I’ve been hurt. Wounded by the actions of others, as well as by my own. I’ve been bruised and battered, and left lying bleeding in the gutter. Haven’t we all?
It’s easy, at least for some of us, to hang onto those wounded feelings. Which can all too easily turn into resentment and bitterness. Which can become a general attitude toward life and other people – we forget the specific instances of hurt, and just become grumpy and disenfranchised. To everyone. About everything.
Not a great way to go through life.
Forgiveness can be the key that unlocks us from that particular prison. Here are 6 simple truths about forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is not done by us, it is not an act we do. It is not something we deign to bestow upon those unfortunate souls who have so misguidedly behaved in a way that displeased or hurt us. In fact, when you look at it that way, that kind of “forgiveness” is patronizing. It assumes you, the “forgiver”, are in the superior position. Which is not how it is, and not how forgiveness really works.
- Forgiveness comes through us. We are the vessel through which divine forgiveness and grace comes. We are the conduit, that’s all. But there is beauty and healing in this – in the process we, too, are washed clean.
- You can still have emotions about what someone else did – their words and behaviour – and about what happened, and know that forgiveness has taken place. Forgiveness isn’t about and doesn’t always result in the removal of all emotions. Sometimes the emotions stay with you for a long time, years, decades, forever. There can still be forgiveness.
- Forgiveness isn’t about the other person. It’s about your own emotional wellbeing. Without forgiveness, you have resentment and bitterness. And harbouring resentment and bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. They won’t. The main person who will continue to suffer in the absence of forgiveness is you.
- Forgiveness needn’t be hard or take long. You can allow the gentle yet powerful waves of forgiveness to wash through your heart in an instant.
- Forgiveness takes faith. Faith that your heart will be washed clean. Faith that you can still learn the lesson and yet be free of the debilitating hurt. Faith that this is the most loving thing you could do – for yourself firstly, and for those you share your life with.