THE “WHAT WHY & HOW” OF FORGIVENESS

From The Family Virtues Guide

WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

Everyone makes mistakes. Being forgiving is overlooking the mistakes others make and loving them just as much as before. Forgiving does not mean that all of a sudden you do not feel hurt or that the wrong choice someone made was right. It means that you find it in your heart to give the person another chance.

It means that in spite of how wrong they were or how much they hurt you, you can overlook what they did and not hold it against them. Forgiveness means you don’t punish people for what they have done even if they deserve it.

You can even forgive yourself. You sometime do things that you are sorry for and wish you hadn’t done. Forgiving yourself means to stop punishing yourself or feeling hopeless because you did something wrong. It is moving ahead, ready to do things differently, with compassion for yourself and faith that you can change.

WHY PRACTICE FORGIVENESS?

We have the power of free choice. This means it is up to us to do good or bad, right or wrong. For many, many reasons people sometimes choose to do wrong or hurtful things. Everyone does at one time or another.

Sometimes it is a little thing, such as not something we promised to do. Sometimes it is a bigger thing, like lying or taking something which doesn’t belong to us. When someone who is hurt or disappointed forgives us, we get another chance. We can try again to do what’s right.

Forgiveness is very important. If you do something you are sorry for and you forgive yourself, then you can learn from your mistakes. People who have trouble forgiving themselves often find it difficult to forgive others too.

If someone is not forgiving, other feel worried around that person. People who don’t practice forgiveness judge and criticize instead of giving them a chance to improve.

Forgiveness is the best way to encourage yourself and others to be better, to try harder, and to make changes.

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE FORGIVENESS?

You can practice forgiveness by first admitting the mistake that you or someone else has made. Facing the truth about what happened takes courage. You may feel sad and angry. Let your feelings come and then let them go, like leaves passing in a stream or clouds drifting by across the blue sky.

When you are forgiving, you don’t punish someone by taking revenge or holding a grudge. You don’t punish yourself by calling yourself bad names.

Look at what happened, honor your feelings, think, and then decide what needs to change to make things right.

The hardest things to forgive in yourself are the things which you do over and over, habits you feel you cannot control. To truly forgive yourself takes action. Replacing old habits with new ones is one of the best ways to forgive yourself. If someone else does something hurtful to you over and over without being sorry, forgiving them won’t help. You need to stop giving them the chance to hurt you.

When you make a mistake, ask for forgiveness and find the courage to change. Forgiveness allows us to learn from mistakes. Sometimes they are your best teacher.

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