“Forgiveness is letting go of bitter feelings against those who have wronged me and being willing to initiate peace”
Forgiveness is about our own healing and willingness to initiate peace. It doesn’t mean we need to restore the relationship – as this may not be possible. However the calming through healing and restoring peace within us – are essential.
Forgiveness is called for when something unpleasant is dumped in our lap. The need for Forgiveness arises – because of the uncalled for act of another person – committed against us, our people or our property. The act can be hostile so it disrupts our emotions. It hurts. It offends our dignity, our ego and our pride. It threatens our safety. It worries us and causes us grief.
And because we are thus threatened, every primal instinct rises up within us and we want to lash out in self-protection, anger, revenge or vengeance. In families it can result in arguments, rifts, violence and divorce. In the workplace it results in gossip, sabotage, disruption, division, distrust or walk outs. In nations it results in bombings, killings, wars and even genocide. Some nations or families have been waring for so long – they have even forgotten why!
We make up the most rational reasons not to forgive and to retaliate:
- I’m just getting even
- I’m teaching them a lesson
- Every dog has his day
Many of us take no physical or violent action – but hold this hurt inside our Heart and sit in wait for the day of reckoning. The day the person who offended us is hurt or offended by someone else, or they lose something important to them.
However, while we wait and hope for this pay-back – what is happening to us?
A lot is unconsciously occurring inside us:
- We are becoming more hardened and probably storing up more hurts from others
- We could become more bitter and cynical with ourselves or others – even though we do not feel it (refer to my other blogs about The Compound Effect and Hairy Harry)
- We are denying the opportunity to see the good in ourselves and others
- We are denying our greatness and not building our Character Values – we are devaluing and closing our Emotional and Spiritual elements to the world.
- We are denying ourselves the joy of exercising the superior virtues of Character.
Most of the hurts and offences against us are small and we can decide to increase the hurt we feel or we can forgive and set a path of peace in our heart. There are times when we need to cut ourselves off from some people because the hurt will continue. Forgiving them before moving away is essential for our own Peace.
There are some very horrific and soul destroying events that would seem impossible for anyone to forgive the perpetrator –but they do occur. The NZ massacre is one example. To me this man was the real Hero from the event. At one of the rallies he came out on stage in a wheel chair and forgave the man who had just murdered many people –
including his own wife. How anyone can do this – I cannot say. But Forgiveness of the murderer was the basis for this man to begin to deal with the violent loss of his wife.
Benefits of Forgiveness:
- Forgiving Is Good – Not Forgiving is Bad – There are no Saints of Vengeance. There are no honour boards of the vengeful
- Forgiving Is Scarce – Not Forgiving is Common – just listen to everyday conversations – usually about how badly people have treated me or how they didn’t help me. Not too many are about offering an Olive Leaf.
- Forgiving Is Good for you – Not Forgiving is Bad for you – People who Forgive are on the way to more peace and joy than the ones who leave vengeance in their heart. This creates more unhappiness and other people are drawn into this fog of anger and hate.
- Forgiving cannot hurt you – Not Forgiving mucks you up – It is unusual to visit a doctor, a lawyer, a physiologist suffering from a bad case of Forgiveness. It’s never been shown to do anyone any harm. However not forgiving leads to carrying around bitterness, anger, spite, and jealousy.
- Forgiving Is Progress – Not Forgiving is Regression – No community was ever been destroyed, or any country corrupted, or any family cursed or any economies crippled with Forgiveness. Vengeance causes all of these.
- Forgiving Is Intelligent – Not Forgiving is Stupid – The benefits are self-evident in this article. Not Forgiving takes a lot of negative energy, takes your focus away from Designing your own Good Life. It may lose you some friends. It may affect your work and family life. While the person you allow to hurt you may be completely unaware of your feelings.
An Action you can Take:
Write a letter to the person outlining all the hurt you feel. Why you feel this hurt. Explain the situation or language that allowed this to occur. Explain how you would like to feel peace and calm. Tell them that you forgive them for what occurred. That you will let these feelings go and move forward with your life in the best way you can. THEM BURN THE LETTER – DO NOT SEND IT.
Forgiveness makes a lot of sense. It is healing for you. It leads to a better life and allows you to become the best of which you are capable.
“Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love” (through forgiveness)…Martin Luther King Jr.
(Some of these points have been adapted from Colin Pearce (www.colinpearceacademy.com)
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