Pom in Oz column: Forgiveness can set us free, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget
What is forgiveness?
Some see it as a form of weakness, some see it as the ultimate in human sacrifice.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offences.
I want to share an incident where my car was damaged, in a deliberate act, as an example of forgiveness and the importance of it in our life. I could share much more personal incidents or even better examples, but this happened quite recently so it is quite fresh in my mind. My car was deliberately scratched while it was parked at what I felt was a safe place. I won’t give more details than that.
What made this much worse was that, although not admitted, it was obvious to many who the culprit was. The person being someone I thought I could trust.
But again I don’t think it’s appropriate to give more details.
So I know how I felt afterwards — angry, helpless, dumbfounded and above all victimised. It was difficult, nigh on impossible, to seek restoration, for multiple reasons, so I was stuck with these feelings. I could not move past my anger and I could not rationalise the actions needed to have done what was done.
There were no practical things I could do to sort this situation out.
I was losing sleep and it was making me quite ill.
Forgiveness is given for many reasons, but ultimately it is given to release us from being trapped. From being consumed with resentment and anger. Forgiveness is for our benefit, for our benefit alone.
These words were spoken by our Lord on the cross. It is something that we don’t think about much, but should. The inability to forgive affects us over the course of our lifetimes in both our physical and mental health.
You see even in situations as small as this (was big to me) unforgiveness leads to anger, anger leads to hate and from hate the worst of us as humans can spring forth. We can do unspeakable things we never thought we were capable of when we are filled with hate.
So that is what I have done — I have forgiven. But, and it is a huge but — this does not mean I have forgotten. That would be foolish. It does not mean I will see the person in the same light, that is just sensible. It certainly does not mean I have accepted the action and will not seek restoration.
What it does mean is I have forgiven; I have moved on and passed the feelings of resentment. I do not let another person’s thoughtless, malicious actions control my own thoughts, actions and deeds.
Forgiveness is given for many reasons, but ultimately it is given to release us from being trapped.
From being consumed with resentment and anger. Forgiveness is for our benefit, for our benefit alone.
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