April 15, 2013 by bdetienne
One of the most familiar, yet difficult, concepts in the world is forgiveness. The act of telling someone who has wronged you that absolve them of that act. Scenarios that call upon forgiveness surround us on multiple occasions daily, whether experiencing it firsthand or witnessing a friend or family member, coworker, or athlete or actor deal with the conflict. In these cases we have the opportunity to forgive others or encourage others to forgive, but do we?
For the easy cases, the answer is yes. We can usually get over being cut off in traffic, a simple schedule miscoummunication between a couple, or a pet accidentally knocking over the cool vase off of your accent table. As the situation becomes a little harder and/or more complicated, though, the ability to forgive does also. [Sidenote: as a Christian, I believe that God loves me unconditionally and has forgiven me for my sins and I still find it arduous to forgive those who have trespassed against me.] How are you supposed to forgive a spouse that cheated on you? A boss that verbally abused you for years? A person whose action may have lead to your team losing an important game (Cubs fans, you know exactly what I am referring to). The answer is: because you have to. Not for them, but for you.
It does not matter how contrite the offending party is or is not, you must take the steps to find it in your heart to forgive them for what they did. In no way am I saying this is an easy task, nor am I saying that you will forget what happened. But by you saying that you forgive them, you can realize peace in your life. If you do not forgive others bitterness and resentment will fester and build up. You will be angry at the world around you, and more importantly, you will be distracted from what you could be doing. Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by rage; instead, work to release it.
You may think I am off my rocker or you may still find yourself unwilling to forgive. I understand both thought processes and I personally have been in this place. But before dismissing me completely, check out the article I came across this weekend about a man who forgave and befriended his brother’s murderer. I hope it will lead you to reconsider.