Is it just me or can it be really hard to forgive people sometimes? Someone hurt you or wronged you in some way, and you just can't seem to get past it?
Today's word is one that I think is extremely important: forgiveness. According to the dictionary, to 'forgive' means to "stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; to cancel (a debt)."
Now, I do not think that this is a bad definition at all, but I do think that there is so much more to "forgiveness" than what is stated in those two short lines. To forgive someone does mean to stop feeling angry or resentful towards them, but in doing that, you also let go of a weight that you've been carrying around with you. Forgiving someone else not only sets them free; forgiving someone else also sets you free.
I certainly know that forgiveness is not always an easy thing. We are prideful beings, and I think that many times, our own pride gets in the way of us forgiving another person for their wrongs. We don't want to forgive them because we are angry that they hurt us. We don't want to forgive them because they wronged us and deserve to feel bad about it. We don't want to forgive them because we think that we have a right to be angry and resentful. We don't want to forgive them because, because, because...
But that's the thing about forgiveness: you will always find a reason why you don't want to or "shouldn't" forgive someone. None of us will ever deserve forgiveness. And that's why it is such a powerful thing when granted.
When you forgive someone, you are not only letting them know that you aren't angry with them anymore. You are also showing them that, even though they wronged you and they don't deserve to be forgiven, they get a second chance. And in reality, we all need second (or third, or fourth or fifth) chances. Life is a learning process, and I think that when you extend forgiveness to another, you are letting them know that you know they can do better.
And when I say forgive, I mean forgive completely. I do not mean forgiving the person in the moment, but then secretly still holding their wrong against them in case you need to bring it up again in the future. Forgiveness to me means starting over with a clean slate. When you say that you forgive someone, and when you truly do forgive them in your heart, whatever wrong they did to you should not even be in your mind at all anymore.
Withholding forgiveness from someone can really take a toll on you. How much more happy and free you would feel if only you would decide to let it go and forgive the person that wronged you.
My challenge for you? Practice forgiving those who have hurt you. Keep practicing that forgiveness and never stop. What does "forgiveness" mean to you?