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Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

Today is Global Forgiveness Day. August 27th is observed as a day to “give an apology and receive an apology”. Generally, it is a day to let go of resentment. Resentment and unforgiveness are things we all struggle with. In some cases we can hold resentment against a person, a group of people, or even an event that has happened in our lives. Resentment and unforgiveness is a human response to being hurt. Sometimes we think, if we stay angry with someone, it will hurt them, or keep them from hurting us again. Thankfully, today is a day where we can stop and reflect on some events that have happened or moments when people have hurt us and we can choose to forgive them. We can choose to let it go and live freely.

Forgiveness can be defined as “the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” Forgiveness is the choice made to let go of pain and allow yourself to enter a place of closure.

 

All that being said, I’m sure a lot of you can think of a lot of good reasons why you shouldn’t forgive someone. But let’s break down what forgiveness is and what it is not and some of the reasons why it is always our best option:

 

  1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what was done to you was OK. When you choose to forgive someone of the pain they caused you, it doesn’t mean you agree with what they have done. Forgiveness means you are making a choice to let go of the pain.
  2. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the person who hurt you is welcome in your life in the same way. You have value. When someone disregards your value and chooses to hurt you, it doesn’t mean they should be welcome in your life to the same degree.
  3. Forgiveness isn’t for the benefit of another person. It is for your benefit. When you choose to hold on to resentment and bitterness, you are the prisoner. It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison thinking it will hurt the other person. When we choose to forgive, we let go of the pain and bitterness that is ultimately hurting us from the inside out. When we forgive, we can be free to move on.
  4. Forgiveness is not always for others, it’s also about forgiving yourself. Maybe when you were hurt, it was a two-sided offense. Maybe you have wronged someone else. Staying in guilt and shame never solves anything or makes anyone feel better. When there is pain, we also need to forgive ourselves in order to move on.
  5. Forgiveness is a sign of strength and a form of love. When you choose to forgive, you are facing your pain and choosing to leave it in the past so you can move on. This takes a lot of strength! When you forgive and let go of pain, you are opening yourself up to receive love, peace, and happiness.

 

So, today is Global Forgiveness Day. Choose to forgive someone and see how free you feel!

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