Special Notice: Be sure to check back next Tuesday, June 28 for a special blog post. I will describe the experience I had this past weekend when my blog site was featured on WordPress.com. For those of you who found this blog last weekend and stick around until next Tuesday, I think you will especially appreciate it.
Why is it so hard to forgive somebody? When someone has hurt you, its natural to want to withhold forgiveness. What are you really doing when you withhold forgiveness.
I find that I dont forgive because I have lost trust in the person who hurt me. I simply dont trust that they wont hurt me again. Sometimes I think about how they dont deserve to be forgiven. How could someone who treated me so badly deserve to be forgiven. Not forgiving others is a way for me to punish their misbehavior.
When I dont forgive, I am actually punishing myself more than the person I am trying to punish. I need to forgive so that I can move on with my life. Holding to my forgiveness places a burden on me.
A favorite quote I found in my great grandfathers bible said, He who forgives ends the quarrel.
Forgiveness is necessary when a situation is unacceptable or offends you. It is not the same as excusing, pardoning, accepting, or understanding.
Ive been hurt by friends, family, and the people I work with. I worked for a guy once who enjoyed lead by intimidation. He really seemed to enjoy keeping his people who worked for him unsure of how he would react to decisions we made. In time I grew angry at him for keeping me so unsure of myself. What it really came down to is that I didnt trust him.
To forgive someone:
- Identify why it is that you cant forgive? Are you punishing the other person, do you not trust them?
- Acknowledge that you are withholding forgiveness. You are the only person who can decide to grant forgiveness. The person who you need to forgive probably doesnt know that you need to forgive them.
- Tell someone about it. Until you talk it through with someone, you will have a difficult time forgiving them. How is withholding forgiveness holding you back. The simple act of the conversation can help you forgive.
- Forgive them. When you forgive someone, it is a gift to yourself, not a gift for them. The person may never acknowledge that you have forgiven them. Expect that and move on with your life without the burden of forgiveness on you.
I learned to forgive my old boss. He taught me a great lesson in being true to myself and not allowing anyone to intimidate me. After I left that company, I vowed never to be intimidated again. After more than 10 years, I can say that I am rarely intimidated by someone. I am able to live this way now because of the forgiveness I was able to give.
Who do you need to forgive right now? What is keeping you from forgiving them? When have you forgiven someone who didnt deserve your forgiveness?