Forgiveness is a concept, an idea. It is not tangible. Forgiveness is an emotion a lot like love and hate. There are no limits, bounds, or time frames to forgiveness. You can not go up and grab it and touch it, use it, or apply it to something. Forgiveness is something that we all are capable of doing, having and giving. However, it is a matter of choice. It is the choice of the person you have wronged. It is thier choice.
How does one go about asking for forgiveness? Does it depend what the action was? I mean I spill a cup a coffee on my moms freshly mopped kitchen floor and it is automatic to apologize and I am sure it is almost automatic that she would forgive me as long as I cleaned it up. However, if I said something to somebody out of anger that really hurt someones feelings would the apology and the forgiveness be as automatic? Doubtful. It would probably take some time for the situation to cool down, and the anger to subside for the apology to take place. Surely it would take even longer for the forgiveness to happen. You see these are typical type situations with typical type responses.
Nonetheless, what about issues that are more severe than just an accident or saying something that might be hurtful? Issues like lying, cheating, stealing, or even more severe like infidelity or murder. I believe that with all of these it depends upon the individuals involved. Some could be lied to and never find it within themselves to forgive the person who lied to them. Then someone could have a loved one killed in a D.U.I. accident and in a very short time find it within themselves to forgive the person that was inebriated behind the wheel. How does this happen you might ask? Well I believe that there a few factors that go along with why it can turn out that way? It has to do with intent. It has to do with remorse. And I believe that it has to do with the capacity that each one of us holds within that allows us to forgive. With each of us having different capacities for forgiveness what should be our expectations when it comes to someone forgiving us when we have done something so wrong that forgiveness is needed. In a perfect world, in the world that God intended this to be, forgiveness would be accorded when one asked. I mean isn't that what we are taught in the christian faith that all we need is ask God for his forgiveness and through his son Jesus Christ we shall find absolution and salvation. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world nor is this the world as God intended it to be. This is a world that man has taken and altered from its purest form. So now when we ask our fellow man for forgiveness we cannot expect that it will be automatic, but rather we must show patience. Patience is something that we must be willing to have to give those the opportunity find it within themselves to forgive us.
I know there are choices that I have made in my life that have hurt people. I know some of those choices have changed peoples lives, and not for the better. I can only hope and pray that with patience and sincerity in my heart that they will find it within themselves, that they will have the capability of forgiving me. And in God's perfectly designed world I think that there would be a possibility of this. Time will tell if it is possible here in this world.
Can we forgive without forgetting? This question is very interesting to me, and I have thought about it alot lately. Every time something reminds us of the pain that was caused by someone's choices we remember the act. When we remember the act we remember the hurt, pain, and anger that was caused by that act and so we tend to hold on to that. Have you ever had one of those experiences where you have done something to someone close to you that you have had to ask for forgiveness? They say that they forgive you, but down the road something happens and low-and-behold they bring up that previous situation. Do they do that to remind you what you have done before or do they do that because they never truely forgave you? Some would say that we hold on to those memories as experience. Maybe that is why we tend not to forget the the things that have hurt and caused us pain. But I think that if we were truely able to forgive then we would let those memories go. If we lived in God's perfectly designed world we would have the capacity for true forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the true beginning of healing. I will pray everyday for the forgiveness of those that I have wronged, and I know it will take time and patience on my part for that to become a reality. What I am focused on now is healing and that takes forgiving myself, and I have to tell you that this is no easy task. But with Gods amazing grace and a lot of prayer it will be possible. Their healing process is just as important, and God will be there to make sure that they heal. For that I will pray just as hard for.
"Forgiveness is a healing journey for both the body and soul. When we forgive, we are willing to give up resentment, revenge, and obsession. It takes no strength to let go...only courage. Forgiveness is the most important single process that brings peace to our soul and harmony to our life. The act of forgiveness constitutes a mental bath, letting go of something that can only poison us within. It creates the freedom to create a new future beginning now! There is tremendous freedom in letting go."
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