The Forgiveness Factor

Whoever said, “to err is human; to forgive, divine” was absolutely right, because forgiveness often requires an effort that seems superhuman. But, at its root, forgiveness is all about you. In order to forgive, you must be completely self-aware. You must learn to forgive yourself in order to forgive others. It’s one of the hardest things to learn, and to practice.

All of us make mistakes and hurt others. Unfortunately, that’s just part of life. But one of the truest marks of someone’s character is how they handle those mistakes and those hurts that they cause. We may often demand immediate apologies from those who have wronged us, but are we so quick to offer the apologies when we have wronged others?

Imagine that you’ve been made an incredible offer. A wealthy benefactor has offered to buy up all of your debt: student loans, medical bills, mortgage. He’ll buy up all of your debt and forgive it on one condition: that you forgive every debt that anyone has ever owed you, that you forgive everyone who has ever done you wrong.

The possibilities would be endless. Imagine what you could do without any debts holding you down! And all you’d have to do is forgive. Could you do that? Write a list of everyone you’ve been resenting, everyone who owes you money, everyone who’s broken your heart. What would you say to them? How would you rebuild a bridge that burned down long ago?

But if you could do it, if you could forgive, you would know a freedom like no other. You could cast off the chains that bind you to your old hurts and your old debts. It would be like a rebirth.

It often seems that we live in self-made bubbles and interact with only a handful of people who already agree with us. But our common humanity unites us all. We should be kind to one another. We should love one another and help one another in times of need.

Why is it that we have no problem volunteering and donating money, yet we have the hardest time forgiving those who have hurt us? Maybe you’ve heard the analogy: Continuing to resent someone, refusing to forgive them, is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. In reality, we are only hurting ourselves.

Break the chains that bind you to your past heartbreaks. Tear up the deed on a debt you are holding. Forgive someone today, and you’ll find that you are really forgiving yourself.      

Photo by Ester Marie Doysabas on Unsplash