April 3, 2016

How Forgiveness Benefits US

Forgiveness is a hot issue these days. We are more easily offended than ever. Some of us are quick to involve others in court cases. Groups fight among themselves. Families are at odds.

If we allow ourselves, there are plenty of opportunities to get upset. Two of the many injustices in life follow:
  • Some people who offend others do it on purpose.
  • Some individuals will never admit to doing anything wrong.

What is the Solution?

My dear online friend and fellow author, Dr. Rosanne Higgins, has some wise ideas on the subject. I have typed her comments below, exactly as she wrote them to me:

I was thinking of that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie show up at his parents’ door having been blinded by soap poisoning. It was his fantasy to make his parents feel guilty and regret all of the times they washed his mouth out with soap.
I think people can get obsessed about trying to get the other person to realize that they were wrong, or acted badly in a particular situation. The fact of the matter is that often no matter how hard we try, the other person does not see the error of their ways.
It can be all consuming for us to try and make them see how they wronged us. I think what many people need to learn is to let it go. Some people will treat us badly with no remorse. Best to stay away from those people.
Sometimes we need to make hard decisions about who we allow in our lives. Sometimes we have to change jobs or even careers to get the toxic people out of our lives because even if we become blinded due to soap poisoning, they will not recognize or admit their part in it.
It is so easy to become obsessed when we know we are right. But in the end it really does not matter because the only person hanging on to that negative interaction is the person who was wronged. The other person never gave it a second thought and never will.
Please see Dr. Higgins’ blog about history here. You can also link out to her wonderful historical fiction series from there.

The Different Types of Forgiveness

Please watch this brilliantly insightful 5-minute video from psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen Marmer. It explains the various methods of pardoning those who offend us, whether they deserve, or ask for, clemency:

My Conclusion

Unforgiveness can backfire; it can end up “poisoning” us, instead of the person who hurt us. Each wrong that we refuse to pardon adds to the darkness within us, even though it might have no effect on the person who mistreated us. The painful experience for us may only be a minor blip on the radar of their life, if they acknowledge it in the first place.

The process of admitting to wrongdoing is a powerfully humbling experience; no two ways about it.  While some individuals are strong enough and brave enough to acknowledge their faults, others will never do so. That’s where “letting it go” comes in.
In the meantime, the Bible gives us two points of guidance to keep the spiritual light in our lives:
  • Concern ourselves only with our own sins; let others worry about theirs.
  • Forgive everybody else, whether they deserve it or not.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brooding and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to on another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”--Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
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Have you let go of the darkness of unforgiveness?

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