For some of you reading this, I suspect your initial reaction might be, “Sure it is.” (Where’s the sarcasm font when you need it?) Some people say “I’m sorry” as easily as they say “I love you,” without any meaning or emotion behind the words. In fact, both are examples of automatic responses which, like some over-used words, have lost their impact and/or their sincerity.
Forgiveness is an essential element to wholeness. We humans can be callously uncaring of others’ feelings–or, if not uncaring, at least oblivious. A careless comment, a petty act of unkindness, violating someone’s privacy: we’ve all been guilty of these at times. And we’ve all experienced both, as giver and receiver. When we’re on the receiving end, we become less willing to trust. In the worst case scenario, we withdraw, cherishing our wounds and grievances, walling up our heart and spirit. The poison spreads…
Forgiveness, like love, begins in our own heart. If we are unable to forgive ourselves, how much more difficult will it be to forgive others? If we find ourselves unlovable, how then will we love others?
Forgiveness has two distinct parts: the first one, the act of forgiving, is relatively painless. The other half, forgetting, is more difficult. That’s where the work comes in. Holding on to old grievances is like dragging around a large heavy suitcase; it saps your strength and drains your spirit. Only you can decide when you’re ready to put it down, to leave it behind and begin to heal–and only when you do will you be completely free.