Everyone is capable of forgiveness. We all forgive some people or situations and choose to hold a grudge in others. In extreme cases, we forgive nobody else, but readily forgive ourselves when we do something wrong. Others are the problem, and they just don’t understand us. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, we hold ourselves in such low opinion that we assume others are right and we can never forgive ourselves. But we all have it within us to forgive – we’re just choosy about who we use it on, sometimes for understandable reasons.
But why is forgiving important? If someone’s done something wrong, surely they should face the consequences of it? We don’t want to cover stuff up and pretend it’s not important. We don’t want to roll over and let people get away with things. But is that really what forgiveness is?
I’d say not. Forgiveness to me is more about what happens inside us, rather than entirely being concerned with the other person. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean necessarily giving them another chance, if they’re so destructive that it would be dangerous to do so. It doesn’t mean letting them off the consequences. It doesn’t mean they are going to decide to be nicer to you. All it means is that you are not going to drive yourself crazy holding on yo the pain they caused you.
This is important. Forgiving others is the only way that you will ever be free from what others do to you. It’s not about letting them off. It’s about letting yourself off having to stay hurt by it. Chances are, the other person may not care if you forgive them or not. It’s not affecting their life anything like as much as it’s affecting yours. So don’t just do this for them. Do it for you.
How do you forgive someone? Do you have to tell them? Not necessarily. Do you have to forget what they did? That could be impossible. Do you have to drop criminal charges? Only if you want to. So what do you do?
I guess one part of it is that we stop hoping something bad will happen to them. As long as we’re hoping for some revenge or comeuppance, we’ve not let it go. Which means that we aren’t released from it either. Remember that our goal is freedom for ourselves. The other person most likely doesn’t know or care if you’re over it or not. This is for you.
Make no mistake, this is a huge subject with a lot to think about. Just remember that the more you hold on to, the heavier your life becomes. Let it go. You don’t have time to hold on to the baggage. And you’ll feel so much freer without it.