The Problem with Forgiveness
The hostility and bitterness over our recent elections has been hard on a lot of people, including me. Between loosed lipped acquaintances and social media rants, my list of offenses has grown long.
There are times the negativity feels out of control. Some of my friends have left social media because of the rudeness of others. I’ve heard of family members who stopped talking because one person voted for “the wrong candidate.” I came close to disconnecting from people, too, until I realized this is the world in which I live. Isolation is not a healthy option.
I looked at my lengthy list of people who had offended me in the past months and realized that I had two responses. I could either destroy people with my words or destroy my list with forgiveness. I chose the later.
The problem with forgiveness is that most people don’t understand what it means, so they don’t see it as an attractive option in ending conflict. Most people think when they forgive they are saying what a person did is all right. Far from that, forgiveness is not a declaration of innocence for an offender; people are still accountable for their actions. Instead, it means to give back, or to let go and that means the hurt or offended person is ready to heal.
Forgiveness gives power to the one who is hurt. When we are injured we feel powerless and vulnerable to attack so all we see is our pain. Once we choose to forgive, we regain the power to heal because forgiveness calms our emotions so that we can become the answer to our own problems. On the front end, this process does not make sense. We long for revenge or the last word, but I experienced deep healing and peace after forgiving some people who deeply wounded me during my childhood. Instead of staying stuck in my pain, forgiveness gave me the ability to heal and grow.
The other problem with forgiveness is that we think it is weak. We think negative emotions and destructive words are powerful. Truth is, rage, bitterness, jealousy, and resentment actually weaken us as they destroy us and those we love in the end. We are designed to be powerful, and powerful people can create solutions that inspire, reconcile, and release peace.
I have not mastered the art of forgiveness—far from it. I am married, I have children, I am on social media, so forgiveness is a daily dialogue for me. Remember the trend is your friend. I am better at forgiving in 2016 than I was in 2010 or 1973. The more I choose forgiveness, the more I understand that I don’t need to destroy people. I need to dismantle the fear that comes with conflict. Forgiveness restores our ability to do this, so that we choose love and not fear in the middle of disagreement. And love is a powerful choice.
That's all for this week.Remember you are priceless & powerful,
Wholeness Living Thought Leaderidrjane.com
Wholeness Living Thought Leader