First of all, we have to understand and accept the fact that everyone needs forgiveness!
I know that for so many people, the word forgiveness has to do with God. As the Bible told us about God’s forgiveness. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus as Christians celebrate Easter. What is the meaning of forgiveness is what this post wants to respond to.
But interestingly, since I don’t intend to make this a religious topic, so I will only provide us, the definition and meaning of Forgiveness basically. https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/forgiveness/what-it-means-to-forgive/
It is a topic that had been studied scientifically, psychologically, philosophically, and theologically. And I think why it is broadly studied is because of its importance to human existence.
What Forgiveness Is
From a Psychological standpoint, forgiveness is defined as a conscious deliberate, decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. Regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.
Again, Forgiveness is the release of resentment(s) anger, hostility, hurt, an offense against anyone that we have grudges, or bitterness against. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean or result in reconciliations oftentimes. By this, I mean that you can forgive your offender, without a hug. But in your heart, you have released the individual and prayed for him or her to be forgiven.
For instance, in the case of friends, partners, and so forth. Both can decide to forgive each other’s offense but decide not to return to the same relationships, maybe to avoid going through the same toxic or experiencing the same harmful behaviors.
The Importance of Forgiveness
Without showing and having a forgiving mind, life will be so unbearable, bitter, and chaotic. Forgiveness is what releases the hurting mind. It extinguishes the fire of hate and revenge. Without forgiveness evil, and all kinds of crimes will increase by minutes. I say this because it is stated in the Bible that “The heart is so deceitful and desperately wicked.”
Likewise, Forgiveness grants the offended or the victim the peace of mind that comes by letting go of the ill feelings being harbored. It helps the forgiver to upload those negative emotions out of his or her mind. Consequently, it releases the mind from being infected with the virus of unforgiveness. Clearly, Forgiveness protects our mental health. And it helps the offended to express his or her God-consciousness or goodness.
Surely, the forgiver can offer a pardon to the offender unconditionally based on his or her choice. It helps to extend the divine love to the offender, by reframing the offense or behavior in a different way. By so doing, it will empower you to acknowledge your pains, loss, suffering, injury, and betrayal, without allowing it to limit you or subject you to perpetual sorrow and resentment or to take away your humanness.
Also, forgiveness is a choice. And it has to be done out of compassion. If it is done for the sake of love and peace, it will drive away every feeling of hostility and the wishing of evil for the perceived enemy. Once you resolve within your heart to let go of the offense, it will dissolve every other negative feeling inside you. It may not happen automatically. However, it something you will know when it happens.
Similarly, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life. Ask yourself how many offenses can you carry throughout the course of your life. We are offended daily, by others, family, job, friends, etc.Have The Heart Of Compassion
No wonder Jesus answered Peter when he asked how many times can he forgive his brother. The number of times given is 7 X 70 a day, which is 490 times one person has to offend you. That shows that you have to keep forgiving. Keeping records doesn’t help your mind, or promote good relationships. Let go ASAP!
Think about it, can anyone be offended by that number of times and you kept on forgiving? The point is that we must have to forgive as many times as the offenses happen. If not we will be in mental bondage.
Forgiveness Does Not Mean
Just as we have seen what forgiveness is, it is equally important to understand in a nutshell what it is not. For instance, forgiveness is not about discounting the seriousness of the offense. Neither does it suggest acceptance of the evil act, or crime committed, or whatever the offense is. Also, forgiveness does not mean that you just automatically forget or dismiss what happened. Neither does it mean that you sweep the offense or your hurts under the carpet.
I know how often I have heard the remark “why not forget, why do you still remember the past?” Forgiveness is not necessarily giving the offender a pass to continue on his or her abuse, or bad path. Instead, it is about protecting yourself from the negative emotions that can build up by one holding onto resentment, bitterness, and revengeful thoughts. It is your ability to free yourself or protect your mind from experiencing the pain that another person inflicted on you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to speak or relate to a person who betrayed you after you have decided to let go of whatever offense committed against you. It’s not about them for the most part. However, I will say that forgiveness provides a dual benefit both to the offender and the forgiver. It doesn’t condone the bad behavior or whatever offense or suffering that was inflicted on the victim, but it frees the mind from its negative effects.
Steps to Forgiveness
As human beings, we experience pains, sufferings, disappointments, betrayals, mistreatment, abuse, hurts, and loss from time to time. As a result, we feel the pains, the wounds, or hurts caused by another person or persons. Our actions and reactions under these or any of these experiences matter a lot for our souls’ healing. Our ability to go through pains of any degree and letting go of them within a reasonable time frame is where the healing starts.
- Understand your emotions, by that I mean, know how you feel about what happened to you. And focus on yourself and respond to what happened. Do yourself a favor by not focusing on the offender, his or her behaviors after. Especially, if living close or under the same roof. By focusing on managing your interpretation, blaming, and excuses, you are taking control of the situation, instead of allowing another person has control over your mind, freedom, and happiness. Training our minds on how to perceive any situation for the greater good and for our mental wellbeing.
- Choose to show compassion Instead of Teeth for Tat, offenses are in degrees, and some are very serious to process alone sometimes. However, we still have a choice to make just like in every other thing in life. As a result, one of the smart decisions will be to depersonalize, for instance, an offensive or remark from another person. You can decide how to respond to any situation, harm, offense, that another person has caused you or intend to cause. You can choose to remain peaceful, kind, and forgiving.
Chose to show the Godliness in you, Oftentimes, as human beings when something that has crushed our ego happens, we can decide to maintain our ego to claim our right or to show God’s consciousness. The point is that there is no offense, that is unforgivable if we apply the heart of God to it, which is LOVE and MERCY.
- Choose to Go the Way of Love, When any evil thing happens to us, we have to understand that we can’t unhappen what already happened to us. No matter how we try to judge another person, condemn the behavior or cruel act. Love is the only medicine that hate can respond to. And that is what God has offered everyone! Therefore, if we reflect on that kind of deep unconditional love, we can forgive because of love.
- Train Your Mind on How to Become an Observer, this is a tip that is not commonly thought about or apply. But personally, I’m learning this. Instead of carrying the weight of victimhood, or a participant, just do the much you can to detach yourself from the offender and the weight of the offense in your mind. When you respond to offenses, people’s wickedness, wearing the mental picture of an observer, that relieves much of the weight from your mind.
- Reflect on the benefits of living a life of peace, happiness, compassion, forgiveness as against the opposite.
Let us understand the following points about forgiveness, Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. One doesn’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from an offender.
“Forgiveness is vitally important for the mental health of those who have been victimized. It propels people forward rather than keeping them emotionally engaged in injustice or trauma. Forgiveness has been shown to elevate mood, enhance optimism, and guard against anger, stress, anxiety, and depression.”
Finally, I want to urge us, to do the best we can to free our minds from residual anger, hostility, bitterness, hate, and viciousness. Instead, in as much as it is possible for one’s mental health, happiness, growth, success; let us sacrifice the ego of claiming our right, to the alter of mercy and compassion. Let us know that the law of sowing and reaping still exist. Walk the path of healing and not hurting the mind further.