The people around us are only human. We are also only human! From time to time, people may say or do something hurtful, such as saying a harsh comment, forgetting to invite you to something, or any number of things. It’s ok to forgive them. In fact, it’s excellent to forgive them. Jesus said we should forgive others “70 times 7 times,” a symbolic number meaning endlessly.
For much of my life I’ve been a silent grudge-holder, remembering many slights from others and secretly replaying them in my mind. That doesn’t lead anyone to love or peace or friendship, and only left me exhausted. Now, I’m working on just letting it go. I let it go because I love myself, and I am learning that nothing anyone says or does can diminish me in God’s eyes.
If someone says or does something that offends, forgive them. If someone accidentally hurts you today, let it go. Return to your center and to love. We are all here working out our own difficulties and walking our own paths. Remember the times you may have offended others, and how kind it felt if they forgave you. Let yourself be this beacon for another and forgive them. Restore your heart to love and see past the foibles of others.
What is forgiveness? For years I read and talked about forgiveness, but never understood what it meant. Sometimes, even thinking about forgiveness made me mad! It’s not fair to be hurt and feel in pain, and well-meaning quotes like “forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it” only made me more confused and angry.
Even though people spoke to me about the importance of forgiveness, it took years for me to understand it, as well as a lot of healing, therapy, alternative healing, and prayer. Eventually, I realized that to forgive I just needed to let love back into the parts of my heart that had been wounded. I had to learn to stop thinking about all the things that had hurt me, and get back in touch with myself and the love that always lived in my heart.
I think about Jesus on the cross forgiving those who crucified him. That’s such a powerful act. Jesus knew his relationship to God, and knew all the love he was – and nothing anyone did, even killing him, could change that. He forgave them because they didn’t know what they were doing.
On a smaller (much smaller) scale, I have learned to forgive people who didn’t mean to hurt me – even people who have hurt me deeply. They did not know what they were doing. They were merely acting out their own scripts and dramas. Their actions do not reflect on me, and do not change the love I am and was born to be. It really does have less to do with the other person, and everything to do with me.
“Forgive and Live” has been a mantra I say to myself to remind myself of how important it is to forgive. Forgiving frees me to live the life I was born to live.