Someone asked me if I would write something about forgiveness. I immediately thought of this line from The Kite Runner. I loved this line and it shed a whole new light on the meaning of forgiveness for me. But I am certainly no forgiveness expert. I am working really hard at being a forgiving person, but forgiveness can be a funny thing. Whether you’re trying to forgive someone else or working on forgiving yourself, it’s not as easy as they make it sound. We hear about the peace, freedom, and serenity you feel when you have finally found the strength to forgive, but the journey there can be so painful, many never make it. Forgiveness has always been confusing to me. How could I feel such a deep need for forgiveness from others when I mess up, but have such a difficult time offering that same forgiveness? My first misstep was believing if I forgave someone, it meant I was condoning the wrong that had been committed…that I was letting someone/myself off the hook. Luckily I realized quickly that’s not what forgiveness is about. C.R. Strahan said “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim – letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” I also often wondered how I would KNOW the act of forgiveness was complete. I was waiting for the epiphany. I was waiting for the finale. I wanted to do the hard work of forgiving and then be done with it, never to think about it again. Now I believe it doesn’t work that way. You don’t ever forget. You still remember… it’s just free of any pain or resentment. It’s a daily choice you make not to serve the past up for breakfast every morning and to forgive not necessarily because people deserve it, but to forgive them because they need it – because we need it.
But, I admit, I struggle. When you let anger, hurt, and bitterness run through your veins, it takes much hard work to cleanse yourself of that poison. And it is poison. It hurts no one but yourself to carry that load around. It weighs you down. It’s heavy on your heart, it’s heavy on your body, and it’s heavy on your mind. It gives someone a power over you that no one but you should have. It changes you. So let’s all slide the weight from our shoulders and move forward, because without forgiveness, there is no forward motion. Let’s begin to forgive because we will ask for that forgiveness for
ourselves one day and because there is great pride in being a survivor and great
burden in being a victim. Let's give the gift of forgiveness, And I challenge you to start with yourself.
“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because
without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” -Leo F. Buscaglia