Forgiveness is the pardoning of a wrong-doing by another or even mistake made by self. To forgive another does not justify the action nor make the harming right. We forgive in order to let go of the burden that we may otherwise carry in our heart. We forgive in order to heal. When we forgive, we are rising above the pain and the injustice. It is not about denying the pain. It is about seeing the path of pain and making a conscious choice to forage another trail.
When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, he said to his oppressors, “I forgive you.” He knew that he had to bring the whole country to light. This was the only way to defeat the darkness of apartheid. And he did it. When he became president, he chose reconciliation rather than retaliation.
Bill Worth believed that forgiveness was essential to his healing from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He observed, “holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” In other words, ill will or resentment is self-destructive.
When Quaker children were shot in their school classroom one autumn day in rural Wisconsin, their parents went and forgave the killer immediately. This automatic response to such a personal tragedy is remarkable. But the Quakers believe in and practice forgiveness daily.
It is up to you whether or not you want to forgive. Forgiveness generally results in a heart which feels more comfortable and at greater peace.. But it is your decision. I want you to know that forgiveness can be a process, even, a life-long journey.
If you want to embark on the road to forgiveness, but are unsure how, just begin with the first step of setting the intention that you want to forgive. If you are beating yourself up over a mistake that you made, try this silent meditation from Hawaiian Ho’opono’pono (making things right): “I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.” For small children, see “The Forgiveness Elephant Book,” an ebook available on Amazon.com.