Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Art of Forgiveness...


“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

Through introspection, I have been thinking a lot about forgivenes of late. One of the hardest things we’ll ever do is forgive someone who has wronged us. We’ve all been wronged and we’ve all wronged other people. What separates those who are able to move on from those who are unable to do so is the ability to forgive.
Forgiveness does not mean that you’re freeing the other person of their wrongness…it means that you’re freeing yourself from their wrongness. Does that make sense? Think of it in these terms: The longer that you hold onto resentment, the longer you’re allowing yourself to remain in a vicious cycle of negativity. In essence, by being unable to forgive you are punishing yourself every bit as much as you’re punishing the other person, if not more so.

Have you ever had trouble forgiving something? If you’ve granted forgiveness, has it made you feel better?

158 comments:

  1. So true! It only hurts us, because often the other person has no idea.

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  2. This one is REALLY hard for me ... I don't know if forgive is a word I would use -- I would say more 'moved on' -- so that whatever it is, it doesn't keep eating me alive :)

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  3. Forgiving means freeing yourself of a burden.I have felt so much lighter after forgiving, Forgiveness is healing!

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  4. I think I tend to forgive but I rarely forget, which in a way, still keeps me somewhat trapped. I deal with things the best way I can and try to move on (as Julie said above.) I sometimes wonder if it's harder for me to forgive myself and give myself permission to be real and human and keep going forward...

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  5. Keith,
    I consider this post one of your most important. Because Scorpio rules my life, I have had to learn this. For some signs this comes naturally. Not for Scorpio...... they want revenge. I am pretty much free but as long as I'm on this earth, I know I'll have to fight with my forgiveness.

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  6. Sometimes I confuse forgiveness with distance.

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  7. Man, I've had to forgive some of the closest people to me and the hardest part being that they still see things as they always have. They haven't changed. But you're right, as I hung onto it I suffered more damage than what they did to me. I let go. And I still have to let go of it again sometimes when I feel these same people are being what they always were. It's a process which is easier now days. Forgiveness lets us break cycles and change generations.

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  8. "Forgiveness does not mean that you’re freeing the other person of their wrongness…it means that you’re freeing yourself from their wrongness."

    I agree.

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  9. nice...i like your thoughts on forgiveness...two books that really provided the framework of forgiveness for me were 'No freedom without forgiveness' by desmond tutu and 'evil and the justice of god' by nt wright...both promote an active forgiveness and dont make what happened ok...forgiveness is not as easy as the words 'i forgive you'

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  10. I usually have no problem with forgiving others.....the hardest person to forgive is yourself and therein lies the problem for me.

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  11. For me, and each of us can only speak for ourselves, but I've experienced that many wrongs are easy to "forgive". But it can get very murky where deep wrongs which have great emotional impact are concerned. In order to move on I will try with grace to renounce my anger or resentment, but to absolve or exonerate is another matter altogether. Perhaps renouncing anger and resentment is forgiveness in itself - I don't know.

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  12. This makes total sense. When you hold onto that hate or fear or whatever emotion that is negative, you start to become a monster of sorts. There are even times when people (myself included) don't even remember what the original argument was, but that emotion is still fresh.

    Forgiveness is freedom.

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  13. The other person moves on and it doesn't bother them one bit, so why should it bother us? We are just putting ourself down for no reason, loaded with such crap. So let it go I say. I can forgive but never forget.

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  14. A difficult task... But a necessary one. For one's self!!!! The person who wronged you, probably has forgotten all about it. Or is dead, even. So they can't be affected, by that old memory of yours (ours).

    We free ourselves, by letting go of the hurtful old memory.

    I don't even think the word "Forgiveness," is necessary. It's too tied up with religion and rules and all that jazzzz. Just give ourselves permission, to drop it, ourselves. :-)

    Maybe..........

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  15. I love the picture so much that you used, I have actually drawn something like that before.

    Any way forgiveness, luckily enough I have never needed someone to forgive anything big.

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  16. Beautiful image. Sometimes forgiveness comes easily for me and other times it takes years, depending on the wrong and the person.

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  17. good one! oh my vinegar rots the vessel. when my hubs had an affair...the advice I was given by my pastor? pray for her. and so...every SINGLE (dang) time I saw a car like hers...I said a little prayer that her life would be good. you cannot even begin to know now many times I saw a car like hers...I swear the most popular car of that year! but I did it...EVERY SINGLE TIME...today...years and years later I really do mean that I pray for her life, her marriage and her children and the hate in my heart slowly melted into indifference toward the issue. forgiveness heals you..maybe because it's just so hard to do, there is a real blessing that goes along with it. today when I see that kind of car? it's usually a pimped up ride that makes me chuckle. whew...I never told anyone that before...are you my therapist?

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  18. Forgiveness is something I need to work on...It's so powerful and that quote explains it perfectly. I wrote a post today about my exes and learning the truths about them...I'm not sure if I forgive them yet, even though the relationship ended and the anger has subsided. I think it's a great step for me to work on.

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  19. Forgiveness is so important; as you say, it's freeing for both parties. I know someone who is unable to forgive and can't forget. I feel bad for him. He's never free, and neither are the people who've asked for his forgiveness yet have never received it. It's hard to live that way.

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    1. I must be your friend's kindred spirit. I'm unable to forgive or forget and I hold a grudge forevah. I have grudges from elementary school. True dat!!! The only person who is happy about this is my therapist from all the money I spend on her couch trying to let things go.

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  20. Your comment in my blog... "...as wonderful as it is to get lost in a story, we cannot become so engrossed that we miss the stories around us."

    What a perfect way to say, what I was trying to say. :-) Concerning becoming lost-in-book-reading.

    Thank you.

    "Auntie"

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  21. I was thinking some days ago about the same topic and found a really good anonymous quote to the topic. I think people should forgive themselves in first line, because if we have to forgive someone who hurt us, it was actually us who gave too much power to people who did not deserve it.

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  22. Your written words, are so wonderful...

    I would love to actually talk to you.

    What an interesting man, you are.

    Needless to say, since I'm 75, that is not a come-on-line. Or if it is, it's a lot-late. -chuckle-

    "Auntie"

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    1. Auntie you just totally made my morning :) thank you for your kind words.

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  23. I think I have always been pretty quick to forgive other people. I'm not so quick to forgive myself. I genuinely believe that most people (emphasis on most) are doing the best that they can under whatever circumstances they find themselves and i generally let things go. I can, however, refuse to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Working on that....

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  24. Forgiveness is not easy, but by doing so we only become more mature.

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  25. I used to have a lot of pent-up hate for some people who nearly destroyed my life (especially my abusive father). It took me a long time to realize that the hate was eating me alive. When I finally released all negative feelings and anger I was indeed set free......

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  26. This is a very hard one for me. I seem to do OK with it if it's something that just has to do with me. But if it hurts my children or someone I care about, I have a hard time letting go.

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  27. great post---yes not forgiving can make one sick---and as a Christian, i am commanded to forgive :)

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  28. Like, "I coulda been a contender!" if it weren't for YOU! Forgiveness
    is only necessary when we attach blame, and then, blame only sticks if we allow it to stick. all, horrible and destructive emotions. I am reminded that when we point one finger at another, we point three at ourselves.

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  29. it's so true! to forgive someone is to free yourself from that pain. it's so wonderful to let go.

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  30. It is hard to forgive someone if you have really been hurt. For your own peace of mind you have to do this.

    Great post.

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  31. I always try to forgive and I know isnt easy, of course. But in all years I feel is always better for me make that.
    Anyway is amazing after how sometimes you see how some persons change anyway (not all) but is not matter now to me. Im sad sometimes of course but is more important live in peace.
    Yesterday I talk with daughter about this, she fight with her twin (a boy) sigh! she is more tender and he sometimes (how man) say not and she was hurt, is difficult she said I dont believe in forgive and I said her how I believe, is not for a christian thing (that Im) is for better for you. I hope she understnad some, they only have 18 and are twins:)

    Forgive me is sometimes I dont talk perfect English because is my second languaje, but I try to be the best!

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  32. Such a wise post! Forgiveness truly is one of the hardest things we have to do. I usually have no problem giving forgiveness. But I do have some resentment that I'm still holding on to, trying to get to a place of forgiveness. It's a process, I believe, but a conscious choice, too.

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  33. A tough one to do, but so releasing of the hurts and sufferings once it is done. We are not perfect, and if the Good Lord can forgive us countless times, we can do the same for our loved ones and enemies ~

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  34. Always forgive your enemies nothing annoys them so much.
    OSCAR WILDE

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    1. Aunt Mary, I love this quote. Perfect for a Scorpio's forgiveness.

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  35. Forgiving can be hard for me, especially forgiving myself. I think it is the main job of my "third age" soon to be 71. Not forgiving just lets the other live destructively in your head rent free. Some of those people have been people I love and still do. For me it begins with understanding them, and if I can't I try to just accept who they are and change my own behaviour. I may just have to stay away but I can have good hopes for them.

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  36. Wonderfully put.
    I think sometimes though its hard to forgive ourselves because that's the one thing we can control, and if someone hurts us we can control the fact we never let it happen again, I think that's why we become hesitant.

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  37. Thank you so much for putting that Smedes quote with your thoughts out there. Would that the message would multiply.

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  38. I don't know if I would use forgiveness. If someone has wronged or hurt me I don't think I necessarily forgive them. And I totally get what you're saying about the negative impact on my life. I think in time I just move on with my life without them in it.

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  39. Thanks Keith ~~~~ forgiveness opens your heart ~~~ removes the bonds that clutter and drag you down.

    Life has so much ups and downs ~~~ now I can go for a walk with Sophie and feel a bit lighter!

    Ron

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  40. The thing about harboring anger and resentment and all those other negatives... even hatred... towards another person, is that those feelings are all terribly toxic. And they don't bother the wrong-doer; they poison whoever is foolish enough to allow them to fester within.

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  41. I love this quote. Genuine felt forgiveness is freedom and lightness. I used to try to think my way to forgiveness and nothing happened, but when I felt it, it was a physical release and relief.
    Thank you Keith!

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  42. Keith - I love your posts. We talk quite a bit about forgiveness in the Women's Trauma group I run weekly. I think the term itself means something different to everyone. I personally believe forgiveness should be earned... that said, I believe that moving on and freeing yourself from resentment is possible without dishing out forgiveness. Either way - it's definitely for the person who's doing the forgiving... Ahhhh semantics.

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  43. Oh yes, oh yes. Two ex-husbands for example. But forgiving them was a blessed release for me. AND, I hope that by forgiving others, I will be forgiven my wrongs also.

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  44. For me the forgiveness part has always been easy enough - the hard part is getting over my own pride enough to bow my head and let the other person know my grudge is gone.

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  45. That first quote really sums it up. Punishment often is far worse for the punisher than the one meant to be punished...letting it go really does liberate us...that has always made it easier for me to forgive.

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  46. That's very true. It's easy for me to forgive, but I never forget.

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  47. I have a lot of trouble with forgiveness and by now there are some things that I don't feel anything about. Being able to forgive does help, but in the long run eventually the feelings will just die.

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  48. There is definitely an art to forgiveness. Depending on who wronged you and how much of a betrayal it was, it can be such a hard thing to do. But if you hold it in your heart it will fester and make your life miserable. It's hard to do, but definitely necessary to forgive.

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  49. I have forgiven my father for sexually abusing me as a child and forgiven my mother for doing nothing when I told her, also as a child. It has been the best decision of my life. I say this despite the fact that I chose to report him and am currently awaiting his trial. Forgiveness is not acceptance or approval or permission. It is setting yourself free.

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  50. Comic book wisdom;

    "If to forgive was Divine, there would be no Hell."

    That said, no, I don't believe in forgiveness. It implies absolution. Saying something never happened, when oh, but it did. I instead believe in acceptance. Thing the thing/act happened, and cannot be made to unhappen and so it goes. Once that is an accepted fact, you can move on.

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  51. Forgiveness is the hardest thing. I'm still working on it from way back when. Thank you so much for this post. It is always good to hear others takes on it.

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  52. It's a difficult concept - but I get what you mean. There if very little I don't let go.

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  53. I have a hard time forgiving myself - forgiving others - for me that's much easier!

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  54. I find it extremely hard to forgive and I never forget - but I certainly don't have sleepless nights over it.

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  55. It depends what it is that I need to forgive.

    I forgive family.

    I have a sister who has caused a lot of friction throughout the years. She has a difficult personality that a lot of the family has a hard time with. We managed to get back to liking each other.

    There was once in my life when I met a guy that I feel in love with. He had two girlfriends at once. Me being one of them. I didn't know about the other girl. I was so angry. I think any girl would be. Me being young didn't know weather to fight for him, or to fight with him. I had trouble leaving it alone. It seemed he always got the last move/words in. I had trouble forgiving him. Fast forward years later. I ran into him and tried saying I was sorry for whatever I said. That was a big mistake. He immediately said that we were to never speak again. Again he got the last words in. To this day if I were to see him awkward would set in. I'm happily married with two kids, but I'd still feel awkward around my first love.

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  56. true quote and I guess everyone's been in this situation although we feel we are the only ones...I think time heals a lot...but still working on some stuff!

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  57. I think that I have trouble forgiving because I always live in the past. I stay there with the things and people who hurt me and that just hurts me more because the ones who hurt me don't care about my suffering. But I find it hard to let go.

    I am so sorry I haven't been online much because I have missed some of your posts :( I am trying to catch up now, anyway :)

    I added you on Facebook :)

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  58. Forgiving someone does make me feel better, however the trust that's lost is difficult to regain !!!

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  59. I think that forgiveness has to be an act of will, rather than a feeling. It's metaphorically releasing your grip from around someone's throat and allowing you both to move on. And yes, I've been able to do this. The best example of forgiveness I've read came from a woman whose son had been murdered in an unprovoked attack. She said, 'Forgiveness is not hoping that the past will get any better - I forgive his killers.' Those words have always stayed with me.

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  60. Thanks for this interesting post :-)

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  61. Forgiveness yes, and then I do feel better, but I'm wary of reconnecting, not because I haven't forgiven, but because it's hard to put yourself in the same situation w/people likely to do something at odds again (if that is indeed the case). Or at least it is for me.

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  62. Wonderful post. Yes, I had trouble forgiving someone. It took about three years, then one day I did and it was wonderful, such a lightening. It taught me that it is better to find a way to let things go.

    There was a wonderful woman on the news the other day. Her husband was killed by a reckless driver. She instantly forgave him and it was her intervention that prevented him being jailed.

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  63. This is true. Forgiveness in general makes you a better person -- gets rid of the negativity and the grudges, allows you to focus on the positives in life and all the things you are blessed with

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  64. Ever hear that unforgiveness does more damage to the vessel it's in then what it is spilled on. Hugs, sandie

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  65. I read once that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It only hurts ourselves.
    My mother in law totally ruined my wedding (she was upset that I would not convert to Catholic) and then when I got pregnant with our first child, she had a baby shower (for herself I guess) and did not invite me. Just about the time I think I have forgiven her, she does something else crazy and I get mad all over again. But I need to get over it. Some of your other previous (and admirable) comments above show me that people can forgive for far more than my petty grievances and I should learn from that. Thanks for this lovely post.

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  66. I don't think of it as forgiveness but rather as acceptance. That things happen. They happen for a reason. I can't go back and change them. Or fix them. Or make someone feel remorse or regret or say sorry. And that I can't enjoy the present or expect happiness in the future unless I 'accept' these events. And so I do, and move on.

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  67. Thought-provoking and timely.

    Yes, I've had trouble forgiving in a couple of instances but doing so eventually made me feel better.

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  68. definitely something i struggle with.

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  69. Being able to forgive - one of the best things for your good health!

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  70. When people wrong me because they are led by dark emotions, I let go. You can't change people, but you can change your own attitude toward people, no matter what they do to you. When people do or say hurtful things, I don't take it personally anymore. There must be something in that person's life that makes him/her unhappy. But I can't help people who put up fences and barriers. Authentic friendships require trust and honesty. If forgiveness means letting go of resentment, yes, I do forgive them.

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  71. Absolutely spot on. Holding on to hate, anger, and resentment only wears us down, By extending forgiveness to someone, you drain it all away. Very thought-provoking!

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  72. If you forgive a debt , that means the debt is wiped out - and that is how we perceive the meaning of the word 'forgive" when we are referring to hurtful/wrong/ words/actions/deeds. I think there has to be another word for letting go of anger and resentment. Forgive doesn't do it. You can't forgive someone else - a person's actions/deed/words are on them and they are responsible for them. Nothing can wipe them out, you can't pretend it never happened. How you react to them is YOUR responsibility. And forgetting hurtful behavior isn't always wise - it just sets you up to be a target of it again. I opt for: oh aren't you a sad, pathetic creature - and walk away. Of course this is with the assumption that we are talking about something more than ordinary thoughtlessness...

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  73. I agree with you 100%.
    I don't find it hard to forgive someone when they ask for forgiveness but it is a bit harder when the person doesn't believe they did you a wrong. But you do feel better if you forgive them. Holding on to anger just makes everything worse.

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  74. Yes, I think you are right. Forgiveness is the only way to get over it, but wow; it can be hard to forgive sometimes. And to what extent? Murder? Kidnap? Or are we talking about someone telling a white lie? As always your blog has got me thinking outside the box. Thank you :)

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  75. I was given the opportunity to forgive a very difficult person and it changed my life forever.

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  76. There's no point to harboring hate, it tires resources needed elsewhere. I'm pretty forgiving.....although it was very hard to forgive James Cassidy for flushing my goldfish "out to sea" when we were seven!

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  77. Oh, this is SO SO TRUE! Yes, I have really struggled to forgive a few times. I can't stand the feeling of NOT forgiving! Forgiving ALWAYS makes me feel better. PS. This is on my mind again as well. You might (time will tell) see a post from me on the topic. For now I will say that I just learned that forgiving is like loving. Both are verbs. People tend to think they are feelings, but they aren't. They are choices that we make which cause feelings to follow - the feelings we associate with love and forgiveness. Sometimes forgiveness takes time and isn't instantaneous. But forgiving is something we Can literally Choose to do, and the choice is ALWAYS worth it! Thanks for the post.
    Corine :D

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  78. While sometimes hard, I definitely think forgiveness is the way to go. I find this quote especially pertinent: "Harbouring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die". I've had my share of practising forgiveness (haven't we all!) and do see that it is ultimately to my advantage to do so (I posted very recently on this in fact: http://bikbikroro.blogspot.sg/2013/02/on-anger-and-forgiveness.html :)

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  79. To not forgive is to remain always a victim to the wrongdoer

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  80. Amen. I held on to an anger for 10 years. When I eventually forgave that person, something strange happened. I realized I he had not been alone in the wrong action. I too was almost equally guilty. I couldn't see that till I let go. Now I am at peace for I have forgiven myself also. Very thought provoking post.

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  81. Oh I love that photo!

    To forgive someone is to set ourselves free from the power their pain caused us, intentionally or not. It really is the only way to go but sometimes, such a hard thing to really do, from the heart. :<(

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  82. Very well said. I was angry at one person for over 5 years. It made me miserable. It took me getting closure with the situation to finally let go of all my anger. I learned from it though and find nothing really is worth carrying around that long. It's best to just let things go. :)

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  83. I find the art of forgiveness one that if one can achieve, one can feel truly blessed.

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  84. Yes on both accounts. The quote by Gandhi, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” encourages me to be a forgiver.

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  85. I struggle with forgiveness, just as I struggle with grace. These things are so abstract, intangible. I've never wanted anything more than to live in those two spheres, but it's hard and unnerving work. I guess all that matters is that we keep trying..

    xx
    Lulu
    Breakfast After 10

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  86. This attorney I used to work for once told me that forgiveness means to give as you would before you were wronged. That has always stuck with me. I've struggled with this in the past. You are right, it does feel much better to let it go than to hang on to it. Great post as always!

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  87. Oh you always have the best questions and yes I have been wronged and no I try never to hold on to the feeling of betrayal it does no good. B

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  88. Hi Keith, it makes total sense! Thank you for such a lovely post. By forgiving others we are freeing ourselves of bitterness and hate, which ultimately makes us calmer, happier and healthier.

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  89. I wish I was better at forgiving but I'm a terrible grudge holder. I heard something recently that really got my attention though. Someone said something to the effect 'should I have my greatest mistake held against me for the rest of my life'. Made me think about forgiveness and mistakes in a whole different light. I wouldn't want my mistakes held against me forever, what right have I to hold others mistakes against them. Maybe I'm growing up but I'm feeling a little more forgiving lately

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  90. Ironically, it seems harder to forgive those that are closest to us. Maybe because they have the power to hurt us most deeply?

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  91. I come from a long line of grudge holders. My Mother didn't speak to her sister for 10 years because she forgot to pay her back 5 bucks. I kid you not.

    TEN years.

    I don't know if I can ever forgive my Mother for disowning me when I was 25. I came out to her and she forbade me to ever enter her home again until I confessed my sin to a priest and received absolution from him. I never confessed, was never sorry. She died not speaking to me. I've carried this anger for 30 years and just when I feel as if I have thrown off that yoke, it re-emerges. It's a battle.

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  92. I know this is true. However, I'm not there yet (although I wish I was). It's easier for me to rationalize forgiveness by *understanding* the other person. If I can understand, I'm usually able to forgive almost instantly. There are some things, that I cannot rationalize (yet?) and cannot forgive. I'm wondering, as I write this, that perhaps I could achieve forgiveness in these cases if I accepted to accept that I cannot rationalize it and it makes no sense. If that makes sense.

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  93. I think this is a hard "lesson" to learn but forgiving someone is a healing process for us that are doing the forgiving. there are a couple I will not forgive

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  94. Your articles are always interesting and helpful and this one on forgiveness is particularly apt for most us. Thanks.

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  95. forgiveness is a beginning of a healing process for yourself. it doesn't mean you forget, but it is as you have said...if you don't forgive, you become the prisoner. love the field of purple!!!

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  96. I go back and forth on forgiveness. There are some I fear I will never forgive, and I am at peace with that decision.

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  97. I actually have not had any trouble forgiving other people. It takes time of course, but I always try to put myself in the other person's shoes and generally I feel more sorry for them than anything. But when it comes to forgiving myself I have trouble. I know I need to remember everyone makes mistakes and that does not make you a bad person, and that if it weren't for the past you wouldn't be who you are today... but sometimes it is easier said than done.

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  98. I've always found forgiveness an interesting topic, mostly because a lot of people get forgiveness and trust mixed up. They assume that if forgiveness has been given, then trust is just an automatic part of that. My philosophy has always been that forgiveness is given, but it's impossible to give trust, it has to be earned, especially if it's been lost.

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  99. I'm having problem forgiving someone, especially if they cause to much pain. It takes time! This is very inspiring post.:)

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  100. I absolutely agree that negative feelings and harboring anger are self destructive. Is it always possible to forgive? I'm not sure because I simply haven't attained that state of grace. I know it is easier if someone wants to be forgiven. I agree with Kellie's beautifully expresed comment above. Trust is rare and priceless.

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  101. So true. Forgiveness is another way of loving others and yourself.

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  102. Thanks for this. Forgiveness - all too often misunderstood, all too infrequently applied.

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  103. Timely post! And an appropriately beautiful photo of a field. I shall be giving your principles a field test presently, as suggested by today's "Trainride Of The Enigmas".

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  104. I can't hold grudge...hence forgiving is the only option left and I do so everytime with everybody who has ever wronged me...

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  105. My memory is too short to stay mad at anyone. Even if I remember what they did, I forget how it made me feel. I agree, forgiveness will lift the weight of anger from you.

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  106. I think forgiveness is a process, not an one-time act. You have to peel the pain away layer by layer. Just when you think you're done, something comes up to remind you of the hurt, and you have to forgive again It gets easier each time, tho, and ultimately, it's freeing. You never forget, but you do reach a place of forgiveness.

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  107. I forgive and forget easily. I don't hold grudges. Life is way too short for that! Great post!

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  108. I have always forgiven those who have hurt me, badly.
    I have forgiven so many, for so much, and have been freed.
    The last knife in my back is still in my back, and slowly I'm extracting it I have to, not to forgive eats me alive, so yes this too I will forgive, and I pray every day that today is the day, and I'm getting closer. This is a wonderful post to remind us to let go of the pain, and forgive or else you're haunted forever and can never be happy

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  109. I get mad and then get over it, I guess. You are right in what you say: it is the forgiver who is freed.

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  110. When you get my age you just forget any way, so forgiving is easy enough

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  111. Yes, it makes total sense. I didn't understand this concept until a few months ago. It really is freeing to one's self to forgive others. It's like a burden lifted.

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  112. Your post makes me think of that quote -- "Anger is like acid. It does more harm to the vessel it's stored in than to the object it's poured on."

    But I like my acid, dangit! I sometimes have a hard time letting go of anger, but you're right -- letting go doesn't mean the other person never did anything wrong. it just means we've chosen not to get upset about it.

    The thing that's taken me the longest to forgive is the truly atrocious roommate I had in college. In retrospect, most of her bad behavior was a sign of immaturity and lack of life experience.

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  113. I have a harder time forgiving myself for things than I do forgiving other people, I think. And I agree with your post - forgiveness is so important. I think it's also a sign of humility and understanding...I know I make mistakes and deserve forgiveness, and so does the person who wronged me.

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  114. I couldn't agree more! Forgiveness really is a gift we give ourselves!

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  115. I really needed this today, Keith!
    It has helped me to forgive someone I should have forgiven a long time ago.
    I feel better already...much lighter - not only in Spirit, but also healthwise.

    Thank you for this kick in the rear...you have probably saved me from a serious future illness!:)

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  116. Its really difficult sometimes for me.......But what you say IS true.A Work in Progress for Myself!

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  117. So true and So important! I find it funny how often we expect forgiveness for ourselves, when we're not willing to give it to others :(

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  118. There were a few people I had trouble forgiving until I realized that by not forgiving them I was not able to move on. I have now forgiven them (in my mind)for their hurtfulness and have moved on. Without forgiving, a person is stuck in the painful moment. Forgiving is for the one doing the forgiving. The forgiven doesn't even have to know......

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  119. i always have a hard time forgiving people, but i love the way you see it as freeing yourself! x

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  120. wonderful thoughts on forgiving. thank you so much.

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  121. Something to reach for, and that is the truth. We feel better when we forgive -- frees up head space for more expansive ideas...

    Pearl

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  122. That's a lovely clarification: that forgiveness isn't freeing the wrong-doer from their wrong-doing, it's freeing yourself from it. I never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense.

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  123. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers! We are getting better, though in a blizzard right now. Yes, forgiving is so hard. but it eats away at us if we cannot forgive, and in the end damages our own health.

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  124. A difficult one...but you are right, it is so freeing!
    Hope you are having a great week,
    Nathalie

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  125. Forgiveness is important, as it DOES free you from dwelling on negative thoughts and letting the anger and resentment do you harm - sometimes physical harm. However, that said, if one truly wants to be forgiven it is important that the offender attempts to make some sort of restitution that fits the offense. That way the relationship can move forward again. If not, it's still important that one doesn't hold grudges. Much better to try and talk it out, and if that fails, just move on. No point in wasting more time on someone who doesn't value your relationship.

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  126. i totally agree - forgiveness is freeing yourself from anger, bitterness, and the like.

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  127. You are so very right.
    I had a fear of my uncle who had scratched my back when I was a little girl. He was angry at me for disrespecting my grand mother. I had it in my head until he died. It was my mom who told me to forgive him. I did and now I feel better. I wished that I had forgiven him long time ago.
    I really like the way you put it though. I think your blog entry can be used by even a councilor. I hope that you have a councilor among your followers.

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  128. *snort* I'm the last person to talk about this. I've been annoyed at a careless action by a family member that put my kids at harms risk. I'm not bitter toward the individual. I pretend he doesn't exist. But since he's an argumentative, condescending jerk, ignoring him prevents him from acting this way toward me. Works for me. :D

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  129. I have been able to forgive a lot of people that were dishonest and had hurt me. For a few it took a long while to let go and release the anger. It did make me feel better to just forgive and forget.

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  130. I forgive a lot, but I don't forget so easily.

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  131. Hello Keith,

    Forgive me, it has taken me so long to get here and my goodness, don't you get a lot of comments...

    Ah, to forgive, to move on. Indeed, to forgive yourself. Keith, the woman I adored, removed from the torment of a father who sexually abused her, married me. Due to her traumatic past, our relationship was virtually platonic. Our one child was a planned and rather clinical situation. Yes, I gave her my love and while still married to me, she became pregnant with a second child. Only thing is, I wasn't the father.

    I also learnt that when I asked the question, "why?", no answer was forthcoming from her. Do I forgive her. Yes. For despite it all, we have a beautiful son I love so very much.

    Gary

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  132. It has always soothed by battered spirit to forgive.

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  133. I believe that every person and every situation in your life is a learning experience. Even from those that mistreat and abuse you. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that things could have been any different and finding the lessons left behind. Every one has a choice. You can hold on to anger and bitterness, or you can learn and move on and understand that those that hurt you are ultimately only hurting themselves. Sometimes the worst experiences in life give you the most important lessons. I am speaking as an abused child. xx

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  134. The only way to move forward is to forgive. And I have. And I always will. Great post, Keith.

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  135. Learning to forgive is the best lesson I have EVER learned.

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  136. the only people i have trouble forgiving are credit card mistakes and politicians... but seriously, i need to forgive so i will be forgiven when i screw up!

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  137. I try not to stay mad at people because like you said in your post, it only makes you feel worse. And sometimes when another person is mad at you for no reason, I don't let it bother me either only because I hope that some day that person will realize that they are only doing disservice to themselves and no one else.

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  138. not one of my strengths, but this is edifiying

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  139. This is something to think about for sure Keith. I have forgiven people but sometimes it takes me a while. ;) You are so right - it frees yourself as much as the other person.

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  140. This post makes me think of a quote I always enjoyed:

    “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott

    I have found forgiveness both easy and hard depending on the circumstances, but in all cases, I felt "lighter" afterward and more at peace, which is my barometer on life.

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  141. It is sometimes even harder to forgive ourselves...

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  142. So true. Once we wrap our minds around the concept of forgiveness...we can move on.
    Thanks for the reminder. Beautiful background photo...love the sun through the trees.

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  143. I agree with your post Keith, I believe in forgiving so that I can be free. I don't want other people to control my happiness. It's not easy but it is so worth it :)

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  144. I forgive easily, but is a superficial forgiving , inside I keep feeding the resentment... and this is not good. I need to work it. And, again, I loved your words and thoughts.

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  145. I have issues with forgiving a serious wrong. I let go in the sense that (in most cases) I become indifferent and just don't care about the incident or the person any longer. I can even be civil but forgetting and truly forgiving... Not so easy. The only people that I can do that with are my children- but I love them without condition.

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  146. What a great quote, one to remember. When we hold onto negativity we create an aura of negativity around ourselves, punishing ourselves even more than the one who wronged us. But even knowing this, it is still hard to forgive and I wish I was better at it!

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  147. Perfectly said...truly believe that. :) I read a quote recently that goes like this: ''Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.''

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  148. This makes perfect sense, dear Keith!
    After a nasty encounter this week, I had an amazing epiphany that very same day.
    Forgave immediately...sometimes it takes a sign from the Universe ;)...
    Wise words...thank you.
    Have a great day,
    - Irina

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  149. And yes, forgiveness is an art...which can take decades to master...
    You are right...so very freeing.

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  150. The nice thing about forgiveness is....everyone needs it.

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  151. You keep making me think of things that I'm writing today. :) This certainly applies to the novel that I'm working on right now. I agre with you. Even though it's difficult, I think it's so important for people to let go of their anger and forgive another person when they have been wronged because in the long run, holding onto that anger will hurt that person the most.

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