments. I note your kindness here, Dee and I do appreciate same. Love as always.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well Dora, another masterpiece. You give us so much to better our lives. I wonder , do we take advantage of it? If not, it sure isn't your fault. I may use some of these ideas some Sunday morning if that's okay with you. Have a great weekend!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for this wonderful hub, Ms Dora. It has such an important message for us all. Fortunately, I am good at forgiving people. I don't forget what was done, but do forgive, My wife, however, has things and people in her past that she can never forgive. Great reference from the Bible, though. I love Joseph's story.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      RTalloni, thanks for your encouraging comment. Thanks also for the book referral; I will follow it up.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 years ago from the short journey

      Rare would be the person who finds that this topic does not strike a chord in their heart and mind. The perspective you offer could be very helpful to many. One of the most beneficial books covering the topic comes from Chris Brauns, titled Unpacking Forgiveness. It offers amazing help to those who suffer from serious injury by others.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Theresa, thanks for your input. Every sentence in your comment is a vital addition to the topic. I appreciate you.

    • Theresa Jonathan profile image

      Theresa Jonathan 

      2 years ago from Maseru, Lesotho

      A very good subject indeed MsDora! Adults struggle with forgiveness; children do this easily hence Jesus remark that we have to learn from them. Keeping negative energy is harmful and will surely harm one who does not forgive. It is hard when the offense has a scar to remind one. Forgiveness indicates spiritual maturity and it is long learning process which will transcend our graves.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mary, thank you for sharing from your experience. It helps when a reader validates the lesson with personal affirmation.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Word, it's true that the peace of mind resulting from forgiveness is worth the effort. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Manatita, for your contribution to the topic. Your devotional prayers for forgiveness show in your loving, peaceful nature. You're a treasure.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      This hub rings true with me. It took me a long time to forgive and move on with my life.

      Now when I see this in other people, I try to encourage them to forgive, to release themselves from that prison. I think many find it difficult and feel safe in 'blame mode'. It can almost be like a crutch for people.

      I truly feel sorry for those who can't see their way to forgiveness.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 

      2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Dora, This hub was very well articulated. To forgive is to allow the forgiver to become freer. We learn lessons in life via various experiences, people whom we come in contact with people that we don't come in contact with. It is to a forgiver's benefit to forgive another no matter what the situation is in order to move on without bearing the weight of pain and sorrow any longer. It seems that when you forgive a person for doing you wrong then the offender is left with guilt and remorse sooner or later. Anyway, thanks Dora.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      Short, sweet and meaningful. One of the most powerful messages of our Lord. Indeed, it is for our own good, yet alone anyone else. You ended well, and I commend this beautiful story. True forgiveness touches the Heart and is very vast and pretty effective.

      In our Path, the Invocation is sung every day. This is nearly always followed by one of forgiveness, then one of Prayer. I have done this for 33 years! Higher blessings.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Tamarajo, what an important addition to the topic! Thanks for the illustration from your own experience and for the response from Jesus. I truly appreciate you!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, thanks for sharing from your own experience with such a beautiful attitude. Your contribution is very valuable.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Alicia. Forgiveness is an important topic, and it is a challenge to do justice to it. Only too happy to share what I can.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      2 years ago

      A beautiful lesson Dora! I recall in my youth harboring much unforgiveness. I then lived my own life so irresponsibly that I ended up on the other end needing to be forgiven of so much more. The testimony of Azim and Tony is a wonderful exhibit of the humility that is required on either side.

      I like Jesus response to his offenders that I think is useful and has enabled me to let whatever occurs to be between that person and God and helps to let it go...

      "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;"

      I Peter 2:21-23 NKJV

      http://bible.com/114/1pe.2.21-23.NKJV

      Encouraging read

      God bless

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Frank, you're privileged to have the experience. Even if the good feeling was the only thing we received from forgiveness, that would be worth it. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, the last statement of your career is a classic. Thanks for your valuable input.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This concept parallels my own experience having to walk away from my career as a School Psychologist. It took me quite a while to forgive those involved in the ending of my employment. Once I was able to do so, however, I found that there were lessons learned that I could not forget, and didn't want to forget. Because of those lessons, I am now nearly five years at my current employment. The best life lessons seem to come from the most difficult of circumstances!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great hub containing very important information. Thank you for sharing such valuable advice, MsDora.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      the positive effect in forgiveness.. yeah I can feel the good when I forgive.. and hope others can feel the good when they forgive.. what a wonderful hub MsDora as always top shelf.. :) Frank

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a wonderful article. Timeless in it's wisdom. I think I will apply this today. Resentment is a horrible waste of the mind and soul.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Devika, I have found that we can forget the hurt, and remember the good side, the lessons et cetera. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Chitrangada, nothing is more important than peace of mind. Thank you for sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi MsDora You shared a beautiful and thoughtful hub. I forgive easily off-course its never easy to forget. Interesting lots to think about from this hub.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful hub with words of wisdom; everyone must read and apply.

      You are so right in saying that forgiving someone means we have to move on and move ahead. We are all humans and we may do mistakes.

      I am glad that I am able to do that, that is forgive and forget. Because ultimately it is for my peace of mind.

      Thank you for this excellent hub!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, it's a privilege to understand forgiveness as well as you do. Thank you for sharing.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Ron. I agree. Thanks for adding that emphasis on moving forward.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, that would be great. Still, it helps if the conscientious among us do the best they can. Thanks as always for your input.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Sally. That's a difficult situation when the wrong doer continues to offend; but you don't want to weary yourself by keeping score, so I suggest separating yourself without animosity and resentment. It's like watching a drunkard crossing the freeway; you have to let him go for your own safety, and you don't have to keep cursing him. When he sobers up and gets back on the sidewalk, you can choose to continue your conversation.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Really great subject Dora and I am so glad I learned to forgive at an early age. It really is so good for us and frees us up of stress and tensions being made and hurt by people. I think I managed it to start with putting myself in the offenders shoes as to why they acted as they did and it was so much easier. I mean someone hurt or offended them and rather than forgive they became bitter and took it out on others.

      Forgiving is so much better for us than to not.

      Shared!

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      These are all great points, MsDora. I especially identify with your last - the choice to move on is necessarily also the choice to forgive. Failure to forgive holds you in bondage to the past.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Such a wonderful lesson. How wonderful would life be if the majority among us practiced this? Well done, Dora!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      2 years ago from Norfolk

      Ms Dora

      Oh that word, forgiveness, such a difficult one for me! I do wonder sometimes, what happens when the wrong doer continues with his or her wrong deeds? Those words 'I forgive you' hang heavy on, such empty words which resonate whilst the perpetrator continues with his or her dastardly deeds.

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