I felt inspired today to write a little about forgiveness, because it’s something I feel is so often misunderstood. Some people associate forgiveness with weakness, when, in fact, it takes great strength and courage to forgive. When you forgive someone for something they’ve done or said, it does not mean that you condone their behaviour. You forgive in order to free yourself from the pain and suffering that comes from harbouring resentment and anger, not to let the other person off the hook. Holding on to blame and fury, punishes no one but yourself, and keeps you shackled to a hell of your own making.
To forgive is not to deny or suppress your feelings, or to pretend as though a painful situation or event did not occur. It is not about forgetting or discounting the past, nor dishonouring the memories of loved ones, whom we may have lost. It is about accepting what has happened, acknowledging any feelings of anger, resentment or other emotions that may be present, and allowing them to pass through us. The truth is we cannot be at peace if we allow bitterness and hate to put down roots in our heart. To hold on to these emotions, to let them find a home in us, is to live with a hardened heart, in darkness and anguish. Only when we let go of our anger, and the grudges we hold, and acknowledge that the past has no power over the present moment, will our suffering reveal the way to peace.
The journey to true forgiveness is not easy, it’s unbelievably tough, but it is the only way to heal ourselves, and the world.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”