Day 1 of The Importance of Forgiveness: What is Forgiveness, Anyway?


Many of the people I interview on Rockin’ Life have suffered seemingly unforgivable injury. It’s difficult to imagine how they or anyone could find peace and the ability to go on after suffering these things. Yet, we see and hear their stories of triumph every week. We hear the joy, the life in their voices.  They found a way to triumph over their circumstances. They found a way to forgive and stop allowing the past to steal the present. This week we’re going to talk about forgiveness.  We’ll discuss what it is. We’ll look at the amazing power and freedom we gain from it and how we can forgive others and ourselves.

As I prepared to share this topic by reading up on the subject, I was surprised how many different views there were. Most sources pointed to letting go of feelings of anger or the right to get even. As I looked a little deeper at the origin of the word, I found a more active meaning than simply letting go of feelings. Originally forgiveness meant to give – to give wholeheartedly at a cost to oneself.

What cost?  It’s easy to see what the cost is when we talk about forgiving something tangible like a debt. We know that it means we bear the cost of the monetary loss and cease collection from the person who legitimately owes us. We no longer require the person who caused us this loss to repair it. They may not have the ability anyway and our collection efforts end up costing us much more than the original debt was worth. It’s like suing someone for a hundred dollars while paying legal fees of 1000 dollars.

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It may be more difficult when someone has abused us or betrayed us causing sometimes catastrophic damage. It’ hard to realize that those people can almost never repair the damage they’ve done. They have broken a part of us and we bear that cost. We can spend our time trying to collect from this person who cannot restore what they’ve broken or we can forgive them. We can go back to them over and over again and try to hurt them in the same way or try to get them to see the damage or admit their responsibility. Every time we do, we hope they’ll behave differently. We can continue to try to collect or we can bear the cost and begin to restore the damage. I believe forgiveness is more than letting go of anger or resentment, or our right to be repaid. Forgiveness comes first. Then it helps us let go of resentment and our right to get even. It frees us to live today, to heal, and make healthy connections.

The only restoration I’ve been able to find comes from God. It begins when I stop trying to collect from the person who owes me because of damage they caused me.

Forgiveness is not denying the wrong done. It’s bearing the cost of it when you have every right to require it of the other. That cost, forgiveness, has been known to pay off in many ways including making us stronger, healthier, and better able to connect with others.  We all need forgiveness for many things and we all NEED to forgive.

As we go through this week, we’re going to look at the power and freedom of forgiveness, how we can forgive others and how we can forgive ourselves. I would love to hear your thoughts. I would also appreciate it if you would leave me a rating and review in iTunes. The more feedback we get the easier it is for other people to find Rockin’ Life.  Hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you will join us again tomorrow. We’ll talk again.

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