lonely house

Forgiveness: The path to peace?

In Blog entry by JAcOBLeave a Comment


Well, is it?  What do you think?

When I first think about forgiveness, I think about forgiving those who have done me harm or wrong.

But actually, perhaps the first thing I ought to consider is, being forgiving of myself?

The truth is, as you know by now, I am not that clever.  So i don’t even know where to start with this.  I have thought on this subject from time to time, over a few years now, and I realise I actually don’t really know what forgiveness fully is.

An excerpt from a website that I recently read said this:

“Psychologists generally define forgiveness 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.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, 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.”

Being just an ordinary bloke, I understand the concept that one of many benefits of learning and practicing forgiveness is the lessening of ‘corrosive’ thoughts, which are ultimately self-harming (chemically, this may mean a lessening of the production of Cortisol).

Now, setting aside the spiritual side of things for a moment (albeit valid), forgiveness has been explained to me as a bit like a muscle group.  Now through my many years exercise, this strikes a chord.  An athlete trains for years to be able to run a sub-three-hour marathon … they build up to the distance over a long period and run thousands of miles to be able to achieve such a thing.  Why should an emotional technique or skill be any less challenging?

So, in other words, forgiveness takes practice!

If we can accept that unforgiveness is potentially self-harming, and we want to change (and you may not), then at least you have the basic knowledge of potential benefits and side effects.

Drawing another parallel with exercise, when I have been injured and unable to exercise for a while it takes time to get back to where my performance was at.  Though it’s not like starting from scratch, muscle has ‘memory’, just as our brain has memory.

I remember when leaving the second company I worked for as an adult, one of my colleagues gave me a card and the printed message inside said “Grab them by the balls and the heart will follow”.

Now, if you’ll forgive me(!), I don’t suggest you go up to the next man you meet and do that … you may not be forgiven … but seriously, genuine acts of forgiveness can be compelling and inspiring.

Again, the bottom line here is that learning forgiveness is just one of many things that might ease your emotional pain or depression.

With peace love and hope for you all,


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