I believe that forgiveness is not an easy thing to do and probably many of you reading this agrees to that. Well, even though it’s not something easy to do, it’s still DOABLE and it becomes easier.
So the questions basically come down to, why do we forgive? Why do we need forgiveness? How can we be forgiving?
We forgive so that we can have inner peace, to be joyful, to have a more positive outlook on things, and to be a more positive person. We also forgive so that others may forgive and free themselves from self guilt.
What is forgiveness to you? Do you consider it TRUE forgiveness?
Many people tell me, “Oh yes, I’m a forgiving person. I have moved on from it already.”. Next thing I know, the rage and the hatred comes in when they start telling me the story.
Is that what we call true forgiveness? If we have truly forgiven someone, there should not be any rage, hatred, or offensive words toward that person. With true forgiveness, we don’t get rattled up thinking or talking about what happened and most importantly, we don’t go blaming someone for this and that. True forgiveness means PEACE. Peace with yourself and peace with others. Do you agree or disagree with me here?
To be forgiving, there are several things we first need to do:
- Forgive ourselves
- Forgive others
- Letting go of our past
- Letting go of our grudges.
1) Learn To Forgive Ourselves
In order to be forgiving, we must first forgive ourselves; forgive ourselves for past mistakes! Just as others wrong us, we also wrong others. Some may intentionally hurt others, and some unintentionally hurt others. Those who intentionally hurt others most likely planned it to get someone back as a revenge, make people feel miserable to feel better about themselves (because of ego and pride), or perhaps out of jealousy. Sometimes, people don’t even think that far; they don’t think whether what they do or say will hurt others.
After all, none of us are perfect; nobody out there is perfect nor does anyone live a perfect life. We all go through things and that’s just a part of life – I like to say it as a journey of life.
Now, how can we forgive ourselves for our past mistakes? Try to reflect back to a time when we’ve wronged someone. Did we feel that guilt in us? That guilt is because deep down inside we know we’ve done something wrong unintentionally. Or perhaps it WAS intentional but we came back to our senses; woke up to our mistakes and started to feel bad for what we had done. Just like that, we not only hurt someone else but we’re also hurting ourselves internally.
Just knowing that we’ve done something wrong, it has been embedded into us. Well, many people if not all. Some people choose to not care but to those who care and feel that guilt, we need to let it go. Letting that guilt go is the key to forgiving ourselves.
When we have done something to hurt others and realize at one point what we did was wrong, what is the first thing most people think of? Apologizing, right?
Alright, so if you feel the need to apologize to that person then do it! Do it not only for the other person but also for yourself and actually mean it! But… what happens if you never get a chance to apologize? Well, you can’t say you didn’t try! If you had the intention on apologizing, that’s already the first step. If you don’t get the chance to, then it’s time for plan B. Acknowledge to yourself that you tried to apologize, and then let go of the guilt.
Let go of that inner guilt and look forward. Whether we choose to be happy or not, life goes on. Life will go on regardless of what happens down the road, so why not face every situation head on joyfully? It’s not that you didn’t want to apologize but you just didn’t have the opportunity to. Does it mean you won’t get this opportunity in the future? No one knows what the future holds except God, so why not leave it all in His hands? Maybe down the road we will run into those we have once wronged! Use that as a chance to apologize but don’t keep that guilt in you holding you down. Free yourself from guilt!
One thing that we should acknowledge is the fact that God already knows who we will wrong and how. Yet even knowing this, God forgives us. He forgives us regardless of what we have done in the past but it sure doesn’t give us an excuse to continue doing what’s wrong. We are to repent of all unrighteousness and strive to do better; to become a better person.
So, it comes down to this. God has forgiven us, so we shall forgive ourselves as well. If God, The One who has the final judgment on us has forgiven our sins then what is holding us back from forgiving ourselves? God said yes and no matter how many people say no, God is not going to change his answer. That does not only go for forgiveness, it goes for everything else that He has planned and prepared for us.
If even God has forgiven us, the more we should forgive ourselves and not hold any guilt upon ourselves. God accepts us the way we are and He accepts our past; God accepts all our flaws and imperfections. After all, He already knew which path we would take and He knew where we will go wrong. Without taking the wrong paths, we won’t learn. If everything was so perfect in life, there would not be any challenges in our way and there would not be any learning involved in life. However, is that how real life is? Do we not learn?
Learn to forgive yourself, remove the guilt. If you can come to forgive yourself, you will find yourself forgiving others easily. There will always be people who will wrong us but we have a choice. We can either laugh about it or become bitter and unforgiving.
Which do you choose? To be joyful or become bitter like those who wrong you?
If we all make the change to stay humble and not wrong others intentionally, this world would be a more peaceful place. We may have all the reasons to wrong others but it doesn’t mean we need bring forth our actions. If we use those reasons to hurt others, they become EXCUSES.
2) Learn To Forgive Others
Many times when we’re asked to forgive someone, it can be quite hard to do. However, in order to be forgiving we’re going to have to forgive others; I’m talking about TRUE forgiveness.
What is TRUE forgiveness you’re probably wondering. True forgiveness is when we look back or think back to how we were wronged and we’re not affected by it; we’re no longer angry about it, we no longer feel bitter about it, and we no longer have a feeling of hatred in us. How many people can say that they are able to truly forgive?
If you’re still feeling angry, bitter, and hate the guts out of the people who have wronged you then you have not truly forgiven. Maybe you’re telling yourself and/or others that you’ve forgiven so-and-so because it’s what you think… or feel. Little do you know that even the smallest things can trigger the bitterness… and then what? Are you going to say, “Well, I’m human and I have feelings. Just because I have forgiven that person doesn’t mean I can’t be mad.”? In response to that I’d have to say that in a way, yes, you are right. We are human and we have feelings but if we are to talk about forgiveness here then it wouldn’t apply. Why? Simple! If you have truly forgiven, all those feelings of resentment and vengeance would be gone! You would no longer BE mad!
Forgive those who wrong us even when they don’t deserve it. Forgive those who have wronged us without an apology. After all, what good does it do for us? If we don’t forgive others, would they feel guilty just because we are mad? I highly doubt it. So instead of us having to stay mad at others just because we never received an apology, we should just let it go and TRULY forgive them. That way, we gain the inner peace and what had happened no longer affects us in any way. If one day they come back to apologize, GREAT! If they don’t? Well, I would highly suggest that we continue to stay joyful and continue to forgive.
If those who wrong us can just walk away and enjoy life, why can’t we? Why let the anger and hatred linger in us to make us NOT enjoy our lives? Why should we let others affect how we feel? Be happy and joyful! Enjoy what life has to offer us and move on from what is now in the past.
No one is perfect, not even ourselves. How can we expect others to be perfect and treat us right when we can’t even do the same for others? How many of us can say we have NEVER wronged someone? There has got to be at least one incident in each of our lives. Perhaps you have done so unintentionally, that doesn’t mean you haven’t! Just as others wrong us, we wrong others as well whether it’s intentional or unintentional.
Forgive others just as you would want them to forgive you. I’m sure many of us would want to be forgiven for every time we wrong others. If we want that forgiveness, then how much more do others want forgiveness from us? Forgiveness does not need to be verbal, just the fact that you can put down what happened and continue to be a friend and continue to love your friends show that you have forgiven them; this doesn’t just apply to friends, it applies to family and all loved ones!
Sometimes, people wrong us without even realizing; unintentionally. There are also times when we go about doing our own thing not realizing that we have wronged others unintentionally as well. Most times, people get into arguments because of misunderstandings. How many of you would agree with that? Many people listen to argue and not listen to understand; everyone wants to be right! I’ll admit that sometimes I listen to argue too, I have to always remind myself to let the person finish before saying anything.
I usually find myself not having much to say after the other person has voiced out. Maybe it’s because I was able to understand where he/she was coming from or sometimes I guess it’s because I get this feeling that if I say anything more, an argument would arise. Does that happen to you? Do you feel that way sometimes?
I mean yes, everyone likes to be right but isn’t that why we have arguments? One always has to win? Arguments only hurt the relationship because we tend to say things out of anger. What we say out of anger, we can’t take back. Plus, it might not even be something we meant to say but at that point in time we just blurt out whatever comes to mind arguing back. Why? Because we feel the need to WIN the argument.
Let me ask you this – So what if you win the argument? What do you get out of winning an argument? From what I see, instead of “winning” anything besides your pride and ego, you could lose a friend/partner. Is winning an argument worth losing someone we love? Personally, I’d rather “lose” to an argument. At the very least, I can acknowledge that this person and I cannot see eye to eye on certain things (which is fine) and that I know I still won in the end; won the relationship be it a friend, family, or a partner.
Everyone likes to be right but we can’t be right all the time. Make sacrifices if need be, lose if you have to in order to keep the peace between you and the person you’re arguing with; laugh it off! What greater way to get over an argument than to just laugh it out? Laugh at how silly it was to argue over nothing or something that can’t even be changed!
Going back, God forgives and accepts everyone, no matter how bad they are; just as He forgave us for the same reasons. He forgives everyone including those who do not believe in Him. Those who don’t believe in Jesus could say the worst things about him not knowing who He really is. Even then, God still forgives. So why can’t we learn to forgive others even when they wrong us? We all have a past but our past doesn’t define us! We have all the opportunity to make changes and become a better person!
Learn to forgive others as Christ forgives us. We are not perfect, we do wrong things and we make bad choices. If we find ourselves pointing fingers at other people who are doing wrong, we also need to acknowledge that we are just the same. We may not be committing the same act as the other person but it doesn’t mean everything we do is right.
Forgive others of their wrong doings and don’t wish revenge on them. Do we know their stories behind what they are doing? Do we know their upbringing? No… instead of wishing them “bad luck”, we can pray for these people; pray for them to change and become a better person. Pray for them to see what they’re doing is wrong, and pray for guidance for those who walk astray.
We want this world to become a better place, we don’t need more bitterness!
3) Let Go Of The Past – Let It Be In The Past
To be forgiving, we also need to let go of the past and let the past stay in the past. People wrong us but so do we, whether it’s intentional or not. However, that doesn’t mean people don’t change because one day down the road, they will when the time comes.
People grow, and no I don’t mean in height or in weight. People grow maturely and some people grow from the situations they had faced. As I said in my previous post, life is a journey and there will always be ups and downs. Nobody lives a perfect life and while we all grow through both good and bad times, we become more mature. As we mature, we are no longer the same person as we were say, 10 years ago. Even our thoughts will change, agree with me here?
When we were kids, many of us were probably a tattletale. It’s normal for kids, no? But now when things happen for example, a friend punches us, do we go crying to the teacher or crying to our parents? We don’t, we pretty much just let it go. Does it actually hurt? As a kid, yes probably but now that we’re grown, we’ve experienced things that are even more painful than a light punch to the arm.
Everyone grows, people don’t stay the same. How we were 10 years ago would not define who we are today. We don’t just grow more maturely as life progresses but we face so many different situations that forces us to grow and mature. How many of us are now working? Don’t we face challenges almost everyday to meet deadlines or to have certain tasks done? Over time, we find ways to finish a task faster compared to our first day at work.
Let go of the past, and let it stay in the past. What happened has already happened and there’s no going back; we can’t turn back time. So why let the past linger into our present and let it affect us now? Those who have wronged us in the past may have already forgotten about you and I; do you think it’s still worth it to go back to the past and be angry at those who have wronged us? I don’t think it’s worth it.
Since we can’t do anything about our past, isn’t it better for us to just move on with life, look ahead, and do better? Or maybe we have done something in the past that we can’t forgive ourselves for. Well, it goes back to learning to forgive ourselves. We can’t turn back time, all we can do now is to make the necessary changes and do better; grow from the past and don’t make the same mistakes again.
It’s already a fact that people have wronged us in the past but we can’t let that stop us from moving forward; we can’t let the past take away our inner peace, joy, and happiness. If the other party/parties don’t even think back to what they had done, they’ve probably forgotten about it anyway. Should we be the ones to sacrifice our own health and our own happiness? Let go of the past and start fresh each day.
We have the choice and a chance to change the situation we are in today. Do we want to make the same mistakes and keep getting held down by self guilt, or do we want to become a better person?
4) Let Go Of The Grudges – No Revenge; Emotionally or Physically
Learn to let go of grudges to give yourself peace. Yes I know, you will say it’s hard and I totally get it. It is hard… I mean, it CAN be hard. Ultimately, the decision is yours.
Many times, the grudges we hold are only hurting ourselves and not anyone else. The grudge we keep inside doesn’t affect other people but ourselves; the person we stay mad at isn’t affected by our grudges. Whether we let go of resentment/bitterness or not, the choice is ours. Like I said earlier in this post, if it doesn’t affect the person we’re mad at then why should we let it affect us? Why should we continue to be mad? Keeping that grudge isn’t healthy either; mentally and emotionally. Also, it makes us bitter to a point where we just end up picking out bad points about literally everyone.
Tell me, who’s perfect? Are you? Chances are, if you’re holding a grudge against someone, there are probably other people holding a grudge against you and you don’t even know it. Why? Because it doesn’t even affect you! Same goes to those whom you hold grudges against.
Going through pain is part of life, it’s not something that we can choose to avoid. Face this pain head on, get through it and we will be as good as new. The next time we run into another situation, do the same thing. This will be a cycle and each time we face similar situations, it’ll become easier to forgive anyone who has wronged us and we will no longer hold grudges against people. It’s simply just silly to hold a grudge, don’t you think? We first need to love ourselves, and by doing so we need to let go of these grudges so that we can have that peace and not be emotionally affected putting extra stress on our bodies.
There are people who know they have wronged you but struggle to approach you and apologize, sometimes they will change knowing it was wrong. We need to learn to give everyone a chance to change instead of staying angry at them. For us to step up and not hold grudges actually help other people as well as our own wellbeing. It gives them a chance to realize that their approach was wrong. Will they realize it the next day? Probably not. Everything takes time but it doesn’t mean we need to stay mad.
A grudge means anger within, bitterness, hatred, and going against literally everything somebody does. When we hold a grudge against someone we are bitter about, we could never agree to anything that they do and we would most certainly find points to argue back. We make up all these excuses just to go against people because we want them to BE wrong and for us to be right.
When we are able to really let go of grudges, it means that when we think back to what happened, we will not react negatively towards that memory or the person who wronged us. Perhaps we won’t even react to it, period.
Letting go of grudges mean that what happened and whoever wronged us no longer affects us, we’ve put everything down and have truly forgiven them. If we are able to do that, we will no longer have that bitterness in us or feel bitter towards others. Most times, we hold a grudge to make the other party feel bad and suffer the way we did but 90% of the time they don’t even care and move on with life.
Holding onto grudges will not make those who wrong us apologize; not everyone will apologize for the hurt they cause. It doesn’t mean we cannot forgive them because we certainly can! We can let go of everything and when we let go of all our grudges, guess what? We have taken a HUGE step closer to being forgiving!
If letting go of grudges is the only thing that’s holding YOU back from being forgiving, now is the time to let the past go and drop the grudges behind you. Gain that inner peace, do it for yourself even if you’re not willing to do it for others. Not only will it make you feel better, it helps you in becoming more forgiving. Gradually, you will learn to overlook the times you are being wronged. Broaden your perspective and learn to see the good in everything; negativity, bitterness, anger, hatred… it’s not worth it!
Is it easy to forgive? Yes because God has forgiven us. No because it’s easier said than done; we are after all, human. If it was so easy to forgive ourselves and to let go of grudges, we would not struggle to forgive others. I’d have to say that we struggle to be forgiving mainly because we’re not able to let go of the past. If we can master that, we’ll be more likely to forgive ourselves and others without much of an inner battle.
We have a choice to live freely full of joy and away from bitterness; no longer being affected by those who wrong us. Don’t blame others for the way each of us react because ultimately, we are the ones who decide to act a certain way. No one can make us mad, we are the ones who make ourselves mad – others can only trigger us. Notice that, keyword there is TRIGGER; they are just THE trigger but we are the ones who PULL the trigger. So can we now blame others for the way we react?
If we choose to be mad, make a change to get over it before heading to bed. Better yet, try to get over and let go of what happened shortly after; perhaps after venting or ranting. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t say to gossip about those who have wronged you because that will only prolong your anger and create that bitterness in you.
Remember!!! Learn to let go of the past, learn to let go of any grudges, forgive others, and most importantly forgive yourself!
Think you can ace this? I know you can because I have the confidence in YOU!
- Are you able to forgive yourself?
- Are you able to forgive others?
- Do you hold any grudges deep down?
Questions for my readers:
- Do you think it’s worth it to stay mad at those who have moved on?
- Do you think it affects your health to be mad and to hold grudges?
- After reading this post, do you want to make any changes?
- Did this post help and encourage you to be forgiving?
- Are there any points you disagree with?