The Power of Forgiving

The act of forgiving is powerful. Forgiveness not only has the power of releasing the burden of guilt from the perpetrator, but it also frees the forgiver.  There are many people in this world that carry their guilt around because they either never learned how to apologize, or for whatever reason ( guilt, shame, hurt) didn’t feel they were worthy enough to ask for it. I’ve tried to teach my children that when you do something that warrants an apology, give it and do it as soon as you realize you’ve made a mistake or caused pain or trouble. It not only speaks of your character, it allows the person you’ve wronged resolution – the act isn’t just for the person that you’re apologizing to – it’s just as equally important for you. It doesn’t make you weak, on the contrary; It gives you the freedom to move ahead and THAT makes you stronger.

I think that some that will read this post and might think it an odd subject matter, that grown folks know how to say ‘I’m sorry’ and keep it moving. You’d be surprised at the number of people that I’ve come in contact with in my lifetime that couldn’t move forward because they have some pent up anger, guilt, grief, shame or hatred for someone because either they weren’t apologized to (sincerely) or hadn’t apologized for an infraction that they knew warranted it.  If you find yourself in either situation, you need to get busy making that apology – even if and I would say especially if you are just apologizing to yourself. The stress that isn’t being released can make you sick. It can also make you toxic – or both and more importantly it can (and will) impede your ability to move forward.

Though I’ve tried to pass this information to my own children, recently I faced a situation where my youngest son said some pretty hateful things in anger to his sister. Things that if someone that was not related to her had uttered those words, they probably would have been beaten within an inch of their lives by the same kid that said them. He was angry – very angry and she was devastated. When the smoke cleared a bit and both had finally calmed down, I talked to both of them repeatedly. She wasn’t in a forgving mood and he couldn’t bring himself to ask for forgiveness. Real life – it happens, even when you know better.  Fast forward over a couple of weeks, them barely speaking to one another, not in a cooperative mood, and like an open wound, those feelings were allowed to fester. Neither of them getting to benefit from the simple act of forgiving. 

During the time they weren’t speaking to each other, I talked to both of them. Him because no matter how angry he was, he needed to apologize. I told him that if something happened to her and he hadn’t apologized, he would carry that with him forever – and it’s a lot easier to ask someone else to forgive you than it is for you to forgive yourself, especially when you no longer have the opportunity to do it. I spoke with her because she needed to forgive him, to release her anger with him and get rid of the toxicity building in her heart.  I’m pleased to say that they’ve worked it out. Forgiveness, it’s not for wimps. It’s powerful medicine and it can cure what ails you.   

 

 

16 thoughts on “The Power of Forgiving

  1. Well said, Reina. Since I know the situation better than the average reader would, I would like to say this: What is lacking in the conflict between these two siblings is gratitude. We tend to take our family members for granted. I know that your daughter has done many, many kind things for your son and perhaps he has done some kind things for her. If there had been some continual gratitude expressed by him to her, it might have prevented this blow-up. First, it would have made him continually conscious of how helpful she was to him on an on-going basis. Second, it would have made him seem less of a villian to her. I doubt those ugly words would have been said if he continually expressed his appreciation for what she did for him. Usually, prevention is better than cure.

    • You are absolutely right Patty. These siblings are lacking gratitude. They’ve both done kind things for each other – but they’ve also been the opposite of kind to each other too – no different than most siblings. Sometimes, you don’t really appreciate family and specifically siblings until you have a “falling out” – it is unfortunate but sometimes necessary for you to come to realize truly how much you miss their presence in your life. They are working it out though, and I can only pray both will realize how important they are to each other and how forgiveness plays a part in that process. Thank you for stopping by and your insight. It’s very much appreciated!

  2. Poweful message, Sabrina!

    Forgiving is probably one of the hardest things for someone to do. But it takes humbling oneself in my opinion. I’m human, therefore I will sometimes do and say things that are hurtful to others whether I intended for it to be or not. When that happens, recognizing that weakness and knowing that I truly didn’t want to hurt or didn’t think things all the way through to the results, releases me from the usual pain in asking for forgiveness because I know I am capable of being kind and loving but sometimes hurting, and so can everyone. But if I care, I won’t leave it like that. We may not ever be friends again. Or I may not ever be close enough to you again, but I do want you to know that I valued what we had at that moment and value(d) your feelings. Giving forgiveness is even harder because most of the time you are doing it without acknowledgement of there being an offense. But the same rules apply. Humble yourself, know that you have hurt others too because you are not beyond doing so, therefore you’re human and so are they. Let go of it, and move on. You may not ever be cool with that person ever again or in the same way but their hurtful actions or words don’t have power over you anymore.

    • You’re right Aja, it is hard, but it is so important. To apologize or give forgiveness can give you peace of mind and freedom in spirit. And in some cases, the acknowledgement to the person that you’ve wronged is all that’s needed to diffuse a situation from escalating to something much more dramatic than the actual offense. However, even if your relationship is never the same or non-existent after the apolgy is given, that’s ok. Sometimes in life, there are casualties and consequences, and either way – you find a way to move on – the apology is a necessary component for that as well. You’ll move on, perhaps a little sadder but definitely wiser. Thank you so much for your time, comments and kind words Aja. I really appreciate it.

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