Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | August 21, 2010

Why should I forgive?

Forgiveness, like judgment, is one of those tough spiritual concepts that we all know we should practice, but often find difficult to master. Some say we should forgive the other person for their sake. Others say that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you.
 
I have finally come to the realization that forgiveness benefits everyone; you, the person you forgive, and the people who witness your ability to do so. Much has been written over the years from many sources on this subject.  From religious and spiritual writers to philosophers and world leaders, the message is the same – forgive.
 
Through reading much on the subject, sharing quotes and conversations with others, witnessing the power of forgiving, and practicing in my own life, I have come to believe that they are right. But it was just recently that I found four key quotes that put forgiveness into perspective for me. I would like to share those quotes and my thoughts on them with you.
  •  “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt quotes
  • “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” – Unknown
  • Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.” – Unknown
  • “Forgiveness is the final form of love.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

What I get from the compilation of the above quotes is this: Unforgiveness poisons you, imprisons you in pain and past, and keeps you from experiencing the deepest love.
Forgiveness restores your spirit, brings you back into the moment, and teaches you unconditional love. 

Bonus: Who knows how God will use your act of forgiveness to benefit the forgiven person as well as others?

Sunrise

Forgiveness, like the sunrise, dispels the darkness and shares the light.

 
Why should I forgive? I don’t know that I “should”. What I do know is that when I choose to forgive, I give a gift to myself and others by setting myself free. When I choose to withhold, I am the one who ends up paying over and over for an event that no longer exists. It is part of the past. Each time I choose unforgiveness more chains of resentment wrap around my heart, and I imprison my own spirit. 

Today I choose freedom, love, and the powerful beauty of living in the moment. I choose to practice forgiveness.

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Responses

  1. Wonderful article, to which I want to add that I found it more natural and spontaneous to forgive when I realize that not to do so is arrogance based in a failure to really see myself. Michael Brown has a wonderful chapter on this in The Presence Process. If we see how we are so programmed by family and society that we aren’t authentic, we can understand how others can mess up. Accepting our own unconsciousness in many areas of life enables us to accept others.

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    • David: Thank you for your compliment and words of wisdom :).

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      • Thank you Terri. How delightful to have found your blog. This weekend is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which I write about in my author blog tomorrow in connection with the airman’s crash in the Sahara Desert in the story of The Little Prince. Forgiving things that happened in the wake of Katrina, which I went through as I describe tomorrow, was tough in some cases. People acted bizarrely. Yet the more I have come to see how my own background screwed me up, the more deeply I have been able to forgive and let go. Forgiving myself, I forgive others. Watching some of the video about Katrina on CNN as we approach this weekend nevertheless brings tears to my eyes.

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