I learned the value of forgiveness from my family. Mostly from my mom who has had to be very forgiving of nearly all the men in her life.
Recently, a friend asked me why we should forgive. Why not just write the offending party off? I had to think on this and read up on it a lot. I guess the best reason to forgive, in my opinion, is to also be forgiven. We all make mistakes. We all say things we don’t mean. We all cross a line once in awhile. We can all be selfish, careless, out of control, short-sighted, scared. If you can forgive others, I believe you can forgive yourself and hopefully be forgiven by others. When we truly forgive, anger and stress can be freed from our minds and allowed to move along.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t hold people accountable. How many times can you forgive someone for the same thing? Depends on how really offensive and hurtful the thing is and that is completely relative to each person.
My mom has endured some pretty intense hurt. I admire how tough she’s had to be to get through. Amazingly, she’s stayed positive through it all and continues to be resilient. Her faith helps but I think that it takes someone with real self-confidence to push forward through trials rather than just bailing when stuff gets hard.
In the past, I’ve allowed negativity and pessimism to permeate my efforts, attitude and life and yet I persevered. I think this is largely because I’ve been able to forgive myself, even if silently, and just keep going. Sometimes it’s felt good to just say, “this sucks and I don’t know what I’m doing nor do I deserve to succeed!!” in the most negative way while continuing through the fog. I don’t know why. But it has given me the opportunity for self-forgiveness over and over.
And as a result, I’ve become much more accepting of others’ mistakes. I may get angry, but I can almost always forgive. This has preserved and even strengthened me and others and I’m grateful for their patience.