I have a lot to learn about Forgiveness, not only on forgiving others but learning to forgive myself. If you can’t forgive yourself it’s even harder to forgive others. When you can’t or don’t forgive, how do you expect others to forgive your wrongs?
So let’s talk about forgiveness, what it means, about what it doesn’t mean, and what forgiveness can lead to. But first, let me say this. No, I didn’t wake up this morning all righteous and suddenly become an expert on this subject.
I write and share about various topics here on Debbie’s Musings in hopes of encouraging, helping, and motivating others. They are based on my own personal experience. If one person walks away from any one of my articles, crafts, recipes, etc feeling any of the above things I am grateful and thankful.
What is Forgiveness?
The dictionary defines forgiveness as – the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. Easy enough right? Not so much! Let’s really break down forgiveness. Forgiveness means pardoning an offender and letting go of anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge. Again easier said than done for many of us.
Forgiveness really is a well-thought-out personal choice that takes a commitment of peace, and to building or maintaining a good relationship with the other person. If you say you have forgiven someone and you can’t work on building/maintaining a relationship with them, then sadly you haven’t really forgiven them.
Forgiveness also reflects understanding. No, not understanding to their wrongdoing itself, but the understanding of knowing that we as humans are not perfect, we do wrongs, not only with things we say but, as well as things we do.
I struggle with of what I said above. My struggle is deeply pitted in places I’ve tucked away over the years, so finding my will to forgive is tough. This is one of the reasons my new year’s resolution was to dig deeper into my faith. I’ve struggled so long with so many things like forgiveness I knew I needed help. With that being said from this point downward, you may come across scriptures or faith-related items.
What Forgiveness Isn’t!
Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning a wrongdoing, it doesn’t mean we have to minimize the wrong either, nor does forgiveness mean we have to pretend it didn’t happen. I used to say I can forgive, but not forget. Little did I know then that it’s actually a facet of forgiving.
So as you sit down to think about your well-thought-out commitment to forgive someone, try to remember the above things. It may help you to forgive easier.
When You Can’t Forgive?
Personally, I know what I’ve had to deal with because of my struggle with forgiving. Things like dwelling on the wrong/past, sleepless nights, anger, and resentment. These probably have led to or will lead to various health issues. Did you know that there are studies that have been done/or being done on people that can’t forgive? The things that they have tied to unforgiving people are more relatable than I’d like to admit.
So here are some of the things that unforgiving people may experience . . .
- There’s anger or bitterness which can sour relationships, that may later lead to loneliness and isolation.
- They are easily offended, anxious, and sometimes depressed.
- So focused on the wrong they don’t see the good in life.
- Health issues – high blood pressure, pain disorders, eating disorders, headaches etc.
Like I said above I have struggled with many of these things. I think too much, read into things and I should take things less serious. Are those stems from my inability to forgive? Who knows but it definitely makes me think. HA. There I go, thinking too much! But none the less it’s interesting.
So hard to achieve. . . so much to gain from it! I struggle with forgiving myself for things in my past. I know it’s my past and by now I should have already handed it over and let it go. Another reason for diving deeper into my faith. Now let’s turn to scriptures that might help you forgive yourself. Translations are from King James Version of the Bible. I will list the scripture then what it meant to me.
- Ecclesiastes 7:20 – For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.
No one is perfect and we will all make mistakes.
- Ephesians 4:23-24 – And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man which after God is created righteous.
Be patient and continue to work on your flaws, bad habits etc. Changes don’t happen over-night.
- Proverbs 13:20 – He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a champion of fools shall be destroyed.
Align yourself with like-minded friends, who are encouraging, positive and who aren’t afraid to speak the truth. If you surround yourself with friends that do the opposite you’ll continue down that path of self-destruct.
- Matthew 5:23-24 – Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath oust against thee. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Take responsibility for things you’ve done to others, apologize and make peace with the situation. This will help you gain inner peace.
- Colossians 3:13 – Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also ye do.
One of my favorites! Basically, we should forgive others like Christ did us. If you want forgiveness then you have to forgive.
Forgiveness Leads to . . .
When we forgive there are so many benefits, less anxiety, stress, and hostility. You have healthier relationships, feelings of empathy, understanding, and compassion grow stronger. Your mental and spiritual well-being improves. Depression symptoms are fewer.
Those alone would make anyone want to forgive, but it’s not always easy. It’s a commitment, a journey that requires you to dig deep, and even deeper still for many of us. But with the right mind-frame and a little bit of faith, we can do it. I have faith that we will.